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 Steve Klabnik

Steve Klabnik

Software developer

Posted in developer, linux

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi there, I'm Steve. *waves*

I, like most people, am in a constant state of change. This particular snapshot of me features:

  • Writing lots of software. My GitHub profile claims that I've contributed 2880 things to various projects in the last 365 days. My longest streak was 126 days. In a row!
  • Reading lots of philosophy books. Mostly those French guys you roll your eyes at.
  • Travel. I got my passport in 2010, and put a single stamp in it. In 2011, I got 4 more. At this point, I will need more pages shortly after the new year.
  • Waiting patiently for the fall of capitalism. If I could help accelerate this I would. Getting kinda impatient over here.

What hardware do you use?

Right now I use an X1 Carbon for all of my computing. It's whatever its max specs are. Once there is 100% free hardware that's full-sized, I'll buy it. The Carbon is pretty damn close.

Before I started caring strongly about my personal freedoms I was a staunch Apple user. I got rid of a 13" MacBook Air when I acquired this machine.

Until this year, I did not have a cell phone. I have an iPhone 5 now. After my two years are up, I'll probably go without one again.

When I just want to mindlessly consume, I use a full-sized iPad. It's pretty okay for reading the web, great at PDFs, and has fun games.

And what software?

I currently run #! (pronounced kɹʌntʃbæŋ(ɡ)) Linux. I like it. I use Arch Linux most of the time, but I gave #! a go this time so I wouldn't have to fiddle.

I use a tiling window manager. Usually it's XMonad, but #! comes with OpenBox, and it's pretty okay.

I spend 80% of my time in Firefox and an xterm. Inside that xterm, I run bash, vim, git, and irssi. I need to get better at tmux.

I spend 10% of my time in Thunderbird, for email.

I spend another 8% of my time using tools to protect my privacy, like Tor and GPG, and 1% in random things I don't use often enough to remember. Like occasionally I'll need to edit a picture and open GIMP or need to open some sort of document that LibreOffice can handle. Occasionally I'll get an instant message on Pidgin.

I write my presentations in Reveal.js or the 'rabbit' gem.

On the iPhone I mostly use iMessage and the Twitter app.

On the iPad I mostly practice with Duolingo and play ReRave.

I use a few web services, though I'm generally replacing them with equivalent desktop apps, or copies that I run on my own servers. I run a Jabber server with ejabberd, and will soon have a full replacement for Google Apps, which I've used over the last few years. Twitter and Duolingo are the two largest that I use right now that I don't have a good replacement for. I enjoy GitHub, but could live without it.

In general, I don't tweak my configuration files.

steveklabnik@dhwty:~$ cat ~/.vimrc
syntax on
filetype plugin indent on

set expandtab

set paste
set ruler


What would be your dream setup?

A computer that actually worked, and worked correctly most of the time. I've been searching for quite a while, such a thing seems not to actually exist. I have a sneaking suspicion software is fundamentally, irreparably broken. But a man can dream...

Given that can probably never exist, a more realistic dream is a machine that has 100% free hardware and software that works well. The Lemote just doesn't have enough power to actually be useful.