Helio Chissini de Castro

A Short Intro

  • Located in: Curitiba, PR, Brazil
  • Occupation: System Analyst, Developer
  • Nickname on IRC: heliocastro (sometimes "siglunch")

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

The first time I took on KDE, I got Ark maintainership. After that I started packaging Conectiva Linux independent packages. Today I work on KMix, solve a bug, or another time I try to see what's happening with Ark (since I plan to pass maintainership to the other new guys :-).

On a non developer basis, I got the task to be the primary contact on South America and the personal task to annoy some guys of core KDE from time to time... :-)

And of course, I work hard on PR to show KDE to the Brazilian masses.

When did you first hear of KDE?

Back on 1999, I was working on a project for a large Telecom company, using UNIX HP-UX workstations. I was really unsatisfied with CDE environments, and since I had everything needed on hand ( i.e. ultra fast internet connection and compiler set tools ), I decided was time to get something better, so after 3 days, KDE 1 was up and running, which made every other guy at the devel team amazed, since they never touched any open source tools before.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

It was Roberto Teixeira ("Maragato") that introduced me to the KDE team. He was dropping Ark and moving to KNode, so I thought it was an interesting thing to start on and got the task. That was around 2001, I think.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

In certain ways, yes, since I'm the main Conectiva packager and distro desktop related things. And Conectiva are a proudly KDE main based distro.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Less than I really would like today. In the past I spent at least 3 hours a day on KDE, but expect have some spare time soon.

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

Well, Multimedia is quite a religious thing. New things like Amarok, or Kaffeine are placed in a same level like xmms or even old players. It's kind of "just another player". The point is that this tools are a lot more than this, and since modern users "think" multimedia, like see videos, listen music during work/chat talks as a usual basis, this area should have more present on frontends. For an example, Rosegarden is an amazing tool that a few people know, and this one could benefit many music students.

But, for now, we need more kde-edu publicity. Children are the most important public that we want improve, no?

What do you think is still missing badly in KDE?

The big homework is to do good PR. KDE has an excellent framework for application development and constantly delivers many goodies. In other platforms, the same goodies are still promised, and reloaded.

What are your future plans for KDE?

  • New KMix features (I got some interesting ideas from kalsatools and some pro-mixers, and of course some users reports)
  • Be more present in bug fixing
  • Help in the KDE adoption by Brazilian government
  • Start do same PR job I did in Brazil expanding to Latin American governments

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

My love for seeing beautiful work. And if you contribute, there's no way not to become passionate about it.

And I love coding (when got time to do it), did you see other most creative and well code disciplined environments than KDE?

A hot item at the moment is software integration, what's your opinion about that subject with regard to KDE?

Is obviously necessary. is doing the job very well. I go far and beyond, I was glad to have Havoc Pennington at the last KDE conference, since he is a reasonable guy and makes us more secure about integrations (at least me), unlike some other GNOME PR guys..

Which application would you like to see integrated in KDE and how would you achieve that?

This always comes as a joke, but I really love a full "Kimp" (Zack around??). Gimp is a terribly good application, one of the best ones in open source, and even with their GTK widget set, they do well. If a fully integrated Kimp appears, it would be a must for KDE.

Novell acquired Ximian in August for about 20 million. Do you regret not starting your own KDE company? If so what's stopping you?

Unless you have a dream job, everyone in this environment thought one day about creating their own startup. But reasonable people know better when is the time and when is not. And talking about Brazil, we have to be carefully to decide these things.

What is your favorite widget style?

Plastik at this moment.

What does your desktop look like?

If you were a KDE app, which one would you be? Why?

KDevelop... Knows to handle all possible programming languages :-)

Which of your family members do not use KDE and why not?

Well, I'm the only guy in my family with KDE. My brother is beginning to move on Linux.

Do you socialize with any other KDE contributors?

Here at Brazil yes, mainly with Roberto. Would socialize more with foreign guys, but is a bit far (and expensive) to travel to another continent :-)

If you had to be stuck in a lift/elevator with a KDE contributor who would it be?

Waldo Bastian, of course. I really could learn a lot about KDE and development from him. (Dirk Mueller could be a choice too, but he is quite a silent guy :-))

What was/is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

Don't remember... ;-0

What the latest gadget you bought?

A Sony Ericsson Z600 cell phone (my first one, I was forced to buy a cell phone this time).

Personal Questions

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

Nope, single guy with a busy day...

If you have a partner, how does he/she copes with a KDE addict?

Nope again. But if I would have a partner, she certainly will take on computers!

Do you have children?


Do you have pets? Names? URL to photos?

Just plush inanimated pets (many penguins) :-)

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

Is hard to tell. Everyone comes to Brazil with Rio de Janeiro or even Bahia in mind. I live in the south, which is a beautiful region, much like Europe (people around have european origin), and we have some paradise beaches and beautiful fields too. I think Florianópolis, in the neighbor state is the must-see for me...

Which book is on your bedside table?

Reading again "Island on the Net" from Bruce Sterling

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

Mom, no need to say more.

Who do you admire? Why?

Brazilian people. Most Brazilians live with several economic problems and lack of money. They are a poor people. Besides that, they still have a smile on their face and get a "no one knows wheres come" force to move on.

How would you describe yourself?

Fatter than usual today :-)

The rest I skip... :-)

What do you get passionate about?

Computers, Electronic Music, Movies and Food...

What does "success" mean to you?

Have enough for a good life.

People spend their entire life making efforts to have more and more money, and forget to live...

What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?

My graduation. (Personal reasons)
Being invited to be godfather of a personal friend soon.

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

Gameboy when my notebook battery runs out...

Which T.V. show world would you fit right into?

Keen Eddie (it's a pitty that ended) or Stargate SG-1

Which's slogan T-shirt' would you most likely wear -if you HAD to wear one that is?

"I don't believe in Gnome", with a green small creature stamp on it :-)

Among your friends, you are best known for ...?

Helio it is. Never had a nickname

Your favorite place to be is: ......?

Hard to say, sometime my mom's city where I lived my youth, sometimes my home at Curitiba.

What's your favorite web site at the moment?

Hey, why exclude Slashdot ? :-) Ok. So I need pick one, it is

What is the most difficult question you could be asked?

I don't know. Maybe no one did it yet :-)

What's your signature at the moment?

Simple one,
Helio Chissini de Castro
KDE Project Brasil/South America, Primary Contact.