Frank Reininghaus

Frank Reininghaus

  Name: Frank Reininghaus
  Age: 33
  Location: Aachen, Germany
  Project: Dolphin

Frank is the new maintainer of Dolphin, the default file manager of KDE's Plasma Workspace. In this interview he shares how he got this role, his future plans with Dolphin and his motivation for this work.

Please tell us a little about yourself

I’m 33 years old, and I live in Aachen, Germany.

What do you do for a living?

I work as a physicist at RWTH Aachen University. After I got my Ph.D. in theoretical physics a couple years ago, I spent some time teaching math and physics at a school, but I decided that teaching at university and doing research is more fun.

What do you do for KDE?

I maintain Dolphin and try to keep it in good shape. Moreover, I have contributed patches to some other parts of KDE, mostly kdelibs and Konqueror.

How did you get started contributing to KDE?

I have been a KDE user since about 2001. A few years later, I became interested in contributing to a free software project, but I couldn’t really find a good point to get started until 2008, when I took part in two Konqueror bug days organized by the Bugsquad. Working in a team to clean up the bug database and to find reproducible and easy steps to trigger a bug was a very nice way to get to know the applications better, and also to get in touch with other people working on KDE. After the second bug day, I found the root cause of a bug that looked not too difficult to fix. I dug into the code and came up with my first patch.

After that, I became interested in file management and started to triage incoming Dolphin bug reports. After my first Dolphin bug fix, I quickly found out that the code is very nicely written and that it’s fun to work with Peter Penz, the original author and past maintainer. I continued to go through bug reports and fix bugs, and when Peter decided to end his work on Dolphin, I took over maintainership from him.

How much time do you spend working on KDE?

It’s hard to tell, but I would guess it’s about an hour per day on average. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I spend this time reading and writing bug report comments (I receive up to 50 mails from bugs.kde.org per day), reviewing patches, and working on code.

What keeps you motivated?

It feels good to work on an application that is used by many people every day. And it’s fun to work with other people to make Dolphin better!

What are some of your future goals for your involvement with KDE?

Preserving and improving Dolphin’s stability is very important for me because I think that this is what users appreciate most about an application. I also want to make Dolphin more attractive for potential new contributors. Working in a team, discussing patches and finding the best solution for a problem together is much more fun than doing it all alone. So if you're interested in helping Dolphin development, this blogpost will get you started.

The KDE 4.9.1 release actually contains some nice bug fixes that are the result of the joint effort of quite a few people. I hope that this will be the case for all future releases.

What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of KDE?

I like travelling, hiking, spending time with friends, and running. I even ran two marathons, but that was a couple of years ago. I’m not sure if I would be able to do it again today.

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