Frerich Raabe

A Short Intro

  • Located in: Northern Germany
  • Occupation: Student
  • Nickname on IRC: frerich
  • Claim to Fame: I made people reconsider their view on 'const bool' and tend to build KDE around my app instead of doing it the other way round. Besides, I'm guilty for the news ticker applet and various other oddities in KDE ;-)
  • Fav. KDE applications: KNewsTicker, Fuzzy clock, Konqueror
  • Hardware: AMD Duron 700Mhz, 265MB RAM

The Interview

What is your role within KDE?

I don't have any specific role, I try to help wherever possible. :-)

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I've been wanting to join the KDE community for some months and somewhen (two months or so before Krash (KDE 1.89) was released) I managed to get into it. My first step was told help with the German KDE website (formerly http://www.kde.org/international/germany/, now http://www.kde.de/). Then I got into coding and my first source code contribution was a patch which made the email client configurable. After a few tweaks to the email client handling, I contributed the fuzzy clock mode to the clock applet. Now I'm the one to blame for KNewsTicker and try to adjust it to everybody's needs :-)

How much time do you spend on KDE?

Depends, if I have enough free time it's about 6h per day.

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


Is there a process you follow when you design/write code/translate/write documentation?

If I feel it's a difficult problem, I start developing by taking a bath. This usually frees my mind of every thought and gives me a good foundation. Then I usually put some nice music on, grab a few sheets of paper and a pencil, and start drawing boxes and connect them with lines (as it usually turns out, it's a hierarchy between the classes or something like that). Then it's the usual way: joining #kde to get some comments, reevaluating the design, and finally turning it into more or less buggy source code.

What was your first computer?

My first own computer was a i80386 with a 40MB harddisk. The first computer I used was a demo computer in a computer shop in Cuxhaven (the city I lived at back then). It had a dialup line and I accidentally discovered the FIDO net and various BBS's. After that day, I visited that shop every day, playing around with that computer all day long until the shop owners told me to go home ;-)

Which program would you say every KDE user should have?

XFree86, it's all no fun without it.

What application/game would you like to see ported to KDE?

FastTracker ][ and M.U.L.E.

Is there any unreleased/unrevealed stuff in your pipe? (New applications/technologies for developers, new icon sets/themes for artists, ...)

Nope, nothing. I use to commit all my stuff as soon as possible so that others can influence the development from the beginning.

If you were going to design desktop themes, what would your themes be like?

Smart - light blue, light green, gray. Almost no 3D effects, everything should be light, modern, slick.

Where do you see yourself and KDE 2 years from now?

I'll probably be studying something, hopefully still hacking on KDE in my free time. KDE will hopefully be a leading desktop environment next to Windows, Gnome, [your-favorite-DE-here].

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

I'm not paid to work on KDE.

What is your suggestion for the next KDE meeting? Where should it be held and when? Will you attend?

It should be in Germany, as I wouldn't have to travel that far and Germany is AFAICS the place with the highest KDE developer/km´┐Żconcentration ;-)

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

Accessibility, two of my best friends are blind and although they managed to handle Linux, KDE is still a big problem for them.

If you had to design a banner with a KDE slogan, what would it say?

"KDE - the news ticker with integrated desktop environment"

Who would you hire to play in a KDE commercial? And what would the scene be like?

I wouldn't like playing in a KDE commercial as I feel that a KDE commercial is a) misplaced and b) a contradiction.

Personal Questions

Where and when were you born?

Cuxhaven, Germany

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

19, I'd simply calculate age by measuring atomic decay of various radioactive substances (and the contained C14 atoms) in my body.

Who did you want to be when you grew up?

Guybrush Threepwood, perfect mixture between stupid, charming and successful.

Which University/School did you go to?

Technisches Gymnasium Wilhelmshaven.

Do you have children?


What is the first hour of your day like?

A suspicious mixture of guilty conscience and laziness.

What piece of (real or fantasy) software or electronic equipment would make your life easier?

A button which would bring all the 'stale' coffee cups on my desktop downstairs, clean them, and beam a refilled coffee cup right above my mousepad.

What is your most indispensable possession and why?

My glasses, the power button of my tower is so small that I might fail to find it without my glasses.

What is the best birthday present you could receive?

A present which I'm not given on my real birthday but a few weeks after, so that I don't expect it.

What was your favorite trip within your own region?

A trip to the beach in Dangast (a small village 40km from here). I had a BBQ with a few friends there, went swimming (without any clothes, naked that is - ooooh!) at 3am and woke up (with my clothes on, don't ask me when/how I did that) in a nearby bush at 10pm next morning :-)

What custom in your country, do you wish did not exist?

The bad habit of assuming that oneself is objective.

If someone plans on visiting your country, what special spot is a must-be?

The room of my sister, chaos theory in action.

Of all the places you've lived or visited, which was your favorite?


Would you want to live there?


What would you do if you had the time?

Finish reading that book about Zen.

What do you see from your window?

Mostly my face, because of those stupid reflections. Besides that, there are lots of trees, I'm living in a forest ;-)

What would go into your time capsule?

Assuming that I'd travel into the past, I'd take a piece of soap with me so that I could start the first soap company on earth, invent the merchandising, and become rich and influential. I must admit that I stole this idea from a book, though (does anybody remember the name? I don't :-/)

What would you do if you didn't have to be moral or honest for a day?

I would indent with spaces.

If you knew that the world would end tomorrow, what would you do today?

I would go and hack the main ntp servers on the planet so that they return yesterday's date...

If you could only take 3 people with you on a trip around the world, who would you take and why?

  1. My brother, because we share the same soul.
  2. Douglas Hofstadter, for interesting discussions on the long train trips.
  3. Arthur Dent, because traveling with him seems to be exciting.

We all know the No Smoking signs. If you could put an original "No ........." sign on your door, what would it say?

"No comment"

Name your favorite quote/saying.

"'s macht soviel Spass wie im Regen ein Schwarzbrot essen."