I use this #1

  Saturday, January 14, 2012 » Linux Tools

Great tools enable programmers to build great stuff. I think every programmer should invest at least some time into his toolbox. Read on if you’re interesting in what I use. This post is about my linux setup, there will be another post about my windows environment.


  • Two Monitors, 23" each with a resolution of 2048x1152. Got them for over two years and I am perfectly happy with them.

  • Corsair Graphite Series 600T Mid-Tower Case (I had to replace the included fans as they’re pretty loud, otherwise nice case, but too expensive).

  • Be quiet! straight power silent and efficient. If you care about your power usage, make sure to get one with less watts. A 700W power supply performs very poorly in terms of efficiency when only 80W are required.

  • Intel DQ67SW Mainboard I wanted a board with dual DVI so that I can plug-in my two monitors without having to buy an additional graphics card. As I don’t play computer games (anymore) integrated graphics is more than enough. This was about the only Mainboard I could find that offered dual DVI. And I am quite happy with it so far.

  • Intel Core i5 2400 - I would probably have gotten an AMD (more bang for the bucks) if I wasn’t constrained to Intel because of the Mainboard. Anyway, the i5 isn’t too bad.

  • Corsair Something 4x 4GB - You can never have enough RAM for Firefox.

  • Corsair Force Series 3 - 60GB - The previous version, not the one linked. Just as system disk. My data reside on a btrfs data/metadata raid 1 on two regular 500GB HDDs. Make sure to do regular backups if you try out btrfs, it is still experimental and there is NO working fsck/file system repair tool available yet.

  • If you haven’t got a SSD yet, go ahead and buy one NOW. There is no other way to improve your system performance as easily as by upgrading to a SSD.

  • Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 and Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

  • Mousetrapper - Everything that has the word Ergonomic in it’s description seems to be twice as expensive as it should be. I ordered a test device because of an article in a ct’ which made me curios and didn’t send it back because: 1. Liked it pretty much and 2. Was too lazy to do so. But if you have more than 2 monitors I wouldn’t recommend it, as the left/right scrolling isn’t endless. I use a tiling window manager and vi-mode everywhere available so I have my fingers at the keys almost all the time (more on that in the software part). So using a touch pad is actually really comfortable.

So much for the hardware, now let’s move on to the (probably) more interesting part.


Basic System

  • Archlinux - been using it for years and never looked back.
  • I3wm - a tiling window manager. I had been using wmii for a long time and switched only recently. I3 handles multi monitors in a way that suits me better.
    If you haven’t tried a tiling window manager yet, you really should. And do so for at least 2 or 3 days before you give up. Before you try one, make sure to read its documentation (or have another computer that you can still operate, otherwise despair awaits you). If wmii/i3 doesn’t fit your needs, you might like scrotwm or dwm. They behave a bit different.
  • Zsh - I abandoned bash a few years ago in favor of the superior completion-features of zsh. As this was some time ago things might have improved with bash. I have been using zsh with the configuration files from grml. But currently I am trying oh-my-zsh.
  • Rxvt-unicode - terminal emulator (in client/server mode with urxvtd and urxvtc)
  • Mv, cp, ls, sed, grep, etc.

Diagnostic System Tools

  • Htop - simple yet efficient task manager / process viewer.
  • Iostat / iotop - to display current I/O activity.
  • Netstat / iftop - to display network activity
  • Dstat is also nice to get a overview of all cpu, i/o and network.
  • Ncdu - if you want to know which directories are eating up your precious disk space.
  • Mtr - a better traceroute

Everyday Needs (the hot stuff)

  • Vim
  • Ranger - a curses based file manager with vi key binding.
  • Ipython - my swiss army knife: calculator, shell, programming language
  • Ssh sshfs scp screen - openssh is insanely powerful. I can only recommend to investigate into its features.
  • Aria2c - to download files and torrents. More powerful than curl or wget as it can open multiple server connections.

Everyday Needs (the obvious and boring stuff)

  • Firefox with Pentadactyl - If you like vi, you will love pentadactyl. What I like in particular is that you can hit Ctrl + i in any textarea and get a gvim window in which you can edit the text.
  • Claws-mail - Basic email client, though recently I have been using mostly roundcube (webmail).
  • Mplayer - Who doesn’t like to watch movies?
  • Kaffeine - Or television. (I am trying out me-tv-server/client right now)
  • Projectx mplex avidemux handbrake - For when I want to encode recordings from kaffeine.
  • Sxiv - image viewer
  • Pmount pumount - I mostly use the shell for file management and don’t like those automount daemons. So pmount comes in handy.
  • Evince - simple pdf reader.
  • Gajim - my jabber client of choice.
  • Rdesktop - rdp client.

Running in the background

  • Redshift - changes the monitor color temperature, so that it gets reddish in the evening.
  • Mpd mpc sonata - good music to keep me in a good mood.
  • Lirc irexec - to control mplayer and mpc with my ir-remote control. Unfortunately the kernel module for my TechnoTrend IR dongle is in staging and a bit unstable.
  • Workrave - reminds me to take regular breaks.
  • Fancontrol - keeps my computer silent. Although I think it is still too noisy.

Every other day needs (the cool stuff)

  • Vidir - If you ever wanted to rename a bunch of files.
  • Shutter - a powerful screenshot tool
  • Kvm / qemu / libvirt - to run my virtual machines.
  • Vimdot - to draw simple graphs
  • Latex
  • Shotwell - to manage photos.
  • Snes9x-gtk - the gamepads for my real snes are broken. Sometimes playing Bomberman or Donkey Kong is exactly the right thing to do.
  • Youtube-dl
  • Calibre - to manage my ebooks
  • Gimp - more than enough for my basic image manipulation requirements.

I guess that’s it. If you know something that I should use and therefore be on this list, go ahead and leave me a note.