Thorsten Zöller

Uses

Things I use:

Hardware

I don't care too much about hardware, so this is a rather short list.

ThinkPad T480

My laptop and only computer. I love it. It works very well with OpenBSD and has more than enough power for my modest needs.

Here is my dmesg (OpenBSD 7.1).

Logitech K120 keyboard
A simple, but decent everyday keyboard. I would like to get a mechanical keyboard someday (like the ortholinear Planck keyboard), but haven't convinced myself yet that it is worth it.

Software

In general, I prefer tools which are leightweight and fast and do one thing well. If I have to choose between two tools for a job, I will opt for the one which is more lightweight, has fewer dependencies, or which (being an OpenBSD user, see below) is part of OpenBSD base.

OpenBSD

After having used various Linux distributions for many years, I feel like I have finally found my (close to) perfect operating system. It is small, clean and simple, and perfectly suits my needs. It just feels right.

More information on OpenBSD can be found on my OpenBSD page.

Tools in /usr/bin
So many tasks can be handled by the tools in /usr/bin, like grep(1), cal(1), less(1), find(1), sed(1), or tmux(1) (see below) – to name just a few – that often there is no need for any other tools.
nvi

I was a Vim user for many years, but recently Vim started to feel too bloated to me. Therefore, I switched to nvi and never looked back since then. It turns out that many features I once thought were indispensable are in fact very easy to live without. For instance, read this if you think you can't do without syntax highlighting (as I did), and this if you think it is a drawback that (n)vi lacks all the features Vim has to offer (read it even if you don't). The only thing I really miss is Unicode support, which is why I have to revert to nvi-iconv instead of being able to use the default version, vi(1), from OpenBSD base.

More information on the vi editor can be found on my vi page.

cwm
I have used many different window managers in the past, most recently xmonad, which I was quite fond of (not the least because it is written in Haskell). cwm(1) is part of OpenBSD base, and I didn't even know it before I switched to OpenBSD. Finally a window manager which is simple, minimalistic, effective and unobtrusive.
Firefox
While Firefox is big and somewhat bloated, it works well and is not from Google.
unclutter
Small tool which hides the mouse pointer from the screen when it has not moved for a given time – simple and convenient.
ksh
I spend a lot of time in the terminal, and OpenBSD's default shell ksh(1) delivers everything I need. Part of OpenBSD base.
tmux
Since I spend a lot of time in the terminal, a terminal multiplexer is a must, and tmux(1) is the obvious choice. Part of OpenBSD base.
RainLoop

Ideally, I would only be using Mutt. Due to the proliferation of HTML e-mails, however, this is simply not feasible any more. RainLoop is a webmail client and the best alternative I know of, and really simple to set up (see Installation and Setup of the RainLoop Webmail Client on OpenBSD).

Some features I am missing:

MuPDF
A fast and lightweight viewer for PDF files with vi-like keybindigs.
feh
A fast and lightweight image viewer.
FFplay
I rarely need a media player, but if I do, I will use FFplay from the FFmpeg multimedia framework.
Anki
Anki is an application for memorizing things like words of a foreign language. It employs the spaced repetition method for optimizing memorization. It has a ton of dependencies, and I would certainly prefer a command-line tool, but Anki seems to be the best choice available.
sct
sct is a small tool which sets the color temperature of the screen. This makes it possible to have warmer screen colors at night, when the surroundings are dark. It is similar in functionality to f.lux and Redshift, but much smaller and with much less dependencies. Created, somehow fittingly, by OpenBSD developer Ted Unangst.
Ledger

Ledger is a double-entry accounting system for the command line. I use it mostly for tracking larger transactions.

See also plaintextaccounting.org.

Asciidoctor
Asciidoctor is a very fast text processor for the AsciiDoc markup language written in Ruby. It has great documentation and can directly generate PDF as output. I haven't used traditional text processors in a long time, mainly for two reasons: First, there is no separation of form and content whatsoever, which implies that content written in some text processor is always bound inextricably to the text processor itself. And second, they are much too complex and bloated for my taste, and in almost every case employ a GUI. Having used LaTeX a lot during my studies of physics – doubtless the best markup language and typesetting system for mathematical documentation –, it was also my first choice for creating other forms of documentation (like letters) for a long time. LaTeX is not really lighweight though, and while it is practically indispensible for creating mathematical and physical documentation, it is overkill for my typical purposes these days. Therefore, I have come to use AsciiDoc in most situations, which involves little markup at all.

Services

OpenBSD Amsterdam
I couldn't be more happy to have this site hosted on an OpenBSD VM hosted on an OpenBSD server from OpenBSD Amsterdam. They donate a fraction of each booked VM to the OpenBSD Foundation, which is definitely worth supporting.
Porkbun
Domain name registrar with a very special appearance, which I cannot help but like somehow – indeed “an oddly satisfying experience”.
Let's Encrypt
Non-profit certificate authority providing free TLS certificates, thereby helping to make the web a safer place.
Posteo
Very security and privacy focused email provider. While it is not free like so many other email providers, I am more than happy to pay for their service, knowing that they respect my privacy and data – after all, if you're not paying for the product, you are the product.
Ecosia
Ecosia is an ecologial search engine. It uses the income generated by searches for planting trees all over the world. Besides, it is very privacy-focused. Another step away from Google.