Posted on Fri 10 June 2016

A short disection of my linux setup.

Table of Contents

  1. Linux
  2. Window Management
  3. Ergodox Keyboard

Linux

To be honest, I would still qualify myself as a Linux noobie. I have the basics down, but some of the more advanced features are still a mystery to me. To me though the most important thing about using Linux is the community. I like the fact that it is very customizable but, without the community to help me fix my problems and guide me, I doubt that my system would be working as smoothly as it is.

Window Management

I have always been a proponent for keyboard-focused tools. When I first started my developer journey, I found Vim to be too cool to pass up. After gaining some proficiency with Vim and creating a basic .vimrc, I felt an itch to try something new. Emacs was the answer to that, so I set out customizing to my hearts content. Using Emacs on a triple monitor setup was as perfect as could be. I would have a monitor dedicated to a browser with documentation and research materials, one for Emacs, and the last was for music, irc, and other non-essential programs. On my laptop however, I am much more limited in terms of screen real estate. Now instead of monitors, I use virtual desktops to separate my programs. While I sometimes miss having as much information immediately available to me, I do find that it is easier to focus on the task at hand when it is more difficult to procrastinate. That is why I chose i3wm as my window manager. If you are unfamiliar with i3, it is a dynamic tiling system that allows you to have full control and customization over your window and virtual desktop placement and layout. i3 also lets me control the windows solely with the keyboard.

Ergodox Keyboard

To give a little bit of background, I have had some troubles with my hands for a long time. While playing saxophone, I had to have small steroid injections near the tendon sheaths to reduce swelling caused by stenosing tenosynovitis, otherwise known as 'trigger finger'. When I started typing on a computer keyboard as much as I was playing music, I realized that I should be proactive about the potential physical ramifications. Towards that goal, I looked at my tools, the first being my keyboard. When I decided on and received my ErgoDox keyboard, I also chose to take a look at alternative keyboard layouts. From a young age, I had been touch typing fairly proficiently on a standard layout, but now with a new keyboard with blank keycaps (that means there is no lettering), it was the perfect opportunity to switch it up. After a fair bit of searching, I decided on Colemak, based on its logical design and somewhat easier transition (c and v keys aren't changed which helps with things like copy and paste).