# Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.

### Back to Debian

Published 10 Jun 2015. Tags: beards, email, personal, security, unix.

Once upon a time, back in high school and college, I used Debian, Gentoo, and Red Hat pretty much exclusively. It was great—I learned a ton—but it was kind of exhausting, too. At some point I got ahold of an Apple laptop, decided it was Unix with a pretty face, and I’ve mostly stuck with that for the last decade or so.

For the last couple of years, though, I’ve been feeling kinda homesick. brew is fine, but it’s an awfully poor substitute for apt. Tiling window managers have gotten really great. XQuartz is a mess. I don’t use an iPhone any more, so I don’t need a Mac for syncing with that.

Ultimately, though, it’s an ethical thing. I really respect the free software world, and they’re doing the right thing, so I kinda feel like I should put my money where my mouth is. So, a few weeks ago, I picked up a 3rd-gen Thinkpad X1 Carbon and installed Debian testing on it.

And it’s lovely! After a few hiccups (booting from USB requires disabling secure boot in the BIOS, the Intel wireless card demands a nonfree-but-available driver, and the QHD display makes handling the resolution of external displays a bit trickier), everything was all set up.

The new setup:

• i3 as my window manager. Tiling window managers are just terrific. I’ve used xmonad in the past, too, but it requires a bit more fiddling to get it the way I like. i3 lets me be lazier.
• mutt for email, with notmuch and notmuch-mutt to handle searching, offlineimap and msmtp for receiving and sending email, gpg for encryption and signing, and integration with org-mode enabled. As I mentioned elsewhere, I use fastmail to handle my mail.
• abook for managing contacts. It stores its data in plaintext and integrates with mutt without any fuss.
• emacs for all kinds of stuff, with org-mode for handling my todos.
• owncloud for syncing files between computers through my server.
• etckeeper for automatically managing my /etc through git. Slick!