Exploring Linux, security, and privacy



isaac [at] greplinux.com


A Wonderful Addiction

My name is Isaac Velando, and I have an unusual passion for the operating systems I use on my devices – notably Linux-based ones. Indeed, from phone to laptop to desktop to server I really can’t live without the unparalleled freedom, flexibility, and fun offered by my Linux distribution of the day.

I’ve gone through several of the usual phases of being in love with Linux. I had my system-breaking newbie phase (yes, this included chmod -R 777 /usr /home and possibly some other directories — don’t do this!), my you-can-actually-do-that?! phase, my distro hopping phase, and currently I’m enjoying my stable equilibrium phase. Well, if you can call running up-to-date Arch Linux on my machines stable at any rate.

It has come to the point that I want to immerse more of my life in Linux; it is fast becoming my primary career goal and in my current job I’m finding ways to incorporate it to everyone’s benefit.

My Setup

As an admirer of much of what is found on /r/unixporn, this feels like a mandatory step. My desktop looks like this:

Linux desktop using the binary space partitioning tiling window manager (BSPWM)

If interested, you can find the configuration files for my BSPWM (Binary Space Partitioning [Tiling] Window Manager) setup at my dotfiles-bspwm GitHub repo. These days I do more work than less in terminals using tools like vim for text editing and ranger for file management, and a tiling window manager provides the flexibility to create a minimalist environment optimized around this workflow.

That being said, on my laptop every time I switch to a tiling window manager I find myself using several desktops with fullscreen applications and only one or two instances of tiling due to limited screen real estate. Sometimes it’s nice having a more fully-featured hands-off setup which is why I’m currently using the GNOME desktop environment on my laptop:

Linux desktop using the GNOME desktop environment

Of course, being a former serial distro hopper who has come to terms with the fact that I can’t stay happy with any interface for more than six months or so, who knows what this will be in the future. Maybe I should just quit using GUIs and do everything in a TTY, but heck that will eventually bore me too.

A Few Distractions

Alright, I adore Linux. I love Linux. I really do and my friends probably wish I’d shut up about it sometimes, or usually. But there are a few other things I’m quite fond of. As of a few years ago I’ve become a bit of a fitness nut when my father managed to get my into cycling. This was very unexpected; I was hesitant and at first didn’t hop on the bicycle frequently at all, but then something just snapped and suddenly I refused to stop until I was doing a century (100-miler) or longer every week. That was fun. My knees hated me for it though… a lot.

But then I think I just got bored of it — indeed, too much of a good thing. So then I decided to give swimming another shot, and now I’m fond of that too. I don’t know that I’ll pursue endurance again but I’m finding daily morning swims to be the absolute best way to start a work day alert and feeling great. Of course, following the pattern before long I’ll get bored of swimming and find myself donning a pair of running shoes; time will tell.