- Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Raphaël Hertzog. I am Debian Developer who tries to contribute as much as possible to Debian. To feed my family—I’m married and have a son of 18 months—I’m doing development/consulting around Debian
(http://www.freexian.com). I’m also an author of a Debian book for the French market (http://raphaelhertzog.fr/livre/cahier-admin-debian/).
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Debian unstable obviously but also Debian experimental for GNOME 3.
- What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
Lots of software obviously. I’ll give you the most important for me. Many of them run in the GNOME Terminal: mutt, vim, git, the Debian development tools (devscripts, dpkg-dev, etc.).
Among the graphical applications I can cite Iceweasel and Chromium, Gwibber, VirtualBox, Smuxi, Hamster, Zim. Smuxi is an intelligent IRC application that can offload the IRC client to a remote machine so that you can be always connected to IRC and get back the history and the notifications whenever you restart the Smuxi client. Think of it as a graphical version of the usual irssi+screen combination.
Zim is also an important application in my workflow. I use its calendar plugin to plan all the tasks that I want to complete over the week, and I take all my notes with it. I have some custom scripts to easily integrate references to mails I received… that way I can keep my INBOX clean and have a list of mails where I have to respond directly in my normal task list.
- What kind of hardware do you run it on?
My laptop is my main workstation, it’s a Dell E4300 with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of SSD. It’s usually connected to a 24" Dell screen and a Typematrix keyboard (http://www.typematrix.com). I love the typing comfort of this unusual keyboard. Any IT professional should consider it.
- What is your ideal Linux setup?
I would love to see a tighther integration between the desktop shell, the task list, the calendar, the time tracking application and some sort of “life overview”.
I have goals and my computer should help me to reach my goals. It should be able to respond to the question “What should I do next?” in a contextual way: during the day, it means working towards my professional goals, in the evening it means working towards personal goals, etc. It should help me to stay focused on stuff that matters for me.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
It’s not really interesting… I have taken a desktop with zim as it’s an application not widely known. It’s GNOME 3 for the rest.
People kind of bust on Thunar (I’m ambivalent, myself), but it does have some interesting functionality.
A pretty bold move for an Ubuntu derivative. All of the Unity/GNOME 3 drama has opened things up for Xfce.
Cheap Trick used to joke they were popular because they were everyone’s third favorite band. I think Xfce is gaining traction as everyone’s third favorite desktop.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Shawn Powers. I do several tech related jobs, but I’m probably
most publicly known as and editor/writer for Linux Journal. I also do tech videos for Linux Journal, and speak at conferences, etc. I’m also a Linux trainer for www.cbtnuggets.com, and I have a training series for LPIC-1 certification coming out there now. (Yes, I’m shameless, lol) Lastly, my “day job” is as Technology Director for a local school district here in northern Michigan.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Ubuntu, although the new Unity interface concerns me greatly. I’ve had long talks (and even a panel at Penguicon) with folks from Canonical about it. I’m hopeful it will get more stable and less restrictive as it matures, but right now I’m sticking with Ubuntu 10.10.
What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
Looking across the top of my screen (which you can do as well with the screenshot of my desktop), I see Firefox, Gnome Terminal, Pidgin, Skype, Twhirl, LibreOffice, gFTP, kdenlive, textroom, banshee, and pithos. I use them all pretty regularly, but find myself on the commandline or in textroom most often. Well, that and Firefox. I’m horribly addicted to information, so I’m generally browsing the web in the background of any activity.
There are a few “background” applications I couldn’t do without as well. Dropbox for instance. Without Dropbox keeping all my different computers and operating systems in sync file-wise, I’d likely go insane(er). I also have a server at home running backuppc, which keeps all my systems backed up. If you don’t have a recent, tested backup – GO DO ONE NOW! As someone who has lost thousands of family photos in the past, trust me.
What kind of hardware do you run it on?
It’s nothing fancy, really. My Linux machine is a several year old Lenovo tower. It has 4GB of RAM, and ‘cat /proc/cpuinfo’ tells me it’s an Intel Core2 Duo CPU @2.8GHz. I have an old ATI video card in there with a 23" monitor, and a recent addition; a Crucial RealSSD 128GB SSD. It makes my mediocre system blisteringly fast, and apart from RAM, it’s the best upgrade I’ve ever done on a desktop.
What is your ideal Linux setup?
Honestly, I find Linux works pretty well with any fairly recent computer system. I have a half dozen laptops, and they all seem to work quite well with whatever flavor of Linux I throw at them. If I had to pick an ideal Linux setup (especially if you’re offering to buy it for me!), it would currently be a Lenovo X120e laptop. It’s what I think a netbook should be. It has an 11.6" screen, decent resolution, full size keyboard, and enough battery life to compute without the constant concern of where the closest outlet is. Plus it’s about $400. I just wish I could convince my wife I needed one. 🙂
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
The setup looks pretty similar on every desktop and laptop I use.
