The Linux Setup – Drew DeVault, Developer and Maintainer

I found Drew via this interview and followed-up to learn more. I love Drew’s comment on Vim: “Nothing else can transfer my thoughts into the computer quite as efficiently and effortlessly.” It’s what so many of us are looking for: a frictionless experience that instantly moves thoughts and ideas from our brain to the screen. Although, in fairness to my text editor, it’s not always working with the best quality content…

You can find more of The Linux Setup here.

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  1. Who are you, and what do you do?

    I’m Drew DeVault. I write, maintain, and contribute to free and open-source software projects. Mainly I work on Wayland (wlroots & sway), SourceHut, aerc, Alpine Linux, etc.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    So far as free-as-in-freedom kernels are concerned, Linux is the best compromise. It’s far from perfect, but it has extremely broad support for all of the features of a modern computing stack and heaps of buy-in from the community.

  3. What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?

    My main desktop runs Arch Linux (for now), but everything else runs Alpine Linux.

  4. What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?

    Sway, because I wrote it.

  5. What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so important?

    If I had to choose one single piece of software, I’d choose Vim. Nothing else can transfer my thoughts into the computer quite as efficiently and effortlessly.

  6. What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?

    • 8 core Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3770K CPU @ 3.50GHz
    • 16GB RAM
    • Some high single-digit terabytes of storage organized haphazardly
    • AMD Radeon RX 570 or similar

    There is also a laptop (Thinkpad X200), RISC-V board (HiFive Unleashed), and two ARM boxen (Raspberry Pi 3 and Purism Librem 5 prototype board), which I SSH into with some regularity for various tasks. Another laptop is booted up and plugged into the LAN over in the corner of the room and I’m gradually pulling over stuff from it that I worked on while recently on vacation.

  7. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Interview conducted September 11, 2019


The Linux Setup is a feature where I interview people about their Linux setups. The concept is borrowed, if not outright stolen, from this site. If you’d like to participate, drop me a line.

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