Mauricio Piacentini

A Short Intro

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

I am working on the KDE 4 versions of KMahjongg and KMines, and trying to help with the SVG conversion and art for other applications in the kdegames module. During the last few months I had a chance to work a bit (in code and art) with Ian Wadham in KGoldRunner, and Dmitry Suzdalev in KReversi.

Other than that, I am trying to keep our monthly kdegames IRC meetings alive. Fortunately this is a task shared between several people, like many other activities in the kdegames module. This makes everything easier and more enjoyable. So nothing major really, I am still in my first year as an active contributor to the project.

When did you first hear of KDE?

Hum... probably around 1998 or so, but at that time I really did not understand what it was all about. I was working mostly with MacOS and Windows, making web games and middleware for multimedia developers.

After a couple of years the free software movement caught my interest, and KDE was my desktop of choice from the start, running on Slackware.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I have been using Qt for commercial projects for the past 3 years or so. Then I started using it for some open source projects on SourceForge as well, and began to ask questions on qt4-preview mailing list.

It was on that list that I was "drafted" by Dmitry Suzdalev, who had just joined the kdegames project. Two or three months later I was in Dublin for Akademy...

What was your most recent commit to KDE?

I recently added support for SVG themes in KMines. It still looks the same, though, as the default theme currently mimics the KDE3 version :)

Are you being paid to work on KDE?


How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Since the last Akademy I spend at least a couple of hours every day on the project. Sometimes a bit more, depending on how excited I am about a particular feature...

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

KDE Games, of course! And kde-edu, KStars...

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

I would like to have an integrated animation package, something along the lines of KToon. Maybe someone could ask them to join the project? It would be a nice companion to Krita and Karbon. Also, I would personally like to see an astrology package (KAstrolog?) and a sound designer application.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

All my KDE plans are for KDE 4! And some of them are already well underway, like the integration of KMahjongg tilesets into KShisen. I am still in debt with Ian regarding KGoldRunner art, and KMines still needs a lot of work...

So I am surely be busy for the next couple of months, at least.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

I like the fact that the work we are doing will be appreciated by lots of people in different regions of the world, and can be improved and modified by anyone. The atmosphere in the kdegames module is also refreshing, and I am improving my programming skills a lot by just hanging around in the #kde-devel IRC channel.

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

As some of you might know, it is easy to buy a machine with Linux pre-installed in Brazil, as the government supports free software deployment with a program that gives tax breaks and other incentives to manufacturers that sell computers pre-configured with free software. All of the Linux distros currently shipped on these systems (11 in total) use KDE as the default desktop environment! So I think we have a good chance with the next generation of computer users.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

Kate. Because I got used to GUI editors since the first days I used CodeWarrior. I only use Nano for server stuff. I know some guys love Emacs or Vi, but I am not one of them... Kate has everything I need, is fast, and I use it for all my coding right now. Just waiting to be able to use it in Windows and OSX as well... soon...

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Slackware and Debian on our desktop machines and on the company servers. In my laptop I am now using Kubuntu, basically because it supported all the hardware in my machine on the first try, and because it is KDE-centric.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

I used to think it was Konqueror, but now I am not so sure. Plasma is shaping up to be nice... But I guess what makes KDE the best desktop for me is the combination of all modules, really, and not one single app.

What does your desktop look like?

What makes you contribute to KDE instead of the competition?

Well, I already used KDE, so contributing to it was natural. And I was very welcome by the kdegames people. But I have nothing against contributing with other projects. In fact, I would like for us to work with the GNOME Games guys as often as possible. Maybe a goal for the near future?

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

Tricky question! I met several nice guys and girls in Dublin, during Akademy 2006. I would not mind sharing the island with David Vignoni, Josef Spillner or Albert Astals Cid. And there are the italian guys as well (Pino, Luciano...).

But I will play safe here, and choose my wife, Raquel Ravanini. She contributed the KMahjongg SVG tileset for KDE4, so technically she is eligible, right?

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

AMOR - Amusing Misuse of Resources. With the Neko theme, please.

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

I have not contributed anything brilliant yet. But at the same time...

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

...I probably have not embarrassed myself too much as well! Other than adding code that checks for null before deleting a C++ pointer, that is...

Will you be going to Akademy in Glasgow this year?

Yes, I plan to. Already have the 'Lonely Planet' guide, at least.

Personal Questions

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


Do you have any children or pets?

One pet, Cocada. She is a 14-year old siberian husky. Here is a lomography of her:

Which book is on your bedside table?

'Shikasta' by Doris Lessing (re-reading it).

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

Family and close friends, obviously, and most of all Raquel. But looking back, I think traveling and meeting people of different cultures also made a big difference in how I see the world and my place in it.

Is your best friend from the physical or online world?

Physical! I do not have many friends in the online world, only the ones I did not have a chance to meet yet.

What is the best birthday present you could receive?

World Peace? You asked for the best...

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?

Hum... Can we a compile a new hybrid with pieces of both? Maybe keeping Stallmans beard, just for fun?

Well, the bright side of being part of the KDE community is that you are not asked to choose between Jobs and Gates, otherwise I would be in big trouble.

How would you describe yourself?

Oh, this one is too difficult! Where to start? Well, I was born in a beautiful August night, many, many years ago...

OK, we will not have space for this one. Next question, please?

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

At the moment I fortunately have a lot of freedom regarding how I spend my time! So I would keep on doing what I am doing right now: working on projects that catch my interest, and trying to meet people from whom I can learn something.

What do you see from your window?

What do you get passionate about?

I dont think I get passionate about many things nowadays. I am generally cool-headed.

What does "success" mean to you?

I dont think about this much, to be honest. Maybe a continuous state of joy and fun, and generally getting along with the people you live and work with.

What do you do in your spare time?

I generally spend my weekends involved in group-based mind expanding activities, loosely based on techniques and a beverage discovered by the ancient people who once lived in the Amazon forest region.

Ah, and I code for KDE, eventually.

What is your favourite place in the world?

My bed is looking very nice at the moment.

Final Words

I would like to say thanks to all the guys and girls in the kdegames module for their warm reception to newcomers, it is really something that makes it easier to find the motivation to contribute.

Also, if you are in Brazil for FISL 8 (April 2007), please come join us in our kdegames session, entitled "Developing Games for KDE4".