José Nuno Coelho Sanarra Pires

A Short Intro

  • Age: 27
  • Located in: Lisbon, Portugal
  • Occupation: Computer Science Engineer

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

My work on KDE is related with its translation into European Portuguese, a job I have co-coordinate with Pedro Morais for a long time.

When did you first hear of KDE?

I first heard of KDE about 1997, when I was at the University. At that time, I was getting tired of using the simpler window managers on Linux (fvwm, twm, and so on) and I started looking for some desktop environment which could at least be a little bit similar to Windows. When I started to investigate something about it, I saw the Trolltech's page for Qt and then I saw some info about a project which was getting born at that time, KDE. When I saw the screenshot, I said: "That's it; this is something that deserves to be seen". I guess it was the 1.0beta3 at that time.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I met Pedro Morais - we were colleagues back then at the University - and, after I found the project on the Internet, I found that he was also aware of that project and that he was starting to do some efforts on the translations (back then, Portuguese was a very absent language in each and every software for UNIX/Linux). I started with KDevelop, replacing the maintainer for it at the time - just for curiosity and fun, the former maintainer is now the GNOME Portuguese translation leader - no hard feelings :-) we're good friends!

After KDevelop was finished, I started translating more and more of KDE, sharing some work with Pedro. After some time, about KDE 2.0 or 2.1, we were finally getting a Portuguese GUI that was almost 100% translated.

Two years ago, with the GUI translations stable, I started to apply my efforts on documentation and, once again, we're near KDE 3.5 with 100% GUI and docs translated into Portuguese; a hard effort, but thankful!

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

No, unfortunately. But I accept cash, money transfers, Visa, ... :-)

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

That depends. When KDE is on a stable state, with only minor versions being released, my dedicated time is close to none; especially now, as the team has some tools developed by us like gettext-lint to help us get the translations consistent, up-to-date and spellchecked. When we are approaching new major releases, the effort gets much higher, as we have lots of new and outdated translations to complete. Unfortunately, due to Pedro's professional extreme occupation, I got the most part of this release's effort, so it took really hard to get it done, but hey!, it's done now!

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

Accessibility. Finally, KDE got some neat features for it concerning that point, but even more publicity should be focused on that, to show disabled people that KDE is friendly for them.

Usability is also a point I would like to be publicised, to prove to Windows users that KDE may also answer their needs. We can't live on a shell and discard all that concerns Windows. The system has good usability practices, and if we want non-computer-qualified users to work with KDE, we might get some good ideas from that OS; in fact, I think KDE is being good on it until now, and I hope that KDE 4.0 could get usability to a higher level.

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

Even more system configuration tools; I know that can be hard to implement, when KDE is supported on several operating systems/distributions, but a good design for such applications might do the job.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Besides guaranteeing that Portuguese KDE 4 translations will be 100% again? :-)

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

Being recognised for my effort; watching other translators' feedback on my work, seeing my name on almost any application on KDE.

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

Many, in fact. Portugal has been developing some efforts on Portuguese Linux distributions (with the most known being Caixa Mágica, which is starting to be implemented in schools and in our government institutes.

As a country where English knowledge could be better - especially for older people, an easier way to get people to use a desktop platform would be by using software translated into Portuguese. That's where our translation team gets in :-).

What is your favourite widget style?

Plastik. Eye-candish enough and not that heavy for my system.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

Emacs. Its capabilities for handling with translation files are superb and allow me to translate applications fast enough, with user-friendly support.

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Fedora Core 4, at the moment. Even though they're more GNOME-oriented, for me it's one of the best development/desktop/system administration environments and with an huge technical support.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

For me, there are 2 killer apps: Konqueror and Kontact (and all its parts). A real proof that good software can be done with good design, good integration and exceptional quality.

What makes you develop for KDE instead of the competition?

By being more identified with the KDE look-and-feel. Besides, by being also a developer-friendly framework, with its exceptional Qt library and everything developed over that, it's easier for me to develop something for KDE than other desktop environments.

What does your desktop look like?

I kinda like the minimalist approach. I like a good-looking yet simple desktop and that's why I don't have any particular background or applets.

What type is your laptop/desktop? What is it named?

My usual computer is an Athlon64 laptop, even though I have 2 more PCs: one desktop and other being the gateway. It's a little bit hard to have so many computers in a small amount of space, but I've survived so far :-).

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

A good-looking girl? Is there any one available? ;-)

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

Some DCOP scripts (this technology is really brilliant!); one of them helps me to check when some friends of mine are playing Quake on the network, notifying me when such thing occurs :-).

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

None that I remember at the moment.

Did you go to Akademy? What did you see/What did you miss?

Unfortunately not. I was really trying to be available when Akademy went to Spain, in Malaga. However, my free time wasn't that so free, and also Pedro couldn't manage to go then, so we both missed the show :-(.

Personal Questions

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

Up for adoption, at the time.

Do you have any pets?

Not at the time. I had some dogs a long time ago, but living with dogs in an small appartment is really hard for us and for them, on my opinion.

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

Sintra, in first place. A beautiful landscape, full of mystery and peaceful.

Besides Sintra, Lisbon of course! It's a 'one-place-fits-all'; you have lots of styles for nightlife, really nice places to visit (I recommend the Castle - a beautiful view over all the city), many friendly people and a great weather (even though it's kinda rainy at this particular time).

Which book is on your bedside table?

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code

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

I guess those would be my parents, who worked really hard for me and my brothers to be well-placed at the present.

How would you describe yourself?

I'm kind of 'mood chameleon'. Sometimes I'm really happy and want to do lots of crazy things, but some other times one gets bored and tired.

But hey!, I'm 27 years-old, I'm still too young to stop; so let's do lots of things: travel, meet people, whatever.

What do you get passionate about?

Music, for a start. I really enjoy lots of different styles of music and I have lots and lots of albums, so I may have many things to hear when I don't have anything special to do.

Besides music, I also like to travel - meet new places, meet new people, see new behaviours. We live in an huge and heterogeneous world and there's a lot yet to see.

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

Most of the time, I listen to music. Kind of an 'anti-boredom pill' for me.

What is your favourite place in the world?

There's no particular favourite place for me on the world. All the places where I've been left always good memories on my mind, so I can't point one of them in special. There are still lots of places to visit though and, maybe, someday I'll find a place that I can choose it as THE one but till then ALL are favourite.