This is weird, funny, and reassuring. My daughter loves typing into my login screen and I now see it as a security feature of fatherhood.
I hope the kids in this article got some kind of bug bounty.
I found Leah through a fascinating tweet where she charted out her IRC activity over the past 10 years. Leah’s setup is just as interesting, mostly in that there’s no desktop environment. Leah also helps maintain Void Linux, which is a rolling release built from scratch. It’s a little too hardcore for me, but it seems pretty beloved on Reddit. So this setup is technical and intense, but also a lot of fun.
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Leah Neukirchen. I’m a maintainer and long-time contributor to the Void Linux distribution. I wrote some popular Ruby libraries such as Rack and bacon, created the first musl-based Linux distribution Sabotage, and the mblaze suite of tools for dealing with mail, as well as a dozen other unixy utilities which you can find on my Github. When I find the time, I try to contribute to other open source projects as well.
I also publish the link blog Trivium.
I studied math and theoretical computer science, but professionally I now work as a consultant specialized on back-end, cloud, and infrastructure topics.
Why do you use Linux?
I started using Linux around 1999 when I was picking up programming and I liked that it had many of the languages I was interested in already included. I didn’t have internet on my own machine back then, so the Debian CD set was a very good investment to get a lot of software easily.
For a while, I used Apple products and OS X, as it was called back then, which was unixy enough to get along with, but later I switched back to Linux on my notebook as well, and immediately enjoyed it more, and finally could tweak all the things again.
I also use BSDs on servers occasionally, but I found Linux most suitable and convenient for use on physical machines I sit in front of.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I use Void Linux on most machines, and also have a few servers also running Debian, Arch and various BSD. Even though it’s a rolling release distribution, Void Linux has proven to be very stable as a daily driver, and in the rare cases something breaks, we are quick to fix it.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I don’t use a desktop environment in the typical sense of the word. I use OpenBSD’s cwm as a X11 window manager, and the majority of my windows are simply urxvt terminals. I tend to have lots of open windows, so the search function of cwm is essential to me. Most of the programs I use otherwise are GTK-based (e.g. Dino, Firefox).
I never felt a need to use a desktop environment, since my setup works very well for me, and I do most things on the command line anyway.
What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so important?
I guess it’s Emacs. I edit most of the text and code I write with it, and also use it to read mail and newsgroups. It has good support for many (and even obscure) programming languages I use. However, on remote systems, I do most sysadmin-style editing with Vim.
Now and then I try other editors (lately acme, kakoune, or vis) and then I realize how many small features Emacs has that make my life a lot easier.
Second most important software is zsh, which I have extensively tweaked to my tastes.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
I’m typing this on a Lenovo T480 which is my daily driver and work machine. It has 16GB RAM, but an empty slot left which I really should fill. Together with a Logitech MX Ergo trackball and Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT headphones it’s the core of my current home office setup.
Other systems I use are described better on my wiki.
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted January 6, 2021
Debian updated its site!
It also reminded me that I once traced the history of a bunch of distro sites through screenshots.
The Debian web updates its homepage and prepares for a major renewal | Bits from Debian
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kris uses Linux (Linux Lite):
Having used Microsoft Windows for a long time, I find Linux operating systems to be remarkably better, even more so because they are free to download and install. Furthermore, Linux operating systems do not steal your personal data and do not try to lock you in, like the newest operating systems from both Microsoft and Apple do. That said, even with Linux, obsolescence cannot be ruled out. For example, Linux Lite will stop its support for 32-bit computers in 2021, which means that I will soon have to look for an alternative operating system, or buy a slightly younger 64-bit laptop.
I feel the 32-bit support. That was part of the reason I needed to upgrade my old laptop, although I’m happy I did.
How and why I stopped buying new laptops | LOW←TECH MAGAZINE
As a desktop Linux user, I haven’t been supper attentive to the CentOS drama. The Rocky Linux FAQ explains the issue well:
Q: What do you mean, "CentOS has shifted direction?"
The CentOS project recently announced a shift in strategy for CentOS. Whereas previously CentOS existed as a downstream build of its upstream vendor (it receives patches and updates after the upstream vendor does), it will be shifting to an upstream build (testing patches and updates before inclusion in the upstream vendor).
Q: So where does Rocky Linux come in?
Rocky Linux aims to function as a downstream build as CentOS had done previously, building releases after they have been added to the upstream vendor, not before.
Rocky Linux is founded by Greg Kurtzer, who also founded CentOS.
The free and open source community always responds to change in smart, impressive ways.
Rocky Linux | GitHub
GIMP turned 25 in November! Which feels amazing given how software comes and goes.
GIMP has also become a pandemic hero for me, since I’m now working with a lot of PDF forms. I’ve gotten really good at using GIMP to edit them.
Here’s to 25 more years! Of GIMP. Not of digital forms.
This is 25 | GIMP
Scott Nesbitt on switching to elementary OS. You can see his 2014 set-up here.
Scott’s post talks about elementary’s own apps, which I’m not sure I knew about. It looks like Quilter, the elementary Markdown editor, is even in the Fedora repositories.
I love that elementary encourages users to pay for apps and I think it’s nice that the price points are reasonable, but also suggested.
Making the Switch to elementary OS | Open Source Musings
As of today, Linux Journal is back, and operating under the ownership of Slashdot Media.
This pretty much summarizes the recent history of Linux Journal:
I hope it works this time!
Linux Journal is Back | Linux Journal