Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Eric S Raymond

Eric S Raymond

OSS developer, writer ('The Cathedral and the Bazaar')

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Eric S. Raymond, aka "ESR". I wrote some of the foundational papers on open-source development and maintain over 40 open-source projects and FAQs. You rely on my software every time you use a browser, a smartphone, or a gaming console.

What hardware do you use?

A pretty generic Intel Core Duo 2 PC. The interesting details about my desktop setup are the peripherals. I like Model-M-style clicky keyboards (I'm typing on a Unicomp Model M). I prefer trackballs over mice and use a Logitech TrackMan. I like lots of vertical pixels for my Emacs window, so I'm rocking a Samsung SyncMaster 1100DF at 1800x1440 with 120dpi.

My road machine is a Lenovo Thinkpad X60; I'm a huge fan of the Thinkpad line. My smartphone is a T-Mobile G-2 running Android 2.3.4.

Allow me to note a couple of hardware pet hates. Two-button mice and trackballs - lose! Displays with 16x9 aspect ratio - they're stretched in the wrong direction, vertically cramping my editor window and ergonomically poor for web browsing. Sadly, I expect to have to live with 16x9 in the future.

The desktop ensemble is rounded out with Logitech speakers and a hefty subwoofer, as I like intricate music playing while I hack (Liquid Tension Experiment playing now).

And what software?

Ubuntu 11.10, but I loathe Unity and Gnome 3 (glossy, confining crap that keeps taking more and more control away from me) and am thinking about bailing out. Have gone to XFCE over Ubuntu but might move to Arch Linux on my next machine.

Most of my screen time is spent in a terminal emulator, Emacs, and Firefox.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd replace the userspace drive on my PC with an SSD. Then I'd set up three 2560x1600 flatscreens (Dell UltraSharps or NEC PA301Ws or the like) in a wraparound rack - I'd like even more pixels if I could get them.

I'd also like to have an Android 4.0 phone, and expect to get one within a few months.