Claudiu Costin

A Short Intro

  • Located in: Bucharest, Romania
  • Occupation: Systems Administrator & Project Manager
  • Claim to Fame: The Romanian translation of KDE and the http://www.ro.kde.org/ web site
  • Fav. KDE applications: Konqueror
  • Hardware: Cyrix 266, 64M, video Matrox Mystique, HDD 4.3G

The Interview

What is your role within KDE?

Romanian translation work and i18n.kde.org technical administration.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

At the end of 1998, I realized I hated the situation that forced me to use proprietary software. Since then, passing through rather big pains, I tried to get rid of any need for Windows and other software that I wasn't able to pay for. At this point, Linux, an older acquaintance, became my best friend. In March 1999, I obtained KDE-1.1.1 and I hugely liked it, especially the idea that I had the code and I was able to change it to my will. When I saw how easy I could modify visible strings thus being able to do translations, I started to translate KPackage 1.2. Toivo Pedaste encouraged me a lot and so the translation of documentation followed.

How much time do you spend on KDE?

3-6 hours a day. But there are times when I work nothing or even 10 hours.

What is your favorite tool? (for developers; what is your favorite editor?)

Kbabel. It's a very nice tool for translators. I can't imagine administrating over 24000 PO messages without it.

Is there a process you follow when you code?

I don't believe I have some special method. I do what everybody else supposedly does: I find a thing needing to be done/completed and I simply do it.

What was your first computer?

My first contact with computers was in 1987 with a Tim-S (a Romanian clone of the famous Sinclair Spectrum computers based on the ZX80 chip). I only had it 30 minutes per week at work, so at home I did draw a keyboard on paper. With this, I was training my fingers to write my programs so that I could be very productive in those 30 minutes and thus have time to debug my programs too. Oftenly, this trick didn't help me :). In 1992, while I was at the university, a student offered to sell to me an IBM XT @ 8MHz with one 360K FDD. I've also got a hand of 20-30 floppies (infected with viruses) and a French DOS 3.2. Using DOS "debug", I disassembled the the BadSector1.2 virus and then successfully cleaned my programs manually. The rest is history.

Which program would you say every KDE user should have?

Users have no choice :) Konqueror is an I-can't-live-without-it tool.

Where do you see yourself and KDE 5 years from now?

Well, my thoughts are that Windows will collapse under out-of-control development. I predict a 30-40% Linux and KDE (and Gnome) market share by 2003. 2005? I think it's useless to make such long predictions. Whatever we'd say, we'd be proven wrong.

Are you being paid to work for KDE and if yes by who?

No. I was so impressed with the work of such a high quality that others did for nothing, that I decided to respond with same kind of work, both for KDE and Linux.

Personal Questions

Where and when were you born?

In March 17, 1973 I was born in a little town in the Romanian county Prahova. Its name is Urlati (in English this could mean "Scream!").

Which University/School did you go to?

I graduated the Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications of the "Politechnica" University in Bucharest, Romania.

What's your status, are you single and up for adoption?

I'm married for 8 years and I have the best marriage one can imagine.

If married/girlfiend/partner(m/f), how does he/she cope living with a KDE addict?

My wife often helps me with translations, bad spelling in Romanian and so on. She doesn't like computers very much, but she supports me on every KDE and Linux project I build, even when she has heavy work time, like this year.

Do you have children?

Yes, my boy is 7 years old, his name is Claudiu (like me :) and he just begun primary school.

Do you have pets?

Yes, a hamster. Her name is Kitti.

What is your favorite food?

Oh, I like food in general :-). I specially like a meat salad that is rather specific to romanian cuisine. In the summer I like to enchant my senses with fresh cheese and fresh tomatoes, freshly reaped. I also like a lot the tomato soup like we prepare it in my county and with freshly baked bread from my birth town, Urlati. Rather interesting is the fact that while I eat I like to also read something that captivates me, like some Linux security book :-).

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Sorry, no holidays here, I couldn't tell. If I get a bit of free time, I then rely on my computer to get enough relaxation.

What do you (and your s.o) like to do in your sparetime?

I work on KDE. My first passion was electronics, but there is only so much time in a day.

What was the last movie you have seen?

It's been a long time since we have gone to the movies. We find them violent, obscene and senseless. I still keep a fond memory of Star Wars (the first three episodes). The last part of this series is a letdown, though.

What was the last fiction book that your have read?

I don't read fiction anymore, since at least eight years. I started to consider them useless and illogic. I read books that have a correspondent in reality and that don't promote religious hatred.

What songs do you sing in the shower?

I don't sing at all. Well, perhaps a little, but only when I'm at work on my computer.

You are having a BBQ in your backyard and you're allowed to invite 3 famous people who would you invite and why?

Though question. I don't really pay attention to so called famous people and I refrain myself from making idols from certain people (be them film stars or famous programmers).

Is your best friend (no family) a real person or an on-line one?

God. God always helped me and my family in miraculous ways.

Did you ever met a fellow KDE'r in person, when and where?

No, I didn't have the pleasure yet. I hope in the future to meet as many as possible. Anyways, meanwhile I enjoy meeting them on the mailing lists and I admire the excellent good sense of the persons that work in the KDE project.