Cornelius Schumacher

A Short Intro

  • Age: 1.12.1969, Tübingen, Germany (which incidentally also is the place where KDE was born).
  • Located in: Erlangen, Germany.
  • Occupation: I have a diploma in Physics but I'm working as a software developer now.
  • Nickname on IRC: cornelius
  • Claim to Fame: KOrganizer.
  • Hardware: Nothing special.

The Interview

Is there a certain application/set of applications in KDE you are responsible for?

My main project is KOrganizer. Kandy is another application I'm responsible for (synchronising data on a mobile phone with the corresponding KDE apps). Recently I rewrote the KDE addressbook API, and finally I'm still trying to make KDE-PIM a suite of integrated tools for managing personal data on the desktop and on mobile devices in a consistent way. The first result of this is KSync, a generic solution for syncing.

What else do you do for KDE?

I had a lot of fun with KBugBuster, a front-end for the KDE bug tracking system. The basic framework was written on one or two extremely productive weekends by Simon, Martijn and me.

I also helped to build the German KDE website, maintained the German KDE news, translated the release announcements and introduced the "application of the month", which all is now successfully continued by Klaus Staerk. It's great to see, when other people pick up projects you don't have time for anymore. That shows that open-source really works.

There are some other hacks here and there, like the NEdit plugin for KDevelop, but that's only minor things.

Is there any unreleased stuff in your pipe?

KSync is one of the things I would really like to see released in the near future, perhaps with KDE 3.1. In addition to that there are some small things like the KMoon plugin for KOrganizer and finally there is this directory on my hard disk, which contains some thousands lines of unreleased code for a project I won't talk about at the moment...

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Don't ask ;-)

When did you hear of KDE first?

I started to use Qt back in 1997. From some Linux enthusiasts at the institute where I was working at that time I also heard about KDE. They were following this from the beginning on. I found this quite interesting, because it was based on C++ and Qt, which I really liked at that time.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I felt the need to organize myself a bit better and I thought about doing something with KDE, so I looked, if there was a "KOrganizer" project. And surprise, surprise, it already existed, and was already a quite good program. But it missed some things I wanted to have, so I started to send patches. This was the time, when the porting of the KDE 1 stuff to Qt 2 happened and the first thing I did was making KOrganizer work with Qt2 and the KDE 2 libs. This was an interesting task for me at that time and I was quite happy, when KOrganizer worked with KDE 2 without crashing.

I met Preston, the original author of KOrganizer at the LinuxTag 99 in Kaiserslautern, and some months later I found myself in the role of maintainer of KOrganizer, a role I'm still happy with.

When did you start to use KDE on a daily basis?

With version 1.1.

Do you always use leading edge KDE? If so, how did it make you bleed?

Usually I try to use the latest stable release for my daily work, but when interesting features get added, CVS versions of some applications sneak into my system, which eventually results in the complete desktop running a CVS version at some time.

Sometimes it's hard, when you decide to update a part and end up with recompiling everything, but it's amazing how stable even the HEAD branch normally is and how quick problems are fixed.

What is your favorite editor?

I'm a NEdit addict.

What is your favorite tool?

CVS. Without that, KDE wouldn't happen.

What is your favorite KDE application?

It's an old KDE 1 application, KJukeBox. I'm still waiting for a port to the current KDE version.

What is missing badly in KDE?

A taskbar, which doesn't waste any space on the screen.

What do you think, when will "The Tea Cooker" actually be able to make tea?

Um, it's not? I thought I had submitted that patch ;-).

What was the worst thing KDE did to you?

Stealing a lot of time.

Imagine yourself designing a style or theme for KDE. How would it look like?


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

I think KDE-PIM has a lot of potential. I'm not sure, if publicity at the current stage of development would help, but if it would attract some active developers, this would be very good.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

I'm working for Caldera and my job involves some KDE-related stuff. But almost all of the development I'm doing in my spare time (when the family sleeps and it gets quite in the house).

Where and when should the next KDE meeting be held? Will you attend?

I hope there will be some kind of release party for KDE 3.0 at a place where as much developers as possible can join. That would be fun.

Where will KDE be in 2 year's time? Will you still be involved? How?

I hope it will be widely accepted as a desktop solution even by people who don't care about operating systems.

You are hired to write the script for a commercial for KDE (like "The Heist" by IBM). What would be the plot?

A big city at night, lots of lights. A thunder storm is over the city and suddenly electricity goes down, the city gets dark. But in some windows you still see some light from computer monitors. The camera zooms into the rooms and you see happy people using KDE. The slogan appears: "KDE - powered by community".

Someone sends you an email about KDE in a language you do not understand at all. What do you do?

This hasn't happened up to now. But I'm sure there would be a nice KDE translator who could help. I really admire what the KDE translators are doing. They are the silent heroes of KDE, translating and translating again, whatever we thoughtless developers are comitting.

What do you think is KDE 2.2 greatest feature except from being a great desktop?

I think the best feature of KDE is the community.

In these hectic times, where does KDE stands for, for you personally?

KDE proves that a lot of people can get along with each other, if they share a common goal, regardless of their different personal, cultural or professional backgrounds. I met a lot of nice people and got new friends by being part of the KDE project. One could say that KDE provides something like a home.

What was your first computer?

A Sinclair ZX81, a really nice computer. It had 1 kByte of RAM (including video memory) and my mass storage was writing the programs down on paper.

Personal Questions

First things first. Are you married/do you have a partner? Or are you up for adoption?

I'm married.

If you have a partner, how does your mate cope with a KDE addict?

She has some hard times with me, when I spend too much time for KDE, but she doesn't blame KDE for it. Meanwhile she beats me at KShisen.

Do you have children?

Two little daughters.

If you have got children, how do they cope with a KDE addict?

They have some advantages. I don't think there are much children, which get the opportunity to play CVS versions of KTuberling, for example.

How many siblings do you have?

Two sisters.

How was it like to grow up where you grew up?

It was like growing up where I grew up ;-). Quite normal, I would say.

Rumour has it geeks thrive on pizza and coke. What's your fuel?

Spaghetti and beer.

You are visiting a foreign country and the menu in the restaurant you are having dinner in is just gibberish to you. What do you do?

Usually I prefer traveling countries, where I can at least understand the people, but if that is not the case it's sometimes quite interesting to make a new eating experience.

Do you cook yourself? If so, what?

I like cooking Italian or with the wok and I also enjoy baking cakes.

Who does the dish washing at your home?

The dishwasher.

Do you remember what was on screen when you visited a cinema last time?

"Training Day" with Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. Two great actors in a not-so-great movie.

Apart from books about programming, do you own any other stuff than your passport?

Three bicycles and a large collection of board games.

Assuming you do read fiction, what's your favorite quote by your favorite author?

One of my favorite authors is William Gibson and I really like the first sentence of his book "Neuromancer". It's the perfect setup for a whole genre: "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead chanel."

Another great book I recently read was "Tunnel vision" by Keith Lowe. This is definitely worth a read.

Would you use software to organize your books/CDs? Why?

I would use software, if it wouldn't require to start a computer and would automatically know, where all the books and CDs are.

What do you sing when nobody is listening and what when people are listening?

The only song I sing is "Hänschen klein", when I put my youngest daughter to bed.

If you are a smoker, does it ever happen to you that your cigarette sets your ashtray on fire? How often?

Don't smoke.