box.matto.nl
Enjoying Open Source Software

/Uses

This is what I am currently using.

Laptops

I also fool around with a very old chromebook.

Home LAN-server

  • An old NUC (bought second hand) powered by an Intel I3 processor

Other hardware

  • Beaglebone Black: wonderful boards, running for over 7 years now in my home network. One of these boards is serving this website, as well as my Gopherhole and my Gemini capsule.
  • Raspberry Pi 3A plus: smaller boards, with a little bit less RAM, only Wifi
  • Raspberry Pi 4: almost as powerful as your laptop

Operating system

FreeBSD with ZFS:

  • FreeBSD is an operating system which focuses on features, speed, and stability. It is derived from BSD, the version of UNIX┬« developed at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • bhyve the "BSD hypervisor", is a hypervisor/virtual machine manager available on FreeBSD, macOS, and Illumos
  • FreeBSD jail is an implementation of FreeBSD's OS-level virtualization (also known as "containers")
  • ZFS combines a file system with a volume manager and provides powerful features like snapshots and clones, and a lot more.

OpenBSD:

  • OpenBSD is an operating system that emphasize portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography. It is very light weight and has a great aesthetic feel.

What runs on what:

  • Thinkpad X201: OpenBSD
  • Thinkpad X270: FreeBSD with ZFS, jails and bhyve
  • Old NUC: FreeBSD with ZFS, jails and bhyve
  • Old HP: FreeBSD with ZFS and jails
  • Acer Aspire: FreeBSD
  • Beaglebone Black: OpenBSD for Arm
  • Raspberry Pi: Raspberry Pi OS (a.k.a. Raspbian)

Window manager

I have used the ratpoison window manager as my window manager for more than 10 years. Recently I switched to dwm.

In order to use as much screen real estate as possible, I still run ratpoison on the Acer Aspire One ZG5.

Terminal

The st simple terminal implementation for X.

St is small, works and works with the OSC 52 mechanism to integrate tmux with the X clipboard.

I use Tmux as the terminal multiplexer.

Shell

ZSH, a shell designed for interactive use, although it is also a powerful scripting language.

ZSH is great right out of the box, I don't use Oh My Zsh.

I do use:

  • zsh-autosuggestions
  • zsh-syntax-highlighting

Editor

I use several editors:

  • ed: ed is the standard editor, developed by Ken Thompson in August 1969.
  • vi is a screen oriented text editor. The original code for vi was written by Bill Joy in 1976,
  • vim, or Vi IMproved is developed by Bram Molenaar.
  • Emacs is the extensible, customizable, self-documenting, real-time display editor. Like most people, I use GNU Emacs, developed by Richard Stallman.
  • pe "puny emacs", a tiny but powerful Micro Emacs
  • ee "ersatz-emacs", also a tiny Micro Emacs

ed

ed is great to use for editing configuration files like your dotfiles and config-files in /etc. In 2018 I started using ed on a regular basis. I still use ed almost daily. When an edit of plain text file is small, than this is the most efficient way.

Also I think it is fun to use ed. and it makes me a better vi and Vim user.

vi

vi I use on FreeBSD and OpenBSD for other quick edits.

Vim

Vim has been my main editor for more than 20 years, both for writing texts as well as for writing code. Vim is IMHO the most efficient editor in the world.

Emacs

Emacs is another great editor, which combines the power of sophisticated text editing with very useful packages ("modes").

pe and ee

pe and ee are tiny Micro Emacs editors that I use for small notes and to maintain my todo list.

Just love to fool around with tiny editors like ed and these Micro Emacs editors.

Version Control System (VCS)

  • RCS Revision Control System is an early implementation of a version control system. RCS was first released in 1982 by Walter F. Tich.
  • Git. Git was originally authored by Linus Torvalds in 2005.

Markdown

Almost everything I write, is in a Markdown or Markdown-ish format.

For my daily notes I use the Markdown pound sign header-style for level 1 ( # ) and level 2 ( ## ), and create bullet-style lists with a minus at the start of the line.

Often the level 2 header consists of a nicely for mated timestamp, like "Friday 08 October 2021 21:09".

To write articles, memos and so on, I use Pandoc to convert Markdown into the desired format, either odt or LaTeX.

During writing, I check in to RCS (with Emacs Ctrl-x v v) every ten minutes or so, to create a lot of save-points to eventually return to.

I write the content of this website in Markdown, and a home-grown Common Lisp application creates this website from those Markdown files.

Org mode

Since a few months I also write in org-mode. Emacs can export org-mode to ODT, without the need for Pandoc.

I do this now for the articles I write for the Dutch Linux Magazine.

Just like in when using Markdown, I do a RCS check in (with Emacs Ctrl-x v v) every ten minutes or so, to create a lot of save-points to eventually return to.

Gnus

I use Gnus in Emacs:

  • As email client
  • As Usenet news-reader
  • To follow mailing lists (through gmane.io)
  • As RSS feed reader (through gwene.org)

Links from these I open in eww.

Web browser

I have configured eww to work as a simple text browser:

  • default font
  • no colors
  • no images
  • 70 character text width

Lynx is a text mode browser that goes back a long way.

In the past, Lynx was part of the standard installation of most Linux distributions.

Lynx is not only great for surfing websites, Lynx is a brilliant Gopher browser.

You can browse Gopherspace very fast with Lynx, using mostly the arrow keys, of, if you like the Vi-keybindings, the hjkl-alternatives.

Personal wiki

My personal wiki is very important to me. I use awkiawki.

awkiawki is a WikiWiki clone written in awk.

awkiawki:

  • Is extremely light weight, runs easy on a Beaglebone Black
  • Works with flat text files in a single pool (no vendor lock-in, you can always change to something else)
  • Is extremely simple to use, just add a CamelCase word (a.k.a. smashed together words) somewhere in the text and it becomes automatically a link.

awkiawki uses RCS for revision management.

I have been using this wiki for over 15 years now, and it contains over 800 pages.

Texinfo

GNU Texinfo is a brilliant system for plain text hypertext files.

I use this not only for reading software documentation, but also as a quick way to my personal knowledge base. For this, I have created a Common Lisp application that creates several Texinfo files from a number of wiki-pages from my personal wiki.

Texinfo make the retrieval blazing fast and a joy to use.

Deft

Deft for Emacs is an Emacs mode for quickly browsing, filtering, and editing directories of plain text notes.

I have recently start using Deft, mostly for "thinking notes".

Very useful web services

I run the following web services in my home network that I host locally on a Raspberry Pi 3A plus:

  • linkding a very useful self hosted bookmark service
  • bepasty a very useful self hosted pastebin for all kinds of files (text, image, audio, video, documents, ..., binary)