Arthur Simiyu

My computer setup

Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening my axe — Abraham Lincoln

As a software developer, my computer is my axe and over the past few months I have been configuring and setting it up so that I can be as productive as I can be using it.

Physical setup

My computer is a Dell 15R, running on an i3 2.1 GHz processor with 4GB ram and a 500GB hard disk. At work I have a second external monitor though I have never gotten around to using it. The current hardware is fast enough for my needs at the moment though I am thinking of swapping the DVD drive for an SSD hard disk if I can get my hands on one as well as maxing out the RAM to 8GB.

Software setup

OS: Arch Linux

I have been a Linux user for the past 7 years, using Redhat, Debain, OpenSuse and finally settling on Ubuntu once it became more mainstream.

But with their recent switch to Unity and the emergence of Gnome 3, I decamped to Linux Mint for a few months before deciding to give Arch Linux a try a few months back. Looking back I have no idea why I never made the switch earlier.

Arch Linux is a simple lightweight Linux distribution that takes an elegant minimalist approach. It basically gives you a blank slate to work on and build it into a system customized to your choice and needs unlike other all in one distributions like Ubuntu.

Windows manager: Awesome

After finding Gnome 3 to be a bit too much for my needs and Unity being uncustomizable to my needs, I started looking for a new Desktop manager but ended up using Awesome, a windows manager instead.

Awesome automatically tiles my windows maximizing my screen space usage, does not need a mouse to use which is a major plus for me and the best feature being the use of tags. Each tag is an independent workspace and I have control of which tag an application should display.

To view a running application, I just switch to the tag it is open on. For example I currently have 6 tags, term, web, files, chat, media and work. I am typing this post on vim running on a terminal open in the term tag, with Chrome open in the web tag. To switch to Chrome I just press the Win Key + 2

Development software

I spend most of my time working in a terminal using Terminator terminal emulator running a zsh shell with oh-my-zsh plugins.

My default text editor is a heavily customized Vim install with janus to manage the plugins that I use.

My default browser is currently Chrome with the Rapportive, Clearly, Evernote clipper and Pretty beautiful javascript extensions installed. I also have firefox browser with the Firebug extension installed mostly use it for web development.

Other stuff

I am a huge dropbox fan and most of my stuff is backed up on my dropbox folder, it has saved my ass a couple of times already after some accidental deletions.

For my communication I mainly use pidgin for chat, Thunderbird for email as well as Skype and Turpial a lightweight Linux twitter client.

I tend to prefer working with music playing in the background and so how I play and organize my music files is a big deal to me. I currently have two players installed Audacious and ncmpcpp, a very barebones command line client for the mpd server. My video needs are served by the awesome vlc player.

I use Calibre to manage and read my ebook collection, Libre Office to read, edit and create documents and FoxIt Reader to view PDF files.

This is basically the setup that I am currently using. So far it has been awesome, fast and dependable making working on it fun.