Pino Toscano

A Short Intro

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

I'm the current okular maintainer (Albert Astals Cid gave me his blessing two months ago). First of all, I'm an active KDE-Edu developer, holding the maintainance of kig, and being and helping hand all round. Moreover, I give my contributions translating KDE into Italian (I'm part of the Italian translation team).

When did you first hear of KDE?

The first version of Linux I used was Redhat 5.0, shipping KDE 1 (I don't remember which version). It seemed so simple to use, even if the GNOME 0.8 installed alongside KDE by the distro was really unusable - crashing and making X freeze all the time. Since then I'm a happy KDE user :-)

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

My contribution to KDE started with the translation of a KDE application not included with KDE itself, in 2002. I read in the about dialog about the Italian translation team, so later in the year I joined it to make my translations within the kde-i18n-it translation team.

While translating a new application for KDE 3.2 - Kig - I noticed some problems with i18n in it, so I reported them to the author (Dominique Devriese). After some time the reports became small patches, and then I really started contributing to Kig (around January 2004, if I recall correctly).

What was your most recent commit to KDE?

Trying to get okular in shape for the kdegraphics module (API and i18n work, mostly).

Are you being paid to work on KDE?


How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Depends, lets say 2-3 hours as the daily average.

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

I don't think there is a section really underrated with regard to the others. What I think is that KDE has many "small gems", meant as many (even simple) features of the applications that make the user's work easier and more fun. For example, there is a lot of people that do not know of the type-ahead-find of Konqueror, mostly because it is not as visible to the user as the Firefox search bar. If I should pick a module, it would be KDE-Edu: it has already some quite excellent applications (for example Kalzium, KStars, Kig) whose fame is quite widespread, but the other applications in the module are not as well-known (yet).

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

Sadly the compatibility of KOffice with proprietary formats is not so good at the moment: having that would enable me to switch more friends to KOffice ;) But I'm confident enough in what the KOffice team is doing, especially for KDE 4.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

My bigger plans are for okular, about making it a really powerful document viewer, with a really straight-forward user interface. The work is going on, but it's not yet finished yet.

About Kig, I'd like to have TeX formulas in text labels, formula objects, and to complete some of the small things missing here and there, but I don't how far these will go.

For the rest, I'd like to see a well-shaped and balanced KDE-Edu.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

A nice community, "cute" libraries and the desire to give my personal assistance to the common goals and great desktop environment that we know as KDE.

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

Not great, as the culture of "free software" is not so widely spread.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

I use Kate as my main text editor: its project management is really sweet (at least for my usage), and I like how I can do many, many actions with just the keyboard.

When I have only a terminal, I use vim (even if I'm a really basic user of it).

Which distribution do you use? Why?

I'm on Debian Testing (going to be Etch soon): I started using it on my brother's PC, and now I'm really happy with it. If not Debian, for sure it would not be a Gentoo, as I want to get my system ready whenever I want, not after hours of compiling for an upgrade.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

Konqueror. It is great how it allows you to do many daily jobs quickly and together, for both web browsing and file management. Even if it suffers from some small integration issues.

What does your desktop look like?

My desktop is an example of plain simplicity: nothing really fancy, just usable for my everyday needs.

What makes you contribute to KDE instead of the competition?

I've been using KDE since the 1.1 version, so I feel it is a "natural" thing. Moreover, KDE has real good points with the KDE-Edu module, and that was my starting point.

As a more formal reply: better technology in a C++ flavour.

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

Hard question - there are many people who make the work within KDE a pleasure, so it's really difficult to choose one. Although, I'd say working in KDE-Edu makes your contributions enjoyable.

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

An always-moving AMOR (or xpenguins).

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

I don't feel I have done any hack that was so brilliant (so far).

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

Uhm... I don't think i've had any "big" embarrassing moment, yet (And of course, I hope to not have it...)

Will you be going to Akademy in Glasgow this year?

I can't say that for sure, yet. Although I really hope so. The two previous ones I participated in were excellent!

Personal Questions

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

Up for adoption.

Do you have any children or pets?


Which book is on your bedside table?

None, as I'm not a great reader.

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

I don't think any event influenced me so much until now...

Is your best friend from the physical or online world?

I have many friendly and kind (and also crazy, in the good sense) friends in the "real world".

What is the best birthday present you could receive?

Difficult to say, even my parents run into troubles thinking about my presents...

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?

Both of course! Both had great ideas and did (and are still doing) great work for the community.

How would you describe yourself?

Oh no, not this question... :-P

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

No idea, I don't think too much about "... if I had ...", otherwise sometimes I struggle myself with things I left in the past.

What do you see from your window?

I can see many things from the long balcony out of my room, in the Southern, Eastern and Northern directions. So, I'll just look out at the North, choosing the most amazing panorama.

(This is the Etna volcano, in case you are wondering!)

What do you get passionate about?

Not by filling out interview forms! :D

What does "success" mean to you?

Succeding in something, and being happy and proud of what you have just done.

What do you do in your spare time?

I often spend time with (real-world!) friends.

What is your favourite place in the world?

Obvious answer: home sweet home ;)

Final Words