When I first started posting here, I was really trying to capture everything I was learning about Xubuntu and Xfce.
However, as one might expect, after a while, the learning kind of slowed down. I’m just not learning as much as I was at the beginning of my move from GNOME to Xfce.
I could switch to another desktop environment to keep the learning going, but instead I decided to change the focus of this site a little. Rather than making it about my learning to work with Xubuntu, I want to focus more on how other people work with Linux. Which is why I’ve changed the name of this site to My Linux Rig.
If you scan through my archives, you’ll see a lot of the stuff I’ve posted has been about working with Linux in general, so I don’t think anyone will notice any major changes (although I have changed my theme up).
One new feature will be The Linux Setup, which will be a series of interviews with Linux users, both famous and obscure, about their own systems. It’s pretty much a Linux derivative of this site.
I’ve been kind of nervous about running out of stuff to write about Xubuntu and Xfce. By broadening the scope of this site, I’m no longer stressed about that. I’m sure there will still be an Xfce/Xubuntu focus here, given that it’s my primary OS (for now…), but I won’t feel out of bounds writing about more general Linux topics, too.
What a complete pile of absolute.. well you get the point. Ubuntu 11.04 is akin to Windows ME. If anyone reading this can hark back that far. It is a complete waste of time, and energy, which i would suggest has occurred because some members of the Linux community are just so unable to listen or…
I was just listening to Jono Bacon on the Linux Action Show and his defense of 11.04 seemed to be something along the lines of ‘we know it’s not great, but we needed to release it to improve it.’
On the one hand, he’s totally right. On the other, a lot of the Ubuntu userbase is upset and I’m not sure how many will come back for 12.04, which seems to be the target for Unity Done Right.
More on the Debian rolling proposal. I’m not sure how the Debian community feels about this, but it seems like a lot of people outside of Debian proper are intrigued.
I only use Xubuntu. I started with Ubuntu, but I really love the Xfce desktop. Having said that, I’m very, very curious to try out Unity. What do you think of Unity? I hear very mixed things…
Xfce as a tough jeep in an interesting metaphor, but it is kind of fitting. It’s not fancy, but it does its job very well. And its simplicity is why so many people are re-discovering it in the face of GNOME 3 and Unity.
Xubuntu Natty (aka 11.04) ships with gmusicbrowser as the default music player instead of Exaile, so I decided to play with gmusicbrowser in my 10.04 system.
gmusicbrowser looks a little raw, especially compared to Exaile, which has a nice, polished look.
gmusicbrowser opens up with just a tiny, unmarked console:
You have to mouse over buttons to figure out what does what. Obviously, play and stop and forward aren’t a problem, but it took me a while to figure out how to see all of my music (via what gmusicbrowser calls the browser area):
And you have to input your music via the settings area, which took me a while to figure out, too.
gmusicbrowser cannot burn music (nor can Exaile), but it has a nice workaround. When you ask it to import a disc, it kicks you into SoundJuicer (or whatever your default audio extraction program is — you can select it) and lets you import the CD from there. It’s a seamless process.
Unfortunately, gmusicbrowser doesn’t seem to index music on the fly, only on startup, so once you burn a CD, you have to shut down and re-open for the music to be playable. Exaile doesn’t index on the fly, either, but has a nice little re-scan button that will re-scan your collection for you.
At this point, I should mention that I usually don’t spend that much time burning CDs. This week there was some old music that I wanted on my MP3 player, followed by my having to buy a CD of an album that isn’t available electronically. So this review is probably a bit more CD-intensive than my typical music player usage would be.
gmusicbrowser also seemed to struggle to find album art. There’s an album art plugin, but I have yet to see any show up. Exaile also has an album art option, but it’s always just worked for me.
I might not be the right audience for gmusicbrowser. It seems super flexible, designed to give users multiple layout options. But I don’t want that kind of flexibility. I just want a simple way to play the song or album I want to hear in a given moment.
I’m not sure why Xubuntu moved to gmusicbrowser. I had initially heard Exaile development had been paused, but looking at their site, they had updates as recently as February.
So I’m sticking with Exaile. It easy to use. It’s got a simple interface. And it looks so much nicer than gmusicbrowser.
In general, I tend to love the Xubuntu team’s software picks, but this time, I’m sticking with my own (or, to be fair, their previous pick).
Also, as a general note, I’ve been playing with Xubuntu Natty. Not enough for a full review, but enough to recognize that it’s a simply beautiful distribution. I’m not a big dock user (I hate to take my hands off of the keyboard), but the dock does look very nice and does a great job of staying out of the way.
I’ll post something more comprehensive down the line, but my initial impression is that Natty is a breathtakingly beautiful take on XFCE.