Distant Constructs

Computer Setup

My Computer Setup

A brief rundown of my computing environment's setup. A repository of my configuration files and shell scripts can be found at either Github or Gitlab. This page is at least partially inspired by Richard Stallman's description of his setup, although I can only dream to attain the same level of awe-inspiring hackery as his mail-mediated web browsing workflow.


I use Parabola Linux on a Penguin Pro.

I also have a 2007 MacBook which runs Arch Linux. I was surprised that I was able to get the OS installed (I used the guide on the Arch Wiki). I'm waiting for coreboot to support replacing the bios so I can take a shot at really bricking it.

I use xmonad as my window manager and use Dvorak as my default keyboard layout (although the symbols on my keyboard are QWERTY). I've generally had a very good experience with both (although upgrading the haskell compiler ghc is a somewhat scary process). I also use dmenu to bring up applications in the background. Other than that, I have xmobar set up as a status bar to easily keep an eye on CPU and and network usage.


I generally use urxvt for the terminal, but also use uxterm occasionally. I use bash, mostly because it is widely available and so my startup scripts are easily portable. vim is my editor of choice. I have set -o vi in my startup scripts to use vim-like keybindings in the terminal. Additionally, I recently discovered that the line set editing-mode vi can be added tobe ~/.inputrc to set the editing mode for all applications built on readline (including python and gdb).

I use icecat (a firefox fork) and lynx for web browsing, icedove (a thunderbird fork) for mail, and newsbeuter for feeds. By using the vimperator extension with firefox, I am generally able to avoid using the mouse for casual web browsing. (see also: a comprehensive list of firefox extensions that I use).

On the occasion that I need to use "office" software such as a word processor or a spreadsheet, I use LibreOffice. vlc generally takes care of my media playback needs. I use Audacity and the Hydrogen drum machine for fun with audio recording. I've had a lot of fun editing photos with the GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program).


I use unifont and DejaVuSansMono as my console fonts (set in .Xdefaults). My standard color scheme in vim is gruvbox (modified to have a transparent background) and I've also set my prompt and LS_COLORS environment variable with similar colors. My terminal background is transparent.

I've set up the XFCE-dusk as the gtk-theme so that everything has a dark look to match with the text environment. I try to maintain this look in applications that I use (for example, by using high contrast mode in LibreOffice and the Blank Your Monitor extension in firefox).

Fun Stuff

By adding fortune -c | cowsay -f tux to my startup scripts, Tux, the Linux mascot, greets me with a friendly message.

I set the wallpaper in X using hsetroot -full, which is in my .xinitrc. I have a small script that chooses a random wallpaper from a directory of images to pass into the program, so that my wallpaper rotates everytime X is started up. I have transparency set on urxvt to allow me to see my wallpaper when in the terminal.

first published: 2015-04-06 2331 EDT
last updated: 2017-09-29 0219 EDT