Jos Poortvliet

A Short Intro

  • Age: 26
  • Located in: Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Occupation: Finishing college at the Dutch research institute TNO. I study Organizational Psychology, and I'm doing research in the area of social innovation.
  • Nickname on IRC: superstoned
  • Claim to Fame: I guess my my reports from meetings and events might be most known...
  • Fav. KDE applications: Tough one. I can name the big ones, but everybody knows how cool they are already. So I go with Klipper, KSnapshot and KGet. They are true gems. Small, but good at what they do.
  • Hardware: AMD X2 4600+ and 3G ram, to keep KDE 4 compiling ;-)
  • Blog: http://nowwhatthe.blogspot.com/

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

I'm mostly busy promoting KDE, by giving presentations, writing articles, helping at meetings, and talking to people at exhibitions.

When did you first hear of KDE?

I found Linux when I was looking for a replacement for MS Windows 98, which was simply falling apart. As I liked to tweak my desktop to my liking, I fell in love with KDE immediately. It took some time until I could live without my Windows-only apps, though.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

Some 3 or 4 years ago I got in contact with Fabrice Mous who did translation and promotion of KDE in the Netherlands. He was a nice guy, and convinced me to come to some exhibitions where KDE had a booth. I had fun there, and slowly got more and more involved.

What was your most recent commit to KDE?

Well, I don't code, so... The most recent thing I did was writing the reports from the KOffice ODF Sprint for the Dot.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

No, though my boss doesn't mind if I spend time on it - as long as work goes first.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Depends a lot... At meetings, I'm generally extremely busy, that's for sure ;-)

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

Hmmm. In my opinion, the 'basics' are what makes KDE tick. Things like window management, Kicker and all the infrastructure that helps you every day, KDE has those worked out pretty well. When I'm on Windows, I really miss the small things like the clipboard history, a decently working scrollwheel, proper drag and drop, KIOslaves, stuff like that.

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

Hmmm. For what I do, KDE is already very good. But I'm really looking forward to KDE 4, the improvements to the infrastructure will trickle through the whole desktop experience.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Write more articles and becoming a bit more involved in marketing.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

Fun, mostly. KDE people are very nice to talk with, the community is really great. Besides, I do my little thing to get Free Software to world domination, and I'm looking forward to that as well.

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

Well, the Dutch IT industry is very very conservative. High price pressure leads to little or no room for experimentation and innovation. Of course, a bad long-term strategy, but it keeps Linux out. I hope the goverment and the growing stack of Linux support companies might turn that around.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

KWrite, both to keep notes and write articles. Easy but powerful. And smart, I like that.

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Arch Linux. I like the rolling release system. But my laptop has Kubuntu, which needs less administration...

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

Hmm, it's not a single app for me, it's more the ecosystem all those apps create.

What does your desktop look like?

This has been the look of my desktop for a long time. I like a glossy look. Polyester is fine too, but QtCurve (which I use) has slightly larger widgets, giving a cleaner look.

What makes you contribute to KDE instead of the competition?

The philosophy behind KDE fits better with me. Empowering users, and leveraging libraries to bring applications to a higher level. The first is social, the second is smart. And that's typical of KDE - smart and social.

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

I'm torn between people I already know, and people I'd love to see in real-life at least once... I think I'd go with Anne-Marie Mahfouf. She's a very interesting and nice person, very motivated. But I think any KDE hacker would do, as most qualify like her in enthusiasm ;-)

If you could be any part of the KDE platform, what would you be? Why?

I'd be KWin, I love to have someone like Lubos Lunak work on me - I'd be fast!

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

I don't hack.

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

Ah, I had my share. Didn't recognize our Vice President and Treasurer Cornelius Schumacher at FOSDEM, to name one...

Did you go to aKademy in Glasgow this year?

Yep. Had a lot of fun, though I worked a bit too hard...

Personal Questions

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

No girlfriend nor wife. Recently broke up with my girlfriend, so I wouldn't call myself up for adoption yet...

Do you have any children or pets?

No children, but we have a cat and 3 rats. When I get my own place again, I think I'm going for some fish.

Which book is on your bedside table?

Dan Simmons' Ilium. A great and epic story, viewing Homer's Iliad and viewing them through the lens of SF. As I generally read several books at the same time, I'm also reading 1984 (doesn't need an introduction, does it?).

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

My parents, I guess... Of course, when you're young, you like to think you're not like them at all, but they DO form you to a great extent. Though, my ex spent time molding me into a weird shape ;-)

Is your best friend from the physical or online world?


What is the best birthday present you could receive?

I generally recieve a book, but world domination for FOSS would be fun as well.

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?

I respect them both, but the grand vision of Richard Stallman, which brought us Free Software tips the scale.

How would you describe yourself?

Wel, extrovert and enthusiastic, mostly. I enjoy being around people, though moving pixels on a screen draws my attention pretty well. And I like to learn stuff, there is not much besides sports which doesn't interest me.

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

Maybe do a bit more KDE related work, and read more.

What do you see from your window?

I have a beautiful view from the 11th floor - if I would open the curtain. But then the sun would shine in my eyes most of the day, so I don't do that often enough.

What do you get passionate about?

Linux, politics and innovation.

What does "success" mean to you?

Having a meaningful and fun life.

What do you do in your spare time?

Sit behind my computer, have fun with friends, or go to KDE-related meetings I guess...

What is your favourite place in the world?

No place like $HOME.

Final Words

I think I'll end with saying thanks to all the great people in this community.