Christian Couder

A Short Intro

  • Age: Made in Marseille (like Zidane) on July 27, 1970
  • Located in: Asnières (suburbs north of Paris)
  • Occupation: Open Source Software Engineer (it's written on my business card).
  • Nickname on IRC: None (don't use it)
  • Claim to Fame: Small stuff for QtDesigner integration in KDevelop (not long or difficult but hopefully useful).
  • Hardware: 500 MHz Athlon with 380 MB RAM.

The Interview

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

I work on kdevelop and/or kate/kwrite when I have some time, feel like it's a good time to work on it, don't loose too much time compiling kdelibs or kdebase.

What else do you do for KDE?

I also sometimes work on the kdevelop web site.

Is there any unreleased stuff in your pipe?

Yes, I started working on Eiffel language support in KDevelop 3.0 (alias Gideon).

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Only a few hours per week, unfortunately.

When did you hear of KDE first?

Around 1998-1999. KDE was a good reason (though not the only one) to start using Linux, because I was a professional C++ developer (since 1996) and I thought it would be very cool to work on a free C++ desktop and free C++ apps.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I got involved in KDevelop at the end of 1999, it was a dream for me to be able to work on a C++ IDE...

When did you start to use KDE on a daily basis?

Around September 1999 at home. And then I was hired by Alcove in January 2000, so I used it daily at work too since that time.

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

Most of the time I use the leading edge KDE, but I still have a stable one too on another partition, just in case.

What is your favorite editor?

XEmacs though I also use KDevelop! Because it's very easy to use both at the same time. They are still not integrated together, but it's one of the goals for KDevelop 3.0, and anyway KDevelop is very smart so it's very safe to use both.

What is your favorite tool?

KDevelop of course.

What is your favorite KDE application?

Did I mentioned KDevelop?

What is missing badly in KDE?

KDevelop 3.0 (currently in development, codename gideon) with all its planned features and also Eiffel language bindings for Qt and KDE.

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

When kids will use KDE and Linux at school and learn about the Free Software philosophy there.

In fact in my job I can see more and more companies using more and more Free Software, so I have no doubt that eventually Free Software will prevail in their systems and on their desktop too. But, I don't see this as the ultimate goal...

I had no time until now to look at the kde-edu project, but I hope I will be able to help in this area too.

What was the worst thing KDE did to you?

It made me spend a lot of time compiling kdelibs, kdebase, kdenetwork and so on. I didn't dare to ask because I don't work on the "kore" of KDE, but I think something will have to be done about this (after KDE 3 probably).

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

It would be pretty bad because I am not at all an artist. But in case there is an artist listening, I think a good idea would be a "code" theme with a lot of highlighted code on the windows border and so on...

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

I think KDevelop and Kate/Kwrite are underrated, though KDevelop got a few awards recently and its users like it very much.

KDevelop is a great achievment because none of the people working on KDevelop is payed to work on it. Some companies let sometimes one of its employees work on it, or subsidies work on a small part of it. (For example my company, Alcove, let me sometimes work on it.) But most of the work on KDevelop is done as a hobby by the developers or the users and KDevelop can still compete very well with all the commercial IDE.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

Alcove is a service provider specialized in Free Software and its policy is to give time when possible to its employees to work on free software projects. So sometimes at work between 2 missions, I hack on KDevelop. But a big part of my work on KDevelop or Kate done as a hobby at home.

I think more companies should understand that its a good think to give a little time to their employees to work on some free software projects. It gives them a moral boost, and it makes them learn about and improve the tool they use, so that they are eventually more productive.

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

I don't know where and when is the next KDE meeting.

The next meeting I will attend will be probably the Linux Expo in Paris in January or February.

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

I hope KDE will be in some school and many companies. And I hope more companies will find it useful to pay some developers for KDE developement instead of only using what is available for free.

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

I usually don't like commercials so I cannot really be creative to find a plot for one.

Anyway I think the word of mouth, the friendly community, the cool open websites and the GPL license are the best commercials we have.

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

I would perhaps try an online translator to get an idea about what it is and then either reply in English or find someone else to answer.

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

I think the KPart component system is the greatest feature, but we need more time to make many good components that can work well together and to split big applications like KDevelop into components and to define good interfaces between components. I hope that after KDE 3 we will have more time to improve in this area.

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

KDE is on the front line I think. Even Linus himself said that the most important developments now were on the desktop.

And I think a good free IDE (as well as a good free office suite) can be a big plus on the KDE side.

What was your first computer?

A Thomson MO5, 16 years ago.

Personal Questions

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

I am just married to Cécile as you can guess from the photo.

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

When we met and got together, she knew that I was a computer addict.

I suppose that's why its not too bad.

Do you have children?

Not yet, but it can happen soon...

How many siblings do you have?

2 young brothers. One is a helicopter pilot in the french navy and the other one is building railway infrastructure for high speed trains in Taiwan.

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

I grew up in Normandy where it rains a lot so I had time to get interested in computers and programming languages.

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

Fortunately my wife is very good at cooking, and like it very much, cooking so I don't have to resort to such fast fuel. Anyway I really like italian food, like pasta and pizza so Cécile often cook some excellent italian or mediterannean food and we sometimes drink some wine with it.

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?

I like to be surprised by new food so I will try at random.

Do you cook yourself? If so, what?

I sometimes propose Cécile to cook but she prefers doing it, because she likes doing it and she doesn't want to eat pasta too often... ;-)

Who does the dish washing at your home?

The machine. It probably saved us a lot of disputes.

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

Yes, that was "Wasabi", a few weeks ago. It's a comedy with Jean Reno playing a hard cop going to Japan where he finds he has a daughter. It's not a very good film but sometimes quite funny.

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

Not much interesting stuff, we have a car, a small flat, a few computers for me and too many plants for Cécile. These plants are growing so fast, that they are taking more and more vital space from my computers on our small living room!

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

I am not good for quoting especially fiction books. (Perhaps that's why I use very small signatures). Though I sometimes read a lot of fiction, especially science fiction.

I like SF because it often gives a good feeling of freedom.

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

No, because I don't feel like they need to be organized.

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

When nobody is listening I sing what I hear at the radio or what I just heard if it gets well with my current mood. When people are listening I don't dare singing because it would be too awful for them.