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Posted on July 26, 2011

This is an idea I'm borrowing from The SaltyCrane.  Earlier this year I upgraded to Ubuntu's 11.04 and found really quickly that I didn't really like it. 

It's taken me months to completely move away from Ubuntu, and I'm still somewhat of a fan of the idea behind Ubuntu, but just found the Unity desktop frustrating. 

So, here's my list.  I have/use a number of machines.  I'll go through them one by one and give an idea of how I run them. 

First off, my work Laptop.  It's a Lenovo, I think about two years old and has Windows XP.  I have been using Linux almost exclusively for long enough that I really don't like using Windows at all anymore.&nbps; I need my Linux, so I run Oracle's Virtualbox and have a minimal Debian installation running on there.  I use ratpoison for my Windowing manager.  I'll talk more about ratpoison below.  Mostly I just use Emacs on there. 

On my work machine I also have Gimp.  Life isn't complete without Gimp. 

Other than that, most of what's on there is fairly standard Windows like stuff, along with an accounting program for work, itunes for tunes, and stuff like that.  I run Google Chrome instead of IE, for obvious reasons.  I spend as little time on that machine as possible, when I'm not working. 

I have a bunch of bits and pieces of old computers that I play with.  When something actually runs, it has some variety of Linux running on it.  I hope to build a robot in a few years time with my boys. 

My own Laptop is a Dell Latitude D500.  It's oldish, so I run Debian Squeeze with a minimal installation.  I installed X Windows with apt-get, and run ratpoison as the only windowing manager on the machine. 

I learned about Ratpoison from Mark Pilgrim in his blog post "The Good Easy" (ther was a link, but the site has gone down). I learned about Mark Pilgrim because I read his book "Dive Into Python" (was also a link, sadly, sadly no more). 

The whole point of Ratpoison is to keep thing simple.  So I do.  I've got Conkeror as my browser.  It is a keyboard driven browser, and once you're comfortable with it, it becomes such a pleasure to work with. 

Of course, I've got Emacs.  I'm in Emacs all the time, but my set-up is simple.  I use Org Mode as my Getting Things Done organizer.  And I program a lot on Emacs, now mainly just for fun. 

I use Mplayer and Alsamixer to be able to play tunes on that computer.  It took me ages to get it all working, I'm a little stupid, I guess. 

I use wicd for running my wireless connections ("wicd-client -n" for when I need to do stuff). 

I'm busy learning C, so I mainly just use Emacs to work, GCC on the command line to compile, and that's just about that.

I've recently started using Git for version control.  It's like subversion, only completely different (see line 16).  I really enjoy working with Git, and use it not only for my software projects, but also for my 'Things To Do' list, which I pass between my computers all the time. 

I use Evince for my document viewer (read PDFs), though I sometimes just use Emacs. 

And that's just about all that's on that Dell that I use.  Surprisingly, I feel that I can do quiet a lot with just that stuff.  I run Python, which I can run on the command line.  That's just about all I need. 

I have a desktop computer at home, which I don't use that often.  This is the computer which had Ubuntu on it, but since I've moved "upstream" with everything else, I've decided to give Debian a go on this one as well.  So far, I'm not disapointed. 

Since that computer has a little faster processing, with 4Gb of RAM, I've installed the regular Debian with Gnome.  I'm not a huge Gnome fan, but certainly prefer it to KDE (or Windows :) ).  Perhaps I'll switch to CrunchBang

The main reason for having the extra computer is for image editing, which I wouldn't want to do with Ratpoison. 

Debian Squeeze comes with Gimp and Inkskape, so that's most of what I need for that.  Of course, I've also installed Emacs.  I use Firefox (rebranded as Iceweasel on Debian).  I like having a bunch of browsers, and have conkeror installed there, though it's key bindings clash with Gnome (and I'm too lazy to sort that out).  I get a bit of a thrill out of running things that not everybody else is using. 

On my work machine I use Outlook for email.  I don't like it, but it's there...and the computer isn't mine.  So on my work machine I use Evolution - it's there. 

My personal emails come through my Gmail account, so I can irritate the heck out of myself by getting emails on my phone. 

I'm sure I've missed some essentials, but that's a good list of what I use regularly on my computers.

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