Published April 3rd at 11:35am - 214 ♥ - 3 min read

My pain-crisis computer setup

Computer Health Linux Openbox Archlinux Nord Hive-174578

As you know, I have genetic disease called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (kyphoscoliosis type). And in the long list of symptoms, only one makes me very vulnerable and paralyzed: the "pain crisis." Randomly, I feel so much pain all over my body and it's very hard for me to move. Moving my arms is quite difficult and painful, but I still want to do still something.

That's why I thinking about a small and light setup. I also need a setup that can be used without a mouse.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my "EDS dev typewriter" computer!


The only one small & lightweight (1.05 kg/2.31 lbs) computer I have is a small low-end hardware Asus VivoBook 12 E210M with an 11" screen an the following specs:

  • CPU: Celeron N4020
  • GPU: Intel Graphics 600 at 1366x768 resolution
  • RAM: 4GB
  • SSD: 64GB
  • Wireless: Wifi 5 + Bluetooth 4.1

My EDS computer with Login screen (Nord Theme)

I can't run full-featured OS with lag or bugs. That's why I choose something else: Linux.

Linux has a lot of distributions designed for specific uses. And after a lengthy search, I find many good things.

The Operating System

I choose ArchLinux for two reasons:

  • No applications installed by default. It's just a basic install that I can customise,
  • All the tools I need are easy to install.

I need a lightweight window manager which can be controlled by keyboard only. I choose OpenBox. It's a very customisable desktop manager.

The first test was very good. The only problem I have is remembering the keyboard shortcuts! Now I have to add a theme.

I choose the Nord theme , It's so beautiful and also really readable in the night. I themed all my apps to Nord on this computer, and it's really awesome.

My Tiny laptop with desktop

Self-hosted cloud

Just few words about my self-hosted cloud solution. I have a NextCloud solution on a small server at home. And it's work like a charm. I have my main dev setup, my maker setup, my laptop and now my typewriter laptop.

I need a solution to synchronise my personal data across all of my devices and NextCloud is a really powerful solution for this. Not too hard to install and configure (just search "nextcloud tutorial" in the search engine), it does the job well.

Writing tool

I love MarkDown to write posts. It's so easy when you know it to format your content. I need an editor who understands and displays proper MarkDown. and I already have it on another computer: Obsidian.

Screenshot of Obsidian with this post

Obsidian is not only a great MarkDown editor, but it's also my second brain. Every post, thoughts or ideas are in my Obsidian vault and with NextCloud, I always have all data with me, everywhere.

Obsidian also have a lot of great shortcuts to be used mainly without a mouse.

Development tool

About dev, I just need "basic development" tools. I don't need every snippets, configs, libraries on this computer. But I want to be able to code if I want when i'm painful.

AstroNvim with SuperHive code

That's why I use a command-line code editor: NeoVim. It's a powerful editor with some customizations. I've just added NvChad to have many plugins (like phpactor, NvimTree and Nord theme) with easy and lightning-fast installation.

With OpenBox, I can cut my screen in two:

  • One side with NeoVim to development
  • Other side with my terminal with debugging / errors / exceptions / ...

It run perfectly on low-end hardware, and I'm not restricted in usage. I can continue to build some cool HIVE projects even when I'm sick!


It take only 2 hours to install and now, I have my next-generation EDS-specific typewriter (and small development machine).

Hope you enjoy this post. If you have questions, I will be happy to answer in the comments. If you like my posts and/or my work, please up-vote and reblog this post.

Have a nice day

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Comments :

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melinda010100 :

This is awesome! Being able to improvise to meet our needs is essential. You are an inspiration. ❤️

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weone :

This is amazing, I see you're so much like me, able to create and improvise, work around challenges. Keep up this great work!!!

weone :

On a technical note arch linux is really a great choice, because it's pretty bare...

mypathtofire :

nice setup! Arch Linux seems to be very popular! Does the markdown editor Obsidian work well when copying into Ecency after? I know Ecency/Hive doesnt support all markdown functions.

iskawrites :

It's amazing how you can build your life around your needs and you don't get to feel as though you are missing out on anything. Just as Melinda said, you are truly an inspiration.

I had obsidian on my phone in the past, I didn't explore it and I took it off when I battled with low storage. I guess I have to go and bring it back.

All the best, sir. :

Interesting to read about your setup. i'm planning in reviving an old Sony laptop with a linux installation. Couldn't boot from USB so i'm hoping CD drive works. Need to find a disc to test it.

i didn't know about the dis-ease you're experiencing. i followed the link and read a little. Are you saying the pain crisis is the only symptom you have?

Sat Nam Atma

brittandjosie :

You always see a plus and a positive in everything

seckorama :

Looks nice. For my video production and photo editing I use a desktop with win11 (I bought the last i7 Intel with 64 RAM), but for my job, I'm using RHEL. This Arch Linux looks interesting, maybe I'll try to install it on my small 13" HP laptop. I already tried Fedora and CentOS because my business apps run there, not sure about Arch. Probably I should need to install some RHEL dependencies...

hayat5 :

Being a doctor ,i can percept your feelings ! You are an inspiration . Bravo !

s0phos :

Aaaand you use Linux. I have lubuntu on my office-notebook installed and I love the cleanness and lightweightness of that setup :)

I am happy for you that you found your sweetspot and can be productive albeit your condition. I hope you are doing well in the future as well and have a great time

Cheers :)

unklebonehead :

You are a man after my own heart. Openbox is a kick ass window manager. I prefer i3 cause I like the tiling. But lately I've really gotten into the Cinnamon desktop. It's lighter than Gnome and still looks pretty slick. I'm looking forward to what Pop!OS has coming with their new Cosmic. But I have the feeling that if I go back to anything from Cinnamon it will be i3. Nice laptop too!

abrarhussain :

That looks so tough considering your condition . Good luck

wrestlingdesires :

What a wonderful idea :) ... Would such a setup also work well with a mouse?

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pizzabot :

$PIZZA slices delivered: @wrestlingdesires(4/15) tipped @bambukah

woelfchen :

Really cool setup

I feel you, I have strong permanent pain since 6 years now Also have been homeless, Corona has been crazy