My Desk in my "home office"

My Frugal Work From Home Setup

This week finally answered a question I’ve asked myself for years. Could I work from home with my existing Linux hardware and contribute with a team of Mac and Windows users? Well, the answer was yes.

My desk at home with a LInux kernel poster above
A Linux kernel poster above my desk. You can’t tell from this photo but the artwork is a portion of the kernel printed as art.

My Desk

Clockwise left to right my desk is ready for calm productivity

  • Three stacked trays hold an assortment of paper and pocket notebooks. No apps! I take notes the old fashioned way.
  • An ASUS 27″ 1080p monitor, large enough that I can set back several feet and comfortably type or read.
  • An HD Webcam from ThinkPenguin for Zoom calls
  • Assorted items: Phone (mostly ignored spam calls), a router, Tweek FunCo Pop! and a Cylon Raider, the Tardis, a custom mug for my pencils and a Frixion pen.
  • $20 Creative speakers
  • Rocketbook Fusion reusable notebook.
Ubuntu 19.10
My nine year old Sandy Bridge i5-2500K has no problems with the latest software.

Software & Hardware

Although I’m using Lubuntu 19.10 for my Work desktop I also have stock Ubuntu for my Personal desktop.

Lubuntu Desktop
Lubuntu Desktop

Work / Life Balance

A frequent suggestion I kept seeing while researching working from home was to create “hard lines” between work & personal time. Bloggers love to talk about how they set up a home office they never enter after work hours. Well, that just isn’t practical. My wife is also working from home during this crisis, space is limited.

To that end not all hard lines have to be physical, So I installed Lubuntu 19.10 on a spare 14 year old 5600 rpm hard drive just collecting dust in my desktop… and yes, I back it up daily.

Using an Ubuntu variant I still benefit from the same workflow just in a different look and feel. If I want to access work or personal documents I have to reboot into a completely installation along with a different look and feel. This creates just enough of an inconvenience to keep me focused on one while avoiding the other.





5 responses to “My Frugal Work From Home Setup”

  1. D.J. Avatar

    I have a very old MacBook with a bad display inverter cable. I need to replace it and then I’m going to make it a dedicated Ubuntu machine.

  2. Joseph Dickson @ Avatar

    Ah, my first Linux box was a MBP from 2006 where the keyboard was failing. I ended up connecting to to a display and an external keyboard for two years before I built my current desktop in 2011.

  3. CMDR Royal Mons, Graham Linux ???????? Avatar

    Helping my step daughter setup to work remotely but unfortunately because of the nature of her job she has to use software only available for Windows ???? I chose an Acer Nitro with a VR ready graphics card for her.

  4. D.J. Avatar

    That’s awesome! This one is from 2006 as well. I hate throwing out computers I can potentially fix.

  5. Joseph Dickson @ Avatar

    the only problem I’ve ran into so far was a request for a business card to be designed. Inkscape couldn’t really handle it. Fortunently a coworker with illustrator was able to take that on.

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