Free and open source software stack

Linux

I have been toying with Linux since around 1994, and using it almost exclusively on all my computers since 1999 or so. I am now a big fan of Arch Linux, having over the years gone through Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Red Hat, and Slackware. I prefer Arch over the others because it has fairly up-to-date versions of most software, it is quick and easy to install, its package management is quite good, and it distributes binaries. (I used to like Gentoo’s “compile everything” approach, but recompiling Emacs or Firefox or GCC eventually gets old.)

Email

In the recent years, I have used Mozilla Thunderbird almost exclusively, then I switched to Gmail. A few months ago I was experimenting with Mutt, then I heard about Notmuch, which I am now using exclusively as my mail client (with the Emacs frontend, although I’m hoping the Vim frontend will become more usable soon). It is still in a stage of early and quick development, but what I have seen so far is compelling enough to make me use it in my day-to-day dealings with email.

Web browsing

I’m still looking for the perfect browser; a likely reason could be that I don’t know what the perfect browser should be like. It could well be that uzbl or surf is the answer, but I have not had the time to investigate how to make them do all the things that I use a browser for. At the moment I’m using Mozilla Firefox with a bunch of extensions: AdBlock Plus, FlashGot, FoxyProxy, Ghostery, It’s All Text, LastPass, Personas, Tab Mix Plus, Tor, Weave Sync.

Editor

I’m trying to use Vim as much as possible these days (previously I used Emacs exclusively). I’m still using Emacs as a frontend for Notmuch, and I have not yet reached the level of proficiency in Vim that I used to have in Emacs, but maybe that will change. I think that despite the very substantial differences between the two, they are both very good editors.