Adriaan de Groot

A Short Intro

  • Age: Epiphany, 1973.
  • Located in: Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
  • Occupation: Junior Researcher (ie. PhD student) at the University of Nijmegen.
  • Nickname on IRC: [ade]
  • Claim to Fame: Well, tap and I were just labelled "KDE's resident comedians" by an angry newbie. I like that. KPilot is my (adopted) baby, and some people seem to like it.
  • Hardware: Some i386-type stuff, an Apple ][, a PDP-11, and several Palm Pilots, of course.

The Interview

Is there a certain application/set of applications in KDE you are responsible for?

KPilot, and nothing but.

What else do you do for KDE?

I patch other stuff when the need arises; there's some lines of code from me in kwin, konsole, maybe others I've forgotten. I've translated some stuff as well.

Is there any unreleased stuff in your pipe?

Not particularly. I'd like to port some games I wrote once with straight Xlib to KDE, and I'd like to write an application called "Kruft" (but I don't know what it should do). But KPilot plus a life takes up enough time as it is.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Depends on the week. Sometimes 5 hours a night, when I'm in the zone, and sometimes it languishes for days at a time. If you mean *using* KDE, then 8 hours (day job) at the least per day.

When did you hear of KDE first?

It was 1998, I'd just started work as program coordinator for Comp. Sci. here in Nijmegen, and they gave me a Mac as a desktop system. My first reaction was to stick LinuxPPC on it, and that came with KDE as default desktop. That's when I started using it on a daily basis. I can't say if that was the first I heard of it - I might have been running it at home before then, but I don't remember.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I started with KPilot, it was ugly, I mailed Dan Pilone (the original KPilot author) that it was ugly, and he responded in true Open-Source style "Send a patch." So I did. That must have been at the end of 1999, since that's when I got my first Pilot.

Do you always use leading edge KDE? If so, how did it make you bleed?

No. During the transition from 1.1.2 to 2.0 I was running fairly bleeding edge, also at the university, which meant sometimes I'd spend a week in text mode instead. During the 2.2.2 to 3.0 transition I'm sticking with 2.2, since I want to concentrate on KPilot's stability, and that doesn't combine well with a wobbly KDE 3.

What is your favourite editor?


What is your favourite tool?

A bottle opener. Elegant, does the job, and is recyclable, freely transferrable, and efficient. I'm not really attached to gcc or something like that. ;-)

What is your favourite KDE application?

Sorry, I don't play favorites. I suppose I use konsole most, and kwin, but again I have no real emotional attachment to those bits.

What is missing badly in KDE?

A version of KPilot that lives up to its promise. An icon editor that magically enables non-artists to make nice icons.

What do you think, when will "The Tea Cooker" actually be able to make tea?

Considering Ian Geiser's recent DCOP integration kitchen-sink work, in about 6 months.

What was the worst thing KDE did to you?

It made me aware that there are users out there that actually use the stuff I put out. This is also the best thing that happened.

Imagine yourself designing a style or theme for KDE. How would it look like?

Like crap.

Which section of KDE is underrated and could get more publicity?

The ease of interoperation between all the apps. I think we have a good thing going there.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

In a way. I mean, I goof off at work to patch KDE, so then I'm getting paid for that. I try to find ways of sneaking KDE into my research (like a little UML-to-Qt translation using xsltproc) as well. But "to work on" in the sense that it's in my contract, no.

Where and when should the next KDE meeting be held? Will you attend?

In the Elzas, early May, and I'd be there for sure.

Where will KDE be in 2 year's time? Will you still be involved? How?

It'll (still) be on my desktop. I'm not going to paint some scenario where Konqui crushes Tokyo. I'll still be patching bits and pieces, but I think the Palm platform will be obsolescent by then and the sync software will not be needed much anymore.

You are hired to write the script for a commercial for KDE (like "The Heist" by IBM). What would be the plot?

Two big rubbery monsters slug it out over major metropolitan centres.

Someone sends you an email about KDE in a language you do not understand at all. What do you do?

Org gablorg Spiff!
Spiff chug wunka.

I usually make a point of finding out which language it is and learning at least how to say "hello" for my response, and then carry on in English. Since I haven't received any mail in Chinese, Indic scripts or Xhosa, this has not posed much of a problem till now.

What do you think is KDE 2.2 greatest feature except from being a great desktop?


In these hectic times, where does KDE stands for, for you personally?

Something that places pressure on my free time. My personal itch for Palm Pilot syncing has been scratched - now there's a different kind of professional pride in improving and extending the product (*cough*? did I say product?)

What was your first computer?

An Apple ][c. Lemme tell ya, Appleworks - in 128k - is still one of the best office-style suites I've ever seen. It just *worked*.

Personal Questions

First things first. Are you married/do you have a partner? Or are you up for adoption?

Partnered, no adoption.

If you have a partner, how does your mate cope with a KDE addict?

She's learning C, and we're planning a KDE game.

Do you have children?


How many siblings do you have?

Just one, my brother lives in Ottawa, CA

How was it like to grow up where you grew up?

Typical Canadian big-city. Snow in spring, fall, and winter, and grasshoppers in Summer. I miss that.

Rumour has it geeks thrive on pizza and coke. What's your fuel?

Turkish Garlic sausage & green tea.

You are visiting a foreign country and the menu in the restaurant you are having dinner in is just gibberish to you. What do you do?

Pick something not too expensive. If I'm going to eat out, I want a surprise.

Do you cook yourself? If so, what?

Yesterday was Turkish pita bread with tomatoes, onions, garlic sausage and feta cheese, 20 min. in the over at 200C. The day before that was pasta, fried zucchini chunks, leeks, and a basil-cream-cheese sauce.

Who does the dish washing at your home?

I cook, my girlfriend does the dishes.

Do you remember what was on screen when you visited a cinema last time?

It was "Chocolat", with Johnny Depp. He used to be the sexiest man alive, IMO, but no more. And the film was about 20 minutes too long.

Apart from books about programming, do you own any other stuff than your passport?

A copy of Tacitus from 1580-someodd. A guitar. A soldering iron. A recumbent bicycle.

Assuming you do read fiction, what's your favourite quote by your favourite author?

Oooh, a quote. My favorite author is probably Tove Jansson, a Swedish Finn who writes (wrote?) children's books. The only quote that comes to mind right now is something from Wittgenstein's diaries, in Dutch "Drinken, in een bepaalde tijd symbolisch, is in een andere tijd zuipen." My best shot at translating that (I never *have* gotten drunk in an English-speaking country, so "zuipen" is tough to translate) is "Drinking, while sometimes symbolic, is oftentimes just boozing it up."

Would you use software to organise your books/CDs? Why?

I use kscd and some perl scripts for the CD's, and nothing for books. 'cause it's there and it's automatic for CD's.

What do you sing when nobody is listening and what when people are listening?

Violent Femmes & some of my own stuff. Neil Young & some of my own stuff.