The Linux Setup (Again) – Charles Profitt, System Administrator

Charles reached out to me about doing another interview, which is something I’ve thought about for a while. You do an interview about your setup and it’s locked in time, when really your Linux set-up evolves. So I was happy to hear from him again, after our 2014 interview. He’s using Fedora and GNOME now, rather than Ubuntu and Unity, but as he mentions, his workflow hasn’t changed. Which is the beauty of Linux. The desktop and distro can change, but your workflow doesn’t have to.

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

    I am Charles Profitt. I am a systems administrator for a K-12 school district. I focus on the technology infrastructure of the district including wireless, firewalls, cybersecurity, and identity management.

  2. Why do you use Linux?

    I use Linux as the operating system of choice because I enjoy the ability to tinker while using a secure and stable system. I am the type of person who enjoyed squeezing enough memory out of my MS-DOS system to be able to use the CD-ROM drive, listen to music, and play a game. Linux still allows me to see under the hood.

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

    I currently use Fedora on both my work and personal laptops. I have used Ubuntu, Debian, SuSE and Arch in the past. For me the best mix of the latest and greatest on a stable platform is Fedora.

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

    I currently use GNOME. I like its simplicity and several of the default apps. I enjoy having GNOME extensions that allow me to personalize my experience. I currently use Disconnect Wi-Fi, KStatusNotifier, Refresh Wifi Connection,
    Transparent Top Bar, and Vitals.

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

    In my job I rely on nmap, nano and ssh for my job. I use nmap for security scans of my network, to look for unknown and misconfigured devices. Note-taking at meetings is completed using nano. I use ssh to connect to the multitude of appliances that I manage.

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

    My work laptop is an X-1 Carbon 6th gen with a core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. My home laptop is a Dell XPS 13 9343. This laptop has a 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM and a Core i5 processor. I am looking at replacing the home computer with an X1 Carbon 8th gen when they finally go on sale.

  7. How would you broadly describe how your setup has changed since our last interview?

    When I was interviewed the last time, I was a member of the Ubuntu Community Council and was running Ubuntu. Despite the change in distros, not much has changed. While I miss the Unity interface most of my workflow is unchanged.

  8. Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Interview conducted March 10, 2020


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, for the first or second time, drop me a line.

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