Jovica Ilic wants to try OpenBSD

I got involved in IT when I was 15, when I started learning Pascal and Delphi. Soon after that, some of my programs managed to get their way to the most popular IT magazines in Serbia. That was a big thing back then.

While being at the university, I totally moved out from the Windows world, and dived into learning about networks and Unix/Linux world. Today I work as a sysadmin. I am a big fan of Vim and Gentoo.

Together with my sysadmin team at adjust, we manage 400+ bare metal machines, all running Gentoo. Gentoo allows us to fine tune our machines and software we use for extreme performance. We process around 10PB of data monthly. At this scale, whether it’s about our Aerospike cluster, PostgreSQL or Redis, we’re faced with very interesting challenges.

Until last year, I used to run Gentoo on my MacBook Pro. However, I got tired of patching the kernel with every new version just to have brightness control or sleep features working. So I moved to ThinkPad X1 Carbon (5th gen). Linux support is great, the hardware quality is good and it’s very lightweight—so I’m pretty happy with it.

So my current setup looks like this: Gentoo running on X1, with i3wm. I use oh-my-zsh, and I love the abbreviations feature. Other tools I use on a daily basis are git, tig, ack and todolist. I use Chrome for browsing the internet, where Vimium extension is a must. I don’t use mouse. Most of the stuff I do just using keyboard, as I find it the most efficient. While at work, I occasionally use my external screen, Dell UltraSharp U3415W.

My favorite text editor is Vim. I even wrote a book about it. I wanted to improve my Vim skills quickly, but I didn’t want to read 250+ pages books on Vim. I wanted less info, but the best bits. There was no such a book, so I had to write one.

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."
— Mark Twain

As Mark Twain suggested, I think writing a shorter book requires more mental effort than writing a longer one—particularly if you want it to be good. Distilling the essence of what you want to say and making the effort to cut out the fluff or just another way of doing XYZ in Vim, requires a lot more cognitive effort.

The fact that I’ve read more than 300 of books in last the 4 years helped me a lot in that regard. That’s how my book on Vim ended up with a chapter on best learning strategies known to me. I also put a lot of thought into the structure of the content, so the beginners don’t feel intimidated with complexity. Instead, through a good structure, I provide some sort of guidance and try to motivate the reader to keep with reading and try out stuff.

I wrote Mastering Vim Quickly using Vim (of course!), entirely in Markdown. I used Pandoc with a bit of LaTeX to convert Markdown to pdf/epub/mobi formats. I also have a free weekly newsletter on Vim, available at I regularly tweet short Vim tips & tricks via @MasteringVim. You can also reach me @jovica. From time to time I write a blog posts at

For a while already I’m thinking about seriously trying out OpenBSD, but due to lack of free time and/or motivation, that still didn’t happen. Following @romanzolotarev definitely increases my motivation for this adventure. :)

17 Aug 2018

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