Olivier Goffart

A Short Intro

  • Age: 21
  • Located in: Li├Ęge, Belgium
  • Occupation: Student
  • Nickname on IRC: Gof
  • Blog: http://blog.bepointbe.be (in French)

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

I'm a developer of Kopete. I work on the Kopete core, and on some plugins. I was the MSN plugin maintainer, but now I'm more focused on Jabber.

I'm developing a next generation of KNotify for KDE 4.

And I do a little work or bugfixes on various others part of KDE when required, specially in kdelibs.

I have also helped to set up kdetalk.net, the server Jabber for KDE.

When did you first hear of KDE?

When I first installed Linux in 1999, it was a SuSE 6.1 with KDE 1.1.1 as default desktop. Once i tried it i liked it. There was not really any competition at this time, GNOME 1.0 was not even released yet.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

My first contribution was a chess game for KDE 1. But it was not so nice and not really published.

I really started to work in Kopete in the middle of 2002. At this time, I needed an MSN client, and none on Linux was as great as the official one, so I started to send patches to Kopete, and finally I joined to team.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

I'm not. Although I have been sponsored by Google last year in the Google Summer of Code program to work on khotkeys. Thanks to them.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

That depends of my life. I already spend at least half an hour per day to read KDE mailing lists.

When I'm in a coding period, I can use all my free time to code. But when I'm not motivated, I don't code at all.

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

Konqueror as a web browser. I've seen too many people using Firefox on KDE. Generally because the distribution uses Firefox as the default browser.

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

Now that I have a laptop, I'm missing a fast tool to quickly switch from one network to another.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Yes, I have lots of plans. But I don't know if I will be able to do everything.

I'd like to greatly improve Jabber support in Kopete. Specially multi-user chat.

I'd like also to make khotkeys mouse gestures and voice trigger configurable directly from the application's shortcut dialogue, and not from an external application, like it is already.

I want to improve the desktop notifications. I've already started to code this issue, but some work still needs to be done.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

The original reason was that I like to code and I was happy to code something useful for the me and community.

Now it's also because I'd like to finish what I started.

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

Over the time, I notice that Linux gets more publicity and users.

But the majority is still under MS Windows, not surprising.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

KDevelop, because I like the class tree, the autocompletion, and all advantages of the Kate part.

Which distribution do you use? Why?

I'm using Archlinux on my desktop, and Frugalware on my laptop. My favourite distribution is Archlinux because it has more package, even if I think Frugalware is technically better.

These distributions are fine to me because I have a very up to date system without much effort.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

Difficult to choose one. Kopete, Amarok, Konqueror, Akregator. That's just a small list of applications I use everyday and i find really great.

What makes you develop for KDE instead of the competition?

Because I started with KDE.

I started with KDE because

  • It is C++ and I knew C++.
  • At the KDE 1.x time, there was no real competition.

What does your desktop look like?

Appearance is not the most important think for me, so it's basically the default theme.

I just need to remove all theses useless big button that are on the default kicker (including the k menu) and replace it by the useful media control applet :-)

Since recently, I've made the kicker vertical, because it take less space in my laptop's wide screen, and I'm now used to it.

What type is your laptop/desktop? What is it named?

My desktop is a Pentium 2.5Ghz, with Xinerama dual screen. (Named 'p800' for historical reasons.)

My laptop is a small Pentium M 1,8 Ghz (named l18).

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

At a time, there was tensions and flames with someone on the Kopete mailing list. It was impossible to agree on important decision. It was really a bad moment in my Kopete development history. Specially because I still think all his arguments were completely stupid.

Before that, I had lot of disagreement and discussion with another person (Martijn K.). But his arguments was fine and he taught me a lot when i started to work on Kopete. I'd like to thank him. (So that was not an embarrassing moment.)

Did you go to Akademy in Spain? Will you go to Dublin?

I didn't go to Akademy. The main reason is that I don't understand spoken English.

I learnt English on IRC and by reading mailing list. (At the beginning i was using Bablefish to translate mailing lists)

I'll go to Akademy 2006. But such travels are quite difficult to me, a student without good English knowedge.

Personal Questions

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

I'm up for adoption

Do you have any pets?

Not personally, even if my family has a cat.

If someone visits your country, which spot is a must-see?

If he (or she) comes in my city, I'll invite him/her to drink a beer :-)

Which book is on your bedside table?

I don't read books anymore :-)

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?


What do you get passionate about?

Computers :-)

You're stuck on a train for 6 hours and are bored out of your skull. What do you do to amuse yourself?

I think to diverse things without importance. Look on the windows. I sometimes think about future development I could do.

What is your favourite t-shirt?

The only geek t-shirt I have is the Google Summer of Code one. And this is probably my favourite one.

What is your favourite place in the world?