Dirk Mueller

A Short Intro

  • Located in: Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • Occupation: Student of Computer science (Sometimes I think its only a hobby ;))
  • Claim to Fame: Parts of Konquerors HTML engine, Qt-GUI of Licq, tiny bits here and there
  • Fav. KDE applications: Konqueror, KHTML, Knode, Kwintv and (of course :)) KPat for KDE 2.1
  • Hardware: Currently an AMD K7-800 and a 19" screen (still far too small)

The Interview

What is your role within KDE?

Right now I'm mainly working on the Konqueror HTML engine of KDE 2.x, its a very interesting and challenging work so I spent most of my time on this.

In general I like improving KDE overall, fixing performance and usability issues or bugs. I try to keep an eye on the development and take a look at whatever is interesting me at the moment. Especially I like working on the nasty little details that make things perfect, hence my addiction to KHTML ;-)

I'm probably the only KDE developer that hasn't written a pure KDE program from ground up yet, probably because I used to maintain some programs and all of them started to be a nightmare for me after a while, mainly because I'm always interested in new things and not on working, maintaining and supporting the same "old" program as soon as it fits my needs and has the mandatory coffee machine controlling interface ;-).

KDE and especially KHTML are the ideal projects for me because there are so many things to work on and play with. Every day something new to investigate and to dig in, that's why I'm quite happy with the current situation. If I'd be forced to choose and work on a single program (and KHTML is "finished" somewhen), I would work on something graphics and/or multimedia related. I like POV-Ray and in the ancient times I used Windows I liked Paint Shop Pro, so you can guess ;-)

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I read about KDE the very first time by following a link posted in a Linux related newsgroup to an archive that contained Matthias Ettrich's initial call for programmers back in early 1997. I read the article about KDE by Kalle in the german computer magazine c't later that year and from those days on I started to follow KDE development, mainly as a user and a convert from the Linux console, where I've been previously porting a text based C++ News and Mailreader to.

I got involved in KDE around the time when an inofficial pre version of KDE 1.0 accidently popped up on the FTP server and I spent a whole night on patching the code to get it compiled and working. Well, the patch got rejected and after that other things kept me busy and away from computers. I started contributing regularly shortly after KDE 1.1 release.

How much time do you spend on KDE?

Depends on how much time I need for my other life ;) Usually its far more than 3 hours a day.

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

I'm used to XEmacs. Its not the ideal editor but it has the set of features I expect and (most important) I can remember the most common keyboard shortcuts of XEmacs now. :) I started playing with VIM lately, still my favorite editor has yet to be written.

Is there a process you follow when you design/write code/translate/write documentation?

Usually I'm browsing the existing code to see how it is working. Then I start thinking of the good way to implement whatever I want to do so that it integrates both easily (i.e. I have to change only little parts of the code) and still keeps/extends/improves the overall design. After that, I usually write the interface and then start implementing and testing the necessary methods bottom-up.

What was your first computer?

A commodore C-16. It wasn't useful for anything else than playing a few games or writing simple text based BASIC programs. After a few years of being happy without computers I bought an Amiga and from that time on I started programming it in Assembler, Basic and C. After I got a "real" computer I quickly tried Pascal, Modula and Oberon, but the only programming language that got me is C++.

Which program would you say every KDE user should have?

Konqueror/KHTML, of course!

If you could add one personal feature to KDE what would that be?

A lovely voice during login that tells me that only Emails I like are waiting for me (The voice shouldn't lie of course! ;) ). Or in case that's impossible I'd like to have a "Focus follows mind" option in kwin (I admit I stole that idea from Matthias Ettrich, but there are really days I wish that feature would be there ;-)).

What application/game would you like to see ported to KDE?

Deluxe Paint (an old amiga program, I think its ported to Windows now). I'm not an artist at all, but I liked to play with it when I was bored before I started finding out about POV-Ray.

Where do you see yourself and KDE 2 years from now?

I hope I've finished my thesis around that time and KDE continues to evolve and attract both users and contributers. As KDE is *the* free ("free" as in "freedom of mind") environment and as I'm sure it stays this way, I have little to worry.

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

No, I'm currently not paid by anybody for KDE related work.

Personal Questions

Where and when were you born?

I was born 24th May'78 in Neustadt/Wstr., Germany.

Which University/School did you go to?

I'm studying computer science at the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany.

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

I'm single.

Do you have children?


What are the biggest turning points/events in your life?

Well, the usual. The days I fell in love the first time, a few days where I was on holidays with good friends, the day I finished school and similar are the days I can remember very well.

What is the nicest thing anyone ever did for you?

When it comes to KDE, the nicest thing is when somebody fixes bugs for me I introduced. However I really don't expect that, please don't get me wrong. I'm very pleased by a positive comment already.

If your house is on fire what would be the first thing you would grab to take with you?

My mobile to call the fire brigade ;-).

What are the elements for a perfect vacation?

Either good friends when it comes to traveling and going out, or a book and my favorite music and the good feeling that I have spare time to relax and do nothing :-)

What are the things you want to have done before you die?

Konquer the world ;-)
or also known as:
Finish my TODO list :-)

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

Spare time? What's that?

Seriously, I'm addicted to movies and a few years ago I still had time to read books. Besides that I'm studying, didn't I mention that already? ;-)

What was the last movie you have seen?

Well, I wish I could remember. The last good one I have seen was "Dancer In The Dark" by Lars von Trier. If you ever get a chance watching it, go for it.

What was the last fiction book that your have read?

Carl Sagan "Contact" I think. Quite a while ago. Again a great one, don't miss it.

What song brings back a favorite memory? And why?

Oh there are many. The first so-called love song that comes to my mind is "Lisa Loeb - Stay", mainly because that one has a personal connection with me at a certain point in my life.

If you could be invisible for 2 hours where would you go and what would you do?

Go watching Homer Simpson while he works in the Springfield nuclear power plant, what else?

You having some friends over for a party and you're allowed to invite 3 famous people who would you invite and why?

Luc Besson, Matt Groening and Bjoerk Gudmundsdottir.
Another combination could be J. Robert Oppenheimer, F. Nietzsche and Joan of Arc.
Or even better someone who allows me to invite more than only 3 people ;-)

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

Yes, at a few LinuxTag's and at KDE-III in Trysil, which was a very pleasing event. I hope we can repeat that.

Name your favorite quote/saying.

"The most reliable proof that there are extraterrestrial intelligent lifeforms out there is that nobody actually tries to get in contact with us". Or when it comes to KHTML: "Oh no, I'm sure nobody will even dare to think of writing this kind of HTML code!" (the KHTML team, shortly before the daily "reading bug reports hour" starts).