Inge Wallin

A Short Intro

  • Age: 43
  • Located in: Linköping, Sweden
  • Occupation: M.Sc in Computer Science, Software developer, trainer, co-founder and former CEO of Cendio AB
  • Nickname on IRC: ingwa
  • Claim to Fame:
    • KDE Games: KReversi, KPoker, Konquest, KPat
    • KDE-Edu: some bug fixing
    • KOffice: KChart maintainer and KOffice marketing dude
  • Fav. KDE applications:
    • Most used: Konqueror and Kontact
    • Amusement: KPat and KLines (high score: 924. Beat that!)
  • Blog: http://ingwa2.blogspot.com/

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

Since I come from a games background - I was a long time contributor to GNU Go - I started out in kdegames. I fixed a number of bugs in KPoker, KReversi, KPat, Konquest and for some time was the maintainer of KReversi. Then I drifted over to kdeedu and helped out a little there.

For some reason I started to work with KOffice and since KChart was abandoned I fixed a number of bugs there and then took over maintainership of that application. I also did some work on KSpread.

I think what I'm best known for is that I'm the marketing dude for KOffice, and always try to come up with things that will make people more aware of it. My first coup, and still the one that I like the most, was the open letter to Alan Yates of Microsoft, which was part of the debate when Massachussetts decided to use OpenDocument as their document standard. You can read it here. It even made an appearance on Slashdot and a lot of other tech sites.

When did you first hear of KDE?

No idea. A long time ago.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

As with many other developers, I wanted to program for KDE for a long time before I actually sat down and did it. Even though I knew C++ pretty well, it was still a big hurdle for me to get over to learn Qt, kdelibs, and set up a build environment with CVS. I think we could do better in this regard, with a packaged daily development snapshot that can simply be downloaded and copied.

What was your most recent commit to KDE?

I think it was a cleaning patch for KChart, but I'm not sure. Due to some unfortunate events in my life this last year, I haven't had as much time as before to do hacking, and I can't seem to find the energy to really submerge myself into the code. I really hope that I'll get that back soon.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

No. I work at Cendio AB, a company that sells a thin client software for Linux, and I try to promote KDE as the best desktop. On the other hand, we try to be agnostic, so I can't really say that I'm being paid to work on KDE, and definitely not to develop it.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Does IRC count? :-) Somewhere between 5 and 20 hours a week, I would say, but that varies a lot.

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

KDE-Edu. It has a really large potential, and I know this since we sell a lot of ThinLinc systems to schools. Almost all of them use the KDE-Edu applications. (ThinLinc is our product - try it out! :-))

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

We get a lot of our problems from large installations. I think a much better kiosktool is needed for KDE to become the easy-to-manage desktop that it can be. Integration with other large-scale infrastructure components like E-directory, Zenworks, Tivoli and the like wouldn't hurt either.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Not particularly, but for KOffice 2! KOffice 2.0 will hopefully be released around the same time as KDE 4, and it will feature a lot of new stuff. And most importantly, it will remove almost all of the fundamental weaknesses of KOffice 1.6: It will have great ODF support, very good text rendering, and be portable to Windows and Mac OS X.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

The great community and the hope that for once the best technology might win.

What chances do you see in your country for KDE as a desktop platform?

Since we (Cendio) are already helping to put KDE on thousands of school childrens' desktops, I think they are great!

Which text editor do you use? Why?

Emacs, of course, because it's the best. I'm a professional, so I use real tools, not amateur stuff like vi or Kate. :-)

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Mostly Fedora and for historical reasons. When I founded Signum, as Cendio was known then in 1992, we soon started selling the Yggdrasil Linux distribution. Then, when they folded, we went to Red Hat, and have always been more familiar with that. At this time it seems that SUSE/Novell is doing a better job on the desktop so there might be reason to switch. Kubuntu is not half bad either.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

Now: Kontact and Konqueror

Soon: KOffice :-)

What does your desktop look like?

See the picture. Note the not one, but two(!) ThinLinc sessions that I'm running, each with 4 virtual desktops, and lots of tabs in my konsoles. I'm very parallel.

What makes you contribute to KDE instead of the competition?

Better technology, less pain.

If you were shipwrecked and had to share an island with a KDE contributor who would it be?

Difficult question. At the last Akademy, I hung out a lot with Aaron Seigo and Sander Koning. They are both fun in different ways. Sander has a mean frisbee forehand. I've also had a lot of fun discussions online with Jes Hall. In the end, I guess it comes down to who has the best survival skills.

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

I don't know if I have any particularly brilliant programming hacks. My most public stunt is probably the open letter to Microsoft mentioned above.

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

Heh, luckily I don't think I have a very embarrassing KDE moment either. Perhaps somebody will disagree and comment on this article. :-)

Will you be going to Akademy in Glasgow this year?


Personal Questions

First things first. Married, partner or up for adoption?

Something as uncommon in the Open Source world as divorced. I guess that makes me up for adoption.

Do you have any children or pets?

2 children: Markus, age 9 and Emma, age 7.

Which book is on your bedside table?

Too many (it overflows). I think I have "The Inmates are Running the Asylum" - a book on UI design, a couple of Eddings fantasy novels, Strategic Selling (bet I'm alone to have that one!), some Swedish novels by Jan Guillou.

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

My parents, of course, but other than that: to have children and starting my own company.

Is your best friend from the physical or online world?

The physical world. As much as I like to chat online, relationships there seem to be not as deep and long as in the physical world.

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?

Richard Stallman because he has influenced the whole computer industry very deeply, but Linus if I have to spend a lot of time with the person. I have met them both, and like them both but in different ways.

How would you describe yourself?

An entrepreneur. My motto is 'Go for it!' and I try to live by that.

What would you do more of if you had the time?

More of the same, I think. I like my life in most ways.

What do you see from your window?

A parking lot, since I'm at work. At home, it would be trees. It is also nightime, so a picture would be boring.

What do you get passionate about?

Building things. It doesn't matter if it's something physical, a skill or something immaterial like a program. My biggest project during the last 5 years is to build on my Aikido skills, and now it looks like I'll be able to make Shodan in October this year.

What does "success" mean to you?

I like Jaroslaw Staniek's answer: "Doing what you like more frequently than doing what you're forced to do."

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time?? I used to dreeeam of having spare time...

Well, I spend time with my kids, and when I can I go train Aikido. I used to do a lot of dancing, but haven't done a lot of that for a few years. That's something I miss, actually, and would love to take up again.

What is your favourite place in the world?

I like a lot of places, but Sweden is totally awesome, except in the deep winter. I think I'll pick my home town because of all my friends here.