Matthias Ettrich

A Short Intro

  • Located in: Oslo, Norway
  • Occupation: Computer Scientist
  • Nickname on IRC: (None)
  • Claim to Fame: Original author of LyX, Founder of the KDE, Qt Developer
  • Fav. KDE applications: Konqueror and KMail
  • Hardware: Currently, that's dual a P3/500, but it changes frequently

The Interview

What is your role within KDE?

After I founded the project, I was busy with the stuff nobody else wanted to do, like the terminal emulation, the window manager, the desktop panel, session management... Luckily these things changed while the project evolved. Currently I'm mostly working on the libraries (DCOP), the new window manager kwin and on improving Qt according to the wishes of the KDE Team.

How much time do you spend on KDE?

There are weeks when I more or less work fulltime on KDE, others where I do things only related to KDE (i.e. development work on Qt), so it's hard to say.

What is your favorite tool? (for developers; what is your favorite editor?)

Favorite editor? Hard to say. I'm mostly using XEmacs and it's quite ok. But it's not my favorite.

It lacks very useful editing features known from MS-Windows IDE's, like showing a function's arguments when typing a call in the code. This requries profound C++ parsing and understanding in real-time, nothing you can do fast enough in lisp, unfortunately. So eventually, we have to replace Emacs with a K-Tool, I guess.

Is there a process you follow when you code?

Basically, it's a very iterative approach. Nothing is perfect the first time you write it.

What was your first computer?

The first computer I used for programming was an AMSTRAD CPC-464. The first I owned (at least partially) was a Commodore C64.

Which program would you say every KDE user should have?

kwin ;-)

Where do you see yourself and KDE 5 years from now?

Given the current sucess of Linux, KDE will be a leading desktop platform by then. I will probably have to do management tasks, so better not think about it.

Are you being paid to work for KDE and if yes by who?

Trolltech AS.

Personal Questions

Where and when were you born?

14th of June, 1972 in Bietigheim, South Germany.

Which University/School did you go to?

The Eberhard-Karls University in Tuebingen, Wilhelm Shickard Institute for Computer Science.

What's your status, are you single and up for adoption?

I'm not yet married, but in "solid hands", as we say in German.

If married/girlfiend/partner(m/f), how does he/she cope living with a KDE addict?

She's using KDE a lot, so it cannot be too bad ;)

Do you have children?


Do you have pets?

Two cats, but I'm not sure who has whom.

What is your favorite food?

Since I'm living far up north in Oslo and thousands of miles away from home, I'd say everything from Southern Germany is my favorite. Things like Maultaschen and Kaesespaetzle, for example, with a good glass of Trollinger red wine.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Greece and the Czech Republic.

What do you (and your s.o) like to do in your sparetime?

Playing Squash (forgot the english term, sorry), trying to do inline skating, some biking, some reading, some travelling. After all, we are living at a place that is still quite unknown to us and often frequented by tourists. So it's quite easy to do one-day vacations.

What was the last movie you have seen?

On video, the Matrix. In cinema, High Fidelity.

What was the last fiction book that your have read?

"Tatt av kvinnen" from Erlind Loe, a strange book about a strange woman.

What songs do you sing in the shower?

That totally depends on the last record I've listened to. Today that would be Summertime in the Miles Davis version from Porgy and Bess. Btw: Shower singing is very much accepted here in Norway. I remember staying in a hotel that offered lyrics of norwegian folk songs in the shower cabin.

You are having a BBQ in your backyard and you're allowed to invite 3 famous people who would you invite and why?

Oscar Peterson for the music, Vaclav Havel for the talk and Meg Ryan in order to make some of my other guests happy.

Is your best friend (no family) a real person or an on-line one?

Real person, definitely.

Did you ever met a fellow KDE'r in person, when and where?

Many and often, usually on tradeshows or KDE conferences.

Name your favorite quote/saying.

Variatio delectat.

(after Cicero, "de natura deorum" 1, 9, 22)
"Variety gives joy" The origin of "variatio (or varietas) delectat" is to find with Euripides (484 - 406 v. Chr.) in "Orest". There it means: "alternation is always good". First latin version supplies Cicero with the question: "Varietatene eum delectari putamus, qua caelum et terras exornatas videmus?" (Do we believe that he (i.e. God) enjoys the multicolored change, with which we see skies and earth decorated?)