Allan Sandfeld Jensen

A Short Intro

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

I am a developer. Lately I have been mostly active in KHTML development, but I'm also part of the KDE multimedia group and KIO development.

When did you first hear of KDE?

It came with my first Linux distribution SuSE 5.3 in 1998 or 1999 I think. Wonderful stuff especially the games if I recall, but not yet useful enough for me to start using it.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I started using Linux regularly sometime in 2001. At the time I was mostly interested in kernel development, because that lies closer to my academic specialties, but I also monitored and hacked KDE. After some time I found KDE development much more fulfilling because of a better atmosphere and because you can always find something that needs to be done and do it without having a full-time commitment as you often need in kernel development. I started with some very small stuff, and didn't become a regular developer until 2003 when I started fixing aRts bugs.

What was your most recent commit to KDE?

I have committed my random access KIO to trunk which means you can read and write anywhere in a remote file if the protocol supports it, usefull for seeking and stuff. I also have the AvKode project I am still not sure if is a success or not.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

No. Although I have "won" some money from Google in the SoC project.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

On average I spend something like 5-10 hours a week developing KDE, but it varies a lot.

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

How to get involved :)

I see far too often users thinking KDE development as some black magic, but in fact most things that needs to be done are very simple and very rewarding.

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

Commercial applications, and better integration with the kernel.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Yes. Way too many.

Currently I am focusing on the KIO stuff, then av/kode (Phonon backend), then KHTML/Unity. I have many plans for KHTML but they all depend on what we learn from the Unity experiment, although they will actually be much easier to implement if Unity fails.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

Challenges, well fun basically. Occasionally I also "scratch an itch", the later is the only reason I do multimedia infrastructure.

What chances do you see in your country for KDE as a desktop platform?

Not much. Denmark is rich, pragmatic and people in power kiss American ass, a perfect little Microsoft land.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

KWrite, but only because Nedit doesn't work in KDE for some reason. I don't like software (and hardware) which tries to be clever and gets in my way, this naturally excludes both emacs and vim.

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Debian, because I can upgrade easily.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

KDE is the killer app. It's the framework that enables the powerful applications.

What makes you develop for KDE instead of the competition?

Because KDE is the superior platform ;) Though to be truthful it probably has more to do with that I am very pragmatic and really detest people who stubbornly insist on using inferior tools like C and GTK+ for political reasons when there are better free alternatives.

What does your desktop look like?


What type is your laptop/desktop? What is it named?

My main computer is Angel, it's an HP Pavilion laptop (Athlon64 3000+, 512Mb RAM). I will not recommend it though, its a cheap piece of crap.

I also have a 3 year old Windows 2000 gaming PC named Hydra that is much more powerful, but I rarely turn it on as it makes too much noise, and being a Windows PC I can't move it far away from the desk.

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

One of the first things I did in KDE multimedia was fixing the ALSA output of aRts. It was broken so many ways. While doing this I had to learn ALSA, and it slowly dawned on me how absolutely horrible the ALSA API was (besides being practically undocumented). I put in several workarounds for some major ALSA braindamage in aRts which finally made everything work, my comments and language in those commits was however very ehmm.. graphic, and it later turned out that that particular bug-report was CC'ed to the ALSA development mailing-list. I got some surprisingly sober responds to my "comments".

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

Akode I think. It's a wonderfully simple "audio framework" that doesn't try to do much, but does what it does better than anything else (decode, buffer and play audio). I used my experience with aRts to make a framework that always used outside libraries and frameworks using blocking read and write. This makes it much more resilient to stupid APIs and broken behaviour for instance.

Are you going to Akademy in Ireland this year?


What do you hope to get out of it?

Fun. Hopefully a little coding as well. I am itching to do a lot of KHTML development, but right now I just have no idea where the project is heading. Hopefully it will become cleared at Akademy.

Personal Questions

First things first. Married, partner or up for adoption?

I am in a new relationship with a beautiful girl.

Allan's partner

How does she cope with a KDE addict?

Very well, she does however complain about all the trips. In the 4 months we have been dating I've already had two KDE trips one to Norway (Four Core) and one to The Netherlands (K4M). My arguments that such trips are rare and have never happened before, fails to make much impact when I am leaving soon again for Dublin.

What's up with the stuffed puppy?

Stuffed puppy

It sits by my screen and is closest thing I've found to a "carewolf".

If someone visits your country, which spot is a must-see?

My fantastic new apartment.

Which book is on your bedside table?

Exile's Return by Raymond E. Feist

How would you describe yourself?

A good-looking and quick-thinking amazing dude, that does stupid things and makes a fool of himself all the time.

You're stuck on a train for 6 hours and are bored out of your skull. What do you do to amuse yourself?

I start solving a larger issue in KHTML by redesign.