Sander Koning

A Short Intro

  • Age: 21
  • Located in: Delft, the Netherlands
  • Occupation: Student/Student Assistant, Computer Science
  • Nickname on IRC: In KDE-related channels: askie, otherwise ask or something like that
  • Blog: http://delftblueramblings.blogspot.com/

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

I'm the documentation coordinator for the Dutch localisation project. Furthermore I do some odd jobs related to that, and try to translate things myself as well.

When did you first hear of KDE?

The summer of 2001 saw my first Linux installation, I think it was Redhat 6 or so, which came with the two major desktop environments. I found KDE, although version 2 does not look that spiffy nowadays, the better and nicer looking of the two, and have stuck with it since then.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

I was assisting some groups in a project in autumn 2004 and noticed that one of them had an email address ending in @kde.nl. I decided to take a look and find out what he would be doing. Some browsing brought me to the "Help us" page and I thought that my earlier experience in translating various things might be of use. So I sent a message to the mailing list, and not long after that, I was translating documentation.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

Not at all. I don't care. Although I wouldn't object, of course.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

That depends. On average I think it amounts to one hour a day active involvement.

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

That's hard to say... Perhaps its overall ease of use while still being a frontend to the powerful things behind it. I think that many people are not using Linux (I ignore the other systems for the moment) because 'it is scary' or 'one cannot do X', can be persuaded once they know that it is not, and that X can be done. KDE should be more known for that.

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

I think that that would be the option to shut off spellchecking globally.

What are your future plans for KDE?

I've been thinking about picking up Python and experimenting with some small KDE thingies. Perhaps a small patch somewhere, I might contribute to some program. Anything can happen, really.

Do you have any specific goals for KDE 4?

A full and correct Dutch translation, both GUI and documentation.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

The fact that I use it every day as my only desktop environment, my stubbornness (Must. Finish. Job.) and the nice people.

Which application in KDE do you think definitely needs some usability work?

Don't know, actually. I don't have that much usability problems. Well, KOffice could use some work, but that's not really a KDE application. Perhaps KBabel, which should get Subversion support anyway.

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

It could have a fair share of the cake. KDE 3.4 already featured a full Dutch translation of the GUI, and we've got a very busy active PR 'department' working on spreading more and more news.

What is your favourite widget style?

Phase, at the moment. But that may change any day.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

Vim for power work. I like the way it works and it's fast. Kate/KWrite for quick editing. That's a very well balanced KDE editor.

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Debian, unstable (so that I can get KDE 3.4 packages). I've tried a couple of (larger and smaller) distros. Most larger distros have a default desktop environment, which was nice at first, but nowadays I want to be able to make that decision myself. Smaller distros have their pros, but they don't feature that many packages. Debian turned out to be the best for me, being quite large but remaining very flexible at the same time.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

Konqueror, definitely. Like Kate, very well balanced. Powerful yet fast, it can do almost everything I want it to do (both as a file manager and as a browser). It's just plain good.

What makes you develop for KDE instead of the competition?

The fact that it is the desktop environment of my choice. Why work on something I don't use, if I can work on something I do use?

What does your desktop look like?

I use my applications almost exclusively full-screen (apart from Composer windows and some editors), so there's not much desktop to see on my screenshots.

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

My desktop is currently a brandless Pentium III/866, to be replaced by a more up-to-date model in the next few months. It's called "celly", which was the nickname of my previous PC (a Celeron), and I decided to keep things simple for my housemate who is in charge of the routing tables.

My laptop is an AMD XP 2000+, named "pearl" after the brand (Jewel).

If you were a KDE app, which one would you be? Why?

Kontact. Then I could remind myself of all the things I had to do, send email messages to people, keep track of my appointments, all by myself. That'd be a huge improvement :)

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

Lauri Watts, I think. Looks like someone with a good sense of humour... but any other sociable person with some shared interests would do :)

What users do you have in mind when you're developing for KDE?

Dutch ones, or any "local" users at that. I'm a localisation guy after all.

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

Probably when demonstrating some things to a friend I set up a Linux box for. "And you can also do this... " at which point the machine froze.

Personal Questions

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

Still up for adoption. I can do the dishes, clean the house, I'll even iron if you want me to. And, of course, I'm cute :P

Do you have any pets?

No. Keeping a pet in 10m2 room is not the wisest thing to do. I'm out very often anyway.

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

Only one spot? You're making it difficult. I'd go for the old town centre of Delft. Most people will like that.

Which book is on your bedside table?

Currently it's a collection of Hercule Poirot stories. But you may find a Terry Pratchett novel, a comic strip, or a programming language reference there as well.

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

Getting to live on my own, suddenly having to make my own decisions. I seem to have changed a lot in the few months after moving.

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvals?


How would you describe yourself?

In one word: nerd!
"Nerd trying to have a fairly social life" is more accurate, actually. Interests in computer and other sciences (of course), but also in languages, architecture, and some other things. I like to play games of various sorts: go, chess, card games, other board games and let's not forget computer games.

My main occupation in my free time is ultimate frisbee, in my opinion the best team sport by far. I also try to make time for photography and other hobbies.

What do you get passionate about?

Ultimate, the flying disc team sport. I love the game, I try to play it whenever I can and I'm now a member of the board of the Dutch Flying Disc Association.

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

Count trees. Sing a couple of songs in my head. If I have pen and paper, try to prove (ridiculous) mathematical statements I come up with at the spot. Invent a new language (or continue with the one from the last train journey).

What is your favourite t-shirt?

My Ultimate team shirt. And that doesn't have to with the fact that I co-designed it :P

Among your friends, what are you are best known for?

Stubbornness, in a lot of ways, I think. I hope that they appreciate and value my trying to be a real friend, someone they can count on. But you should ask my friends, really.

What is your favourite place in the world?

Where I feel at home, where I can be who I am. That could in fact be anywhere.

What's your favourite web site at the moment?

www.jijbent.nl, a Dutch turn-based mind games site.

What's your signature at the moment?

Depends on the ones I'm sending it to. I've got some signatures for projects or organisations I work, and some personal ones. My default signature features some personal info and a random quote.