Uses This

1274 interviews since 2009

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iliana etaoin

Software developer catgirl

in developer, bsd, linux, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm iliana etaoin, and I spend too much time around computers (my parents were right!). Depending on context, I'll sometimes refer to myself as a "systems engineer" or a "software developer" or a "catgirl". I work at Oxide Computer Company on the control plane for a rack-scale server; I previously worked on Linux distributions at AWS and Red Hat for about a decade. Outside of work I spend much of my time tinkering with my homelab-outside-the-home and the network it lives in.

What hardware do you use?

My main computer ("redwood") is a Mac studio, bought as an emergency upgrade when one of the DIMMs in my Mac mini failed. Under my desk is a System76 Thelio I use for testing at work. My primary on-the-go device is a heavily-stickered MacBook Pro ("keysmash"). I have a pile of ThinkPads as old as the X220 strewn across the house; one is my formerly-daily-driver ThinkPad X270 ("horizon") that I recently moved to a nearby friend's place to use when I'm there. There's also several Raspberry Pi boards of different generations running in my closet.

Plugged into my main computer is a Keyboardio Model 100 with my firmware; I have been using Keyboardio's keyboards since my first Model 01 shipped. I use an MX Ergo trackball and I wish they would stop using a rubberized coating for it; after barely over a year of use I can feel it returning to petroleum. I have two HP Z27n G2 displays; perched atop one is a Kiyo Pro. I use DT 770 PRO headphones (with aftermarket cat ears) plugged into a a DAC I use solely for its tactile volume control knob. I have a Planck Light keyboard I sometimes use as a generic button board; currently I use it for speedrunning VVVVVV.

In the homelab-outside-of-home, alongside a handful of friends' servers, is a PowerEdge R620 ("pancake") as my main server. I'm currently working on moving to a new router based on a Supermicro server board and a FORCE10 S4810P switch; the equipment I'm trying to move off of is a router based on some x86 SOC both I and my mailbox have forgotten the name of and an ProCurve 2848 switch. I try to use recycled hardware for my homelab because, well, it's cheap, but also I want to see it keep getting some use even if businesses think it's past its "useful" life or whatever. I have also developed very specific opinions about rail kits from different server manufacturers.

My pocket RSI brick is an iPhone SE, and my main device for video games is a Nintendo Switch.

I honestly don't know if the number of devices in my life has increased or decreased over the past decade.

And what software?

My Macs tend to follow the oldstable release of macOS (Ventura has been out for most a year and I'm on Monterey). My Thelio is running Helios, Oxide's illumos distribution. I recently installed Arch Linux on my X270. The PowerEdge R620 runs Debian. Most of my personal infrastructure runs in VMs on the R620 running my NixOS configurations, but I still have some Debian VMs running services I haven't Nixified yet. My current homelab router is running OpenBSD, and the new homelab router is currently slated to run a custom Linux distro build using Buildroot.

My Macs get Homebrew installed on them first thing. I like using KDE for my Linux desktops, but some are also running XFCE.

I use kitty as a terminal emulator, tmux as a terminal multiplexer, and Helix as a code/text editor; these are extensively configured by my dotfiles. My terminal font is Iosevka. Based on my ~/.bash_history, the other command-line tools I use the most are Git, ripgrep, fd, htop, curl, and jq.

I use Firefox for my web browser, but I'd probably use Safari on my Macs if it had anything like Container Tabs. Other load-bearing Firefox extensions include uBlock Origin (along with some personal filter rules) and Stylus. My feed reader is NetNewsWire.

I use Tailscale heavily; along with Helix, it's some of the only software I've used recently that feels absolutely magical. My web servers run Caddy, and my authoritative DNS servers run PowerDNS. I use Syncthing to sync things, and Time Machine and restic for backups. For IRC I use pounce as a bouncer, WeeChat on my computers, and Palaver on my phone.

When programming, I tend to reach for Bash, Rust, and Python, in roughly that order; ShellCheck finds most of my Bash programming mistakes. mpv is my desktop music player, and noTunes helps me keep it that way; I use Doppler to listen to music on my phone. I maintain my music library with a combination of some Python scripts, MusicBrainz Picard, and Mp3tag. In the rare moments I am working on something graphical, I use Affinity Designer and Publisher. I mostly use Mail.app to read email. Depending on where my brain is at, I'll either use the Python REPL or PCalc in RPN mode as my desktop calculator.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup is to defeat whichever demons cursed me with computering, then open a gluten-free bakery/deli. I do not think I will find these demons for a very long time, so if you are my employer please do not be concerned.

In the shorter-term, I want to start learning to use Talon and an eye tracker so I can stop abusing my hands so much. I'd also love to have AsciiDoc support in Helix, but I've looked into it just enough to classify it as a "dream" rather than something I can reasonably achieve on my own.