My new computer

Published by Beto Dealmeida on

My latest computer is a Qemu image running Alpine Linux. It's portable, easy to backup, and I don't have to worry about hardware anymore.

I'm not sure how I had this idea; it's probably influenced by what I've been reading about permacomputing, combined with my general dissatisfaction with the modern user experience with computers and the internet in general. I'm fortunate enough that I can say "I want none of this", and I can go back to my nostalgia bubble where I interact with people via email, Mastodon, text-based websites, and Gemini.

My new computer has no hardware. It's a small Qemu image running Alpine Linux. The filesystem is encrypted, and I carry it in a small USB stick. Inside, I have a few configured command line applications:

  • Newsboat, an RSS reader
  • Lynx, a text-only web browser
  • Amfora, a Gemini browser
  • Toot, a Mastodon client
  • Mutt, the email client I've been using for 20+ years
  • Tmux, a terminal multiplexer so I can run everything

Plus git and Python so I can work on my open-source projects and run my blog.

The Qemu image is small enough (3.6G currently) that I can easily make backups and snapshots, and because the filesystem is encrypted I don't have to worry about them. When I switch from my work computer to my personal computer I just bring the USB stick with me; same thing next time I upgrade a computer.