Cory was able to stop using multiple monitors thanks to virtual desktops, a staple of just about every Linux desktop environment. If I could focus on more than one thing at a time, I’d use them, too!
I never understood why Canonical invested so much time, energy, and political capital, on a project that just wasn’t that different from GNOME. They seemed to go out of their way to create something that wasn’t quite as good, but at the same time, wasn’t all that different.
“I’ve seen the change happen myself—my place of employment, a public library in the Washington DC-area, offers 27 Linux stations for youth and adults to use seven days a week. Before the cloud became popular, students asked for help saving their homework to USB Flash drives or frantically tried to e-mail their partially-completed homework during the last minutes of a computer session. Things would get ugly fast—students lost work far too often, and many rationally concluded that library computers were unsuitable for doing homework.”
The cloud often makes the idea of the operating system a purely academic distinction.
Jared’s brother was recently featured here on The Linux Setup. Both use Mint and Cinnamon and both rely on the terminal. My question is if this is nature or nurture? In general, it’s so interesting that within the Linux world, people often say they want a desktop that ‘stays out of the way,’ yet we all have different concepts of what that means.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Jared Nielsen. I’m co-founder and producer at Dototot. We create educational media using Linux exclusively and FOSS when possible. We’re currently producing The Hello World Program and branching out into physical, interactive installations.
Why do you use Linux?
I’m a maker and hacker and subscribe to the motto, ‘if you can’t open it, you don’t own it.’ I run Linux because it allows me a level of customization and control that isn’t available with Windows or OS X.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
Mint 17.2 on my desktop and 18 on my laptop.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
Cinnamon. It’s clean and minimal, but not so minimal that I can’t find what I need. When I build a new rig or upgrade the operating system, I want to get to work as quickly as possible. Out-of-the-box, Cinnamon is exactly what I need. The design is classic and the window management is perfect for my workflow. I really only customize it by turning off sound notifications and changing the date/time default.
What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so important?
Is Terminal too obvious? It allows me to accomplish basic tasks much faster and with greater ease than the GUI. It’s also the means by which I access other essential and important tools such as avconv, ImageMagick, and vim.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
I built this desktop in January of 2015, with these components:
- AMD FX 8370 CPU
- ASUS M5A99FX PRO motherboard
- 32GB AMD Performance DDR3 RAM
- Dual GTX 780 Ti GPUs
- Samsung 256GB SSD boot drive
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted August 19, 2016
I’ve been on GNOME for a few months now and it’s fantastic. I’m using it on decent hardware, though, and I’m not sure how big a difference that makes.
Sandstorm is a fascinating idea, but having said that, I haven’t really done anything with it, which might be indicative of the larger challenges the project seems to be facing. I’m pulling for them, though!
I respect LXDE and think it’s great. But if I want something light, I’m using i3. Otherwise, I’d just as soon use Xfce for a lighter-than-GNOME/KDE desktop environment. The amount of choice we have as Linux users is amazing, though.
I love that JR gets in front of the idea that Linux is just for IT nerds, which is a common misconception. While Linux might appeal to the types of personalities that want granular control of their systems, it’s not only for those kinds of people. Linux is for anyone who wants to work effectively. It doesn’t just make it easy to have finer control of your system; it also gives you the tools to help you see why a greater level of control will simplify your workflow. JR’s interview is a testament to that idea.
- Who are you, and what do you do?My name is JR Nielsen. I’m one half of the creative force behind Dototot, an educational and interactive multimedia production studio that embraces Linux and free and open source software (FOSS). I co-created the web series Superusers: The Legendary GNU/Linux Show, Daisy’s Web Development Diary, and The Hello World Program. Our most recent project, a collaboration with Two Bit Circus, involved designing and constructing an abstract city model of Washington DC for Local Motors. Which we accomplished entirely with FOSS, of course!
My background is primarily video production and web development. I studied Digital Media at Utah Valley University, and have spent the last eight years shooting videos and developing countless WordPress- and Django-based websites.
- Why do you use Linux?
I made the switch to Linux after a particularly nasty Windows virus walked away with a good chunk of my personal information. After the initially steep learning curve, I found my web development workflow improving dramatically on Linux. Now I can’t imagine doing web development with any other operating system. I’ve grown to love using open source tools for other projects, and enjoy challenging the status quo of Linux as an operating system for IT nerds by creating a broad range of creative media.
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I run Linux Mint 18 on both my desktop and laptop computers.
- What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I love Cinnamon for its minimalism. It has an excellent balance of style and functionality, and does everything I could want it to do without getting in the way. It’s a very classic desktop, which makes it easy for new comers to jump in without having to re-learn everything they know about computing, but it still offers enough features and customization to appease advanced users. Mostly I use it because it “just works.”
- What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so important?
Is it cheating to say terminal? It’s surprising how often I drop down the the command line to do various tasks from installing software to compiling animated gifs. Terminal speeds up many processes and opens up opportunities for quickly batch processing tasks that would have been tedious to accomplish with a GUI. Outside of Terminal, I spend a lot of time with Atom for programming, Lightworks for video editing, and Inkscape for graphic/web design. All of which are not only essential to my daily work, but quite enjoyable to use. And of course Steam is necessary for unwinding after a long day of media production!
- What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
I recently upgraded my laptop to a Dell XPS 15, which was the most painless laptop setup I’ve done since switching to Linux.
My desktop is custom built from various aging pieces of hardware. AMD FX 8320, Nvidia GeForce GTX 670, 24GB RAM, 256GB SSD, a 3TB HDD for my home partition, dual Asus monitors, and a super loud and amazing Das mechanical keyboard with custom penguin keys that my former boss gifted to me.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted August 17, 2016
My publisher has a nice 42% discount on my book. It’s ssllinux over at manning.com.