Ingo Malchow

This interview is with Ingo Malchow. He is already famous within the forum administrators and is one of the latest additions to the kde sysadmin team. In this interview you will meet the person whose hobby is the same as his day job, the one who adjusts the color of the sky in his dreams by means of a stylesheet and the one who can smell an ugly font from 10 clicks distance. By the way, he single-handedly created this site in the past week, and filled it with the contents of the past years. Enjoy!

Can you give an introduction of yourself?

I am Ingo Malchow (mostly known as neverendingo on irc), one of the original founders of the KDE Forums, I am a bit over 30 years old, and can't really tell what I like. It's much :)

Can you tell us what you do for a living?

I do webdesign, sometimes some php development.

Can you tell us what you do for KDE?

As said, I initiated the forums, doing admin jobs there and kicking spammers out. That's the fun part of it. And then usually someone comes around, finds a typo on one of KDE's websites or a display error and I'll fix it. This is basically because most people find HTML/CSS/PHP stuff rather boring. But someone needs to do the job, so hey, let it be me. Or someone wants a new website for KDE, I can also help with that, ranging from setting up the website itself to implementing the design. Pretty much what I do for a living. I should get better hobbies I guess.

You have become an important part of the sysadmin team, can you explain in more detail what you do?

I wouldn't really say important. But what I do fine is doing the small things to give the big sysadmins more room to breath. Yes, I'd say that's it. This is mostly done by managing our big beasts, be it phpBB, mediawiki or our custom framework "Capacity". That's what I got used to and it's nothing real sysadmins like to do ;)

Capacity? What's that?

That is the name of our "media" framework used by most kde sites, can be found in trunk/www/media. It is custom written once by some kde folks. It is now used by, and, but also smaller websites can use it and look great instantly, like for example kdesvn-build.

How do you divide your time between all the different things that you do?

Good question... I really suck at that. Actually it was you [red: Tom Albers] who showed me to limit certain aspects to certain times. I tried to do that too, but till now I failed...

Come on, it is not that hard, just stick to a made up schedule. What's hard about it?

When you step up for the smaller pieces it is very tempting to do them right away. You hang around in irc or read your mails in between, suddenly someone comes with small things, that can easily be done. Like adding a new ftp mirror to our list for example or "man, that font size sucks, please use a different one". If you let the list grow with so many small things it is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. So I prefer to do them right away and not stick to a made up schedule. But my gratification comes from website styling, which might take weeks or months.

The coming months stuff will change due to the transition to git. Can you explain the changes and your role in it?

The switch to git is a big step and I really can't wait for that. Our forum code is hosted on git for a looong time now, and I hope we have the other websites soon there, too. Like always, someone needs to design that stuff, we want a nice look on the various web front ends, right? Then some testing etc (and again keeping the smaller stuff away from the big sysadmins ;) )

That means you don't aim to be a 'leading' admin ever?

That's not true, if time allows and if other people come and do the smaller things, why not. As I see it, all that website stuff is beginning to get important for people, they realize you can't just put something up and hope it will work out somehow. Look back some years. mostly static kde websites, one design. now we have a forum, some drupal installations, mediawiki, with many interesting contributors, and I don't think that will end soon. We definitely need a sysadmin which has a focus in this area.

What are the areas where KDE and its software really shines in your opinion?

Design, clearly. I might be subjective, but the overall design (as in art) is stunning, big kudos to all involved artists and interface designers. Great job. The other thing, of course, is the desktop itself, plasma, Sure there are discussions about who copied from who, blabla, but you can use it and extend it. The end of ideas is not reached. And as above, thanks to the great artwork it increases the fun while using it. I could go on and name each and every application I use daily and don't want to miss, but there are too many.

Do you have a vision, like where do you want KDE in general to be in 5 years and sysadmin in particular?

Keep up the good work with code, not much from that side in my opinion. Some more/better coordination in other aspects, like integration with non-coders, supporters, doc writers or also inside teams like the sysadmins. From my point of view it was rather silent from the sysadmin side for a long time. Probably because it was not needed. You [red: Tom Albers] for example do a wonderful job with your blog entries about what is happening in the sysadmin world lately, or that there is now an open sysadmin channel where we can meet, be reached or poked. It is a good step into the right direction. So my vision would be even more "Community". KDE has a great community? Absolutely. But it can be even better...