Celeste Lyn Paul

A Short Intro

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

I participate in the KDE Usability Project as well as am a member of the HCI Working Group. Currently I am working on the KDE4 Human Interface Guidelines and have been known to give my $0.02(USD) about the K-Menu.

When did you first hear of KDE?

Through a friend of mine at university who introduced me to Linux in 1999. A year or so later he was raving about KDE 2.0 when it was released. I also have a few friends who are 'K-heads' and have been using it for years.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I was looking for extra activities when I made the transition from working-life back to college-life for graduate school and wanted to participate in OSS. A friend of mine had contributed a bit through KDE Women and pointed me towards the project. I trolled the kde-usability mailing list for a while, but made my first 'real' contribution 2 years ago this August when I published my KHangMan usability report.

What was your most recent commit to KDE?

Probably an update to the KDE Usability website. Non-SVN commits would be design documents following the KDE4 Human Interface Guidelines design process along with my usual comments on blogs and mailing lists.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

No, but they do sponsor me to go to meetings in some pretty cool places. My company also allows me to travel for such things without impacting my vacation time (which is short and coveted in the United States), so in a way it supports KDE as well.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

That depends on the week and how much work and school stuff I have going on. It could be as few as 5 if I am really busy or as many as 20. The little hours are taken up by reading emails, monitoring mailing lists, and popping in IRC. The big hours are usually spent working on presentations or papers concerning KDE.

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

Definitely Plasma, they are doing some really cool stuff code-wise and are dedicated to improving the user experience and evolving the desktop as we know it.

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

S/MIME doesn't seem to work very well with KMail at the moment, and I think there could be a better abstraction of security/privacy in KDE applications in general. That is something that I have been meaning to get more involved with once the HIG is a more distributed project.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Three letters: H I G

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

Love for the community and the project and the fact that it is a hobby. Hobbies can sometimes be frustrating and its nice I can take a day or a week off from the world and come back with a fresh mind. You can't do that with a regular job, and that can start to wear on you. KDE allows me to take a step back and return with a fresh mind.

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

I see Linux a lot in my country because I know where to look, however it is predominantly Gnome. KDE is much more used in Academia than in Industry, but that is OK because I think KDE is much better suited for early adopters and home users rather than corporate offices (IMO)s.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

Out of habit I use VI[M] any time I have a shell in plain site. I've been using Kate a little more, more for coding HTML than for taking notes. I'm not sure why, but it was one of those things in college I used to fight with my friends with.

Viva Vi!

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Kubuntu! It really is the ultimate home-user's distribution and I have always liked the Debian package manager (and KDE is too hard to keep up to date in FreeBSD, sorry Fruit Salad).

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

Kontact hands down. I am such a disorganised person, but I actually use most of the PIM applications. There certainly is room for usability improvement, but I think KDE PIM is one of the strongest collections of applications available for average users.

What makes you develop for KDE instead of the competition?

KDE has a great community and a ton of talented developers. There is a love for innovation and technology I don't see in many places, and I want to help KDE do some great things in the future. I also have strong ties to OpenUsability who is very involved in KDE usability.

What does your desktop look like?

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

Rarae is my desktop (an ancient Dell I inherited from a friend), Straylight is my laptop (a Fujitsu subnotebook.. so small!).

If you were shipwrecked and had to share an island with a KDE contributor who would it be?

Oh gosh I don't know, they're all so wonderful. Probably Ellen, Aaron, or Zack -- only because they're vegetarian and I know they won't eat me ;-P

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

Somehow convincing developers that usability is important during the development cycle and getting invited to the KDE4 Core meeting. There was a lot of great work there, and it was valuable face time between the Human-Computer Interaction Working Group members and the developers. From a 'status' point of view, it is encouraging to see how far KDE usability has come -- from getting presentation time at Akademy, to the inception of the HCI working group, to collaboration on the technical level. The project has done so well technically and socially over the past few years, I can't wait to see what we can accomplish for KDE4.

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

I'm terrible with names and I have a hard time remembering them for everyone I meet. I also have this thing about internet handles -- I am much more likely to remember your nickname than your real name. Many of the KDE developers use variations of their real names, which doesn't make it stick. My geek friends and I will call each other by our nick names when were out in public, some people are not comfortable with that.

Are you going to Akademy in Ireland this year?

No, unfortunately it is late in the year and I have graduate school QQ :(

Personal Questions

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

Taken by my very first convert to Linux!

If you have a partner or children, how do they cope with a KDE addict?

He compensates by playing World of Warcraft while I work.

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

The United States is such a big country. If you visit Washington, D.C., it is worth looking at the monuments and going to the free Smithsonian museums.

Which book is on your bedside table?

I just finished Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, and need to pick up the next book Broken Angels. This is in between the stack of text books and research papers I keep up on for work and class. I keep track of the books I read on my blog.

Who or what in your life would you say influenced you most?

I would say my parents. Growing up, they always said I could be whatever I wanted to be (doctor, artist, bum on the street) if I tried hard enough. I definitely have a lazy streak in me, and remembering that makes me motivated to get out there and do something like work with KDE and make it the best damn desktop environment out there!

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?

Linux Torvalds, he is a realist, understands how the industry and real world works, and is concerned with making progress and not setting precedent.

I recently heard RMS speak at a conference, my most memorable quote from him was "I would rather have no software than closed software". Although you have to admire how strongly he believes in his causes, I prefer a more practical approach to free/open information. Some progress is better than no progress.

How would you describe yourself?

That is such a hard question, I encourage you to ask others about me instead.

What do you get passionate about?

J. and computers and food and wine and chocolate and tea... mmmm.

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

I suppose I don't have any of the toys I usually carry with me since I'm bored out of my skull. If J. was there I'd probably sing a song and try to annoy the piss out of him. Otherwise I'd probably just fall asleep.

What is your favourite t-shirt?

As of lately I think it would be a black University of Maryland LUG T-shirt I asked them to special order me (because a. I am not a UMD student and b. they did not plan to order 'girl' t-shirts). It is a typical Linux T-shirt with an ASCII Tux on the back. Kawaii ^_^

What is your favourite place in the world?

There is no place like home *clicks heels three times*.