Notes on Personal Computing


I prefer to use libre software and encourage others to do the same. To use a closed-source system is to live in a house where one cannot put up shelves or knock-through walls. We tolerate such restrictions in rented houses; but we do not rent our computers, we buy them, and as such we should not accept anything but absolute freedom in how we are able to use them. I prefer to use a minimalist Linux distribution (usually Arch). Although modern systems are far less constrained for disk space and memory than their forebearers, I tend to think that efficiency is an end unto itself. I consider it profligate to squander the phenomenal power of modern hardware on bloated, inefficient, and poorly-written software. As such, I use the lightweight tiling window manager Sway on most of my machines. Some useful tools that I pair it with include Rofi (an application launcher) and Mako (a notification daemon). I always appreciate suggestions on how to compose a more effective lightweight Linux desktop environment. I prefer termite as my terminal emulator, and tend to use the fish shell. My preferred text editor is Vim. I really would recommend that technically minded folk who wish to become more proficient computer users attain at least a modest fluency in Vim. You *will* hate it at first, but after a while you'll start wishing that every text-box you encounter supported Vim keybindings :-) I use Firefox as my web browser, primarily because I am more comfortable entrusting my privacy to Mozilla than to Google, a company whose primary revenue stream is the collection and exploitation of private information. Happily, Firefox is in my view a technically and aesthetically superior browser to Chrome and its derivatives, so there is no need to trade off convenience against principles. It is also worth noting that the issue of 'browser monoculture' is a serious one that worsens by the year. Firefox and Safari are the only serious competitors to Chrome that use different web engines, and as Google claims an ever larger market-share, lazy developers are likely to assume that they only need to make their websites and webapps work in Chrome. I would not trust Google to be good custodians of the open web, were they to gain de-facto control of its core standards in this way. Besides the aforementioned Sway, and its partner project wlroots (both headed by Drew DeVault, to whom the Wayland community is heavily indebted), some open-source projects that I enjoy following include Andreas Kling's Serenity OS and the Rust programming language.
This webpage was authored with libre software Site Modified: Thu Oct 29 16:44:54 GMT 2020