Andy Fawcett

A Short Intro

  • Age: 22 January 1965, Scunthorpe, United Kingdom
  • Located in: Helsinki, Finland
  • Occupation: Quality Engineer (Software)
  • Nickname on IRC: tap
  • Claim to Fame: Hmm, not so much fame, as infamy
  • Hardware: Athlon 1.4, 256MB, 80GB of drives, FreeBSD, Linux, and Windows

The Interview

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

I help out with the KDE-Edu project, doing testing, giving advice (I have some teaching experience), and maintaining some of the website. When we "went public" with the project, I somehow managed to coordinate getting the text in seven different languages, all in the space of a day, and for which I am very grateful to the poor fools^Wpeople on IRC who volunteered to translate.

What else do you do for KDE?

I've recently switched from using Linux to FreeBSD on my workstation, and I spend quite a lot of my time repeatedly rebuilding KDE3 to make sure it builds. If I find a compilation problem, I either fix it myself, or bug someone on IRC to fix it (hi Simon!). I've also done package testing for KDE 2.2.2 on FreeBSD, and I expect to do the same for future releases.

I've also done some proofreading for the documentation team, and from time to time I've been threatened with maintaining some of the important documentation.

Is there any unreleased stuff in your pipe?

There's the basis of an Edutainment program I really want to get round to writing for KDE. The basic design is done, but so far no code. I never seem to get round to starting it.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Heh, probably too much. Most evenings I do some work on the builds, and I am nearly always on IRC.

When did you first hear of KDE?

Hmm, I can't really remember exactly where, but it was at the time of KDE 1.0, probably just after it was released.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I started using it (on a 486 with 16MB of RAM), and just continued to upgrade the software as my hardware allowed. Once I moved to Finland, and got a fixed-rate net connection, I joined #koffice on IRC to ask a question. I got pointed to #kde, and somehow never left. People keep asking me to help out with things.

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

It's only since I got my current computer that I have been using CVS builds regularly, although I did install 1.93 (I think) from tarballs. I still have my KDE 2.2.2 installation as my main desktop. KDE CVS is almost always running in a second session though.

Make me bleed? Only when Konqi kept crashing while I was doing my online banking, but that is fixed now.

What is your favourite KDE application?

KMail. Can't live without my email fix ;)

What is missing badly in KDE?

Project Management software. (I'm also a sometimes Project Manager at work).

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

I would have to say the Edutainment section. The whole team have worked really hard to get some quality applications ready in time for KDE3. And thanks have to go to the developers who brought their existing applications into the project, it has been a great morale boost for the whole team, knowing they are part of something that is very much wanted.

Make a suggestion to promote KDE.

Hmmm... Difficult one that. I've never been very good at promoting things, I'd rather leave that to people who know what they are doing.

Anything that focuses on KDE's strength - the diverse community.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

No, unfortunately.

Recommend a good book about computing that should be a must read for every aspiring new developer and that isn't on the KDE Books page.

Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll. It's not about programming, but it does show that sometimes you have to be devious to succeed in your task. It's an entertaining read about chasing network hackers.

According to Linus Torvalds, 95 percent of all software developers believe they are in the top 5 percent when it comes to knowledge and skills. Where are you?

Bottom 5%. Bottom 1% probably. I am 'brash' on IRC as a way of fighting a self-confidence problem :)

If you were a KDE app, which one would you be? Why?

AMOR. Fun for a start, but after a while it gets on your nerves ;)

What does your desktop look like?

Loaded with CDs that need sorting at the moment. A real mess!

What is your favourite KDE Game?

Shisen-Sho. I spend *hours* playing it.

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 resolution is your monitor?

1400x1050, but soon to be replaced with something a bit better, I like large screens.

Is your KDE 'mom-proof'? (can your mom use KDE?)

My mum hasn't ever seen my KDE, so I wouldn't know. It's "me" proof some days though ;)

What's the app you most want to write?

Anything good enough to be part of KDE, but hopefully my Edu application.

What was your first computer?

Oh, an easy question at last. Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k.

Personal Questions

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

I have a partner, Lotta, who is a Swedish-speaking Finn (Finlandssvenska). Adoption? Better ask my girlfriend if that is allowed.

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

I think she sometimes gets annoyed by the amount of time I spend at my computer but she is really good about it. She uses KDE too, on her own PC.

Do you have children?

No. Not yet.

What's your favourite board game?


What is under your bed?

Erm, I'll check...

Mattress for the sun-lounger, some socks that appear to have not made it as far as the laundry basket, and a couple of books.

Do you have pets? Names? URL to photo's?

We have three cats. There's Zappa, a large ginger and white tomcat, Tooti, who is small grey and female, and there is Luna, who is a completely white female.

What are your addictions?

Ugh. Cigarettes (I wish I could quit) and my computer (I can't quit that!)

What's for breakfast?

Usually some sort of cereal, or toast, or like many people in this country an open sandwich made with fresh bread and cheese and meat.

There's a complete power cut and the batteries in your laptop are flat. What do you do?

I'd find a real life. I don't have a laptop just so I do leave the keyboard from time to time.

What is the strangest person you ever met?

A professor at my university. He brought a whole new meaning to "eccentric".

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

Well, my country is the UK, I would say "lots of it", because it has some really beautiful areas. My adopted country is Finland, but I've not explored it too much yet. What I have seen of it is beautiful though.

Do you have a hobby, other than working on KDE?

Reading. I could represent my country at the reading Olympics.

You are going to be permanent exiled from your country tomorrow. You can take 3 things with you, what will they be?

I'm already in exile, although self-imposed. If I was exiled from here, I'd take a stock of Finnish bread (it is fantastic), some suntan lotion (I want to be exiled somewhere *hot*), and a supply of good books to read on the beach.

What's your favourite childhood book?

Eeek, I can't remember that far back!

When I was about 9, I read one of the James Bond books by Ian Fleming, I think it was the first, "Casino Royale", and they became an addiction over the next year or so.

Do you read the comics in the newspaper? Or watch cartoons on tv? What's your favorite comic or cartoon character? URL?

Cartoons here in Finland are usually dubbed into Finnish, which would be okay except I only speak a few words. One exception is the Dilbert TV show.

If you had to nominate one person for sainthood, who would it be?

Lauri Watts. How she puts up with stubborn developers I cannot understand.

What is the most difficult question you could be asked?

"<Tink> tap: wanna do an interview?"

Give us one favourite (non-searchengine/non-tech/non-Linux/non-KDE) URL.


Coke or Pepsi?

Shower or Bath?

Pizza or Hamburger?

Cremation or Burial?

Ferrari or Mercedes?

Tea or Coffee?

Emacs or Vi?

Baywatch or Discovery Channel?
Discovery Channel.

Sandals or Sneakers?
Sneakers (Trainers, I'm a Brit!)

Bike or Car?

Skis or Surfboard?

Disco/dancing or Bar?

Pyjama's or not?

Beach or Mountains?

Blond or Dark?

Beer or Wine?

Spaces or Tabs?