Sebastian Trüg

A Short Intro

  • Age: 28
  • Located in: Freiburg, Germany
  • Occupation: Computer Scientist
  • Nickname on IRC: trueg (although I am almost never online)
  • Homepage: http://www.k3b.org/ (Well, it's no personal homepage)

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

I am the author and maintainer of K3b, the CD/DVD burning application for KDE.

When did you first hear of KDE?

I think it was in 1997. When I started to study in Freiburg a friend "introduced" me to SuSE 5.something or 4.foobar. It came with KDE 1 and Qt 1.4. I tried it for a few days or weeks but I was not that interested back then.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

My interest in Qt started with a software project at the university. If I recall it correctly that was the time when I really began to try Linux/KDE. It was still KDE 1.4 back then.

Someday I wanted to see if I could do everything I normally did on my Windows system (which was not much ;) on Linux. The first thing that did not work as I wanted it to was CD burning. Especially Audio CD burning was near to impossible with the existing tools. I wanted to drag my mp3 files somewhere and click a few buttons, not manually decode the files using mpg123 and then burn the CD on the commandline or use something like xcdroast or kcreatecd. These tools simply did not provide what I needed.

So I asked myself: "Why don't you try it yourself?" And I did. The first version of K3b I released was 0.3.1 and with it the at times strange K3b versioning system started.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

No. I develop K3b completely in my spare time. No, wait, I did a three month paid internship at SuSE in Nürnberg.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Way too much if you ask my girlfriend.

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

I think KOffice should get way more attention and developers. It is promising but far from being a full replacement (Hopefully Qt 4 will fix the font and printing problems).

I understand though that not many people are interested in developing for an office suite. Open Source software is mostly created by geeks like me for geeks like me who want sophisticated tools for tasks a "normal" user has never even heard of. So we have tons of great tools for developers and highend users but lack the applications the average user needs every day (except for email applications since that's where out needs meet :) like the office applications (yes, there is Open Office but I don't like it that much and it's not a KDE application).

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Besides porting K3b, no.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

The positive feedback I get almost every day. A lot of people use the stuff I write and are happy with it.

That's what makes this so much fun.

But I also have to say that the feedback was better when K3b was not that popular. People could "discover" K3b for the first time back then. Now it is the default burning application and most users don't know anything else. So there is no "Wow, there also is something like this" effect anymore.

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

I think once we have a general-purpose package format which allows the user to easily install additional stuff we are good to go: konquer the desktop world! ;)

What is your favourite widget style?

I am using Polyester at the moment. It is clean and the menus look very good.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

XEmacs, because it's the editor a friend of mine used when he introduced me to Qt. I'd like to use KDevelop but not without an embedded Emacs. I just can't live without Ctrl-X. ;)

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Gentoo, because it's the best. These guys do a great job and created a distribution which fits my needs perfectly.

I always liked compiling everything myself and always hated rpm. This combined with my lust for bleeding-edge software (at least three "emerge sync" a week) leaves only Gentoo.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

K3b. ;) Because I kind of like it...

Ok, obvious answer. I think I have to go with the Konqueror or better it's underlying buddies KIO, KParts, and KHTML. If you ever tried things like fish (a good example for the highend tools I mentioned above) you never want to go back to a world without it. I think it's the KDE application I use the most. I used to do a lot of stuff on the console (and I still do) but there are many things I can do way more elegant in Konqueror now.

What makes you develop for KDE instead of the competition?

Easy: Qt and the KDE libs. IMHO Qt is the best Widget-library there is. It's easy, it's powerful, and it looks good. And the kdelibs are very well designed and solve so many standard problems so as a developer I can focus on the really important stuff in my application.

What does your desktop look like?

No need, my desktop is completely empty. Kicker is hidden and so are all the icons. All I have is some beautiful changing picture. At the moment it is some yellowish bamboo or something. I don't know. It looks good, though.

What type is your laptop/desktop?

Self-grown. ;)

No special brand. I regularly change components and never buy a complete system. Some Athlon-XP system with thousands of CD/DVD burners attached (well, not thousands but a lot and some more lying around).

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

Sadly I never had the pleasure of meeting any other KDE developer face to face. This is probably due to the fact that I never attend any meetings like Linux days or KDE devel conferences. :(

I am probably one of the most unknown developers maintaining such a well known application.

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

I don't know. Some parts of K3b are pretty well designed... as for KDE itself, I only contributed once: I made KPushButton honour the WhatsThis or ToolTip from the KGuiItem.

Did you go to akademy 2005?

Sadly no. It was too far and I am way too broke and I am in the middle of my diploma thesis.

Personal Questions

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

I have a girlfriend.

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

I made a KDE/K3b free weekend and it was very hard. ;)

No, she is very happy about the success of K3b and is very supportive.

Do you have any pets?

Hell, no!

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

I don't know... the black forest is pretty... but the only reason I think of it now is because I live in Freiburg which happens to be in the black forest.

Which book is on your bedside table?

A whole pile of books since I read several books at a time sometimes with big pauses. I just finished "Die Vermessung der Welt" and am currently reading "Schatten des Windes".

How would you describe yourself?

I am a perfectionist who takes his good time in perfecting the things he started.

What do you get passionate about?

Wind. No seriously, I come from northern germany and grew up with this fresh cold wind up there. I kind of miss it sometimes. And then there is chocolate.... my one addiction.

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

Listening to music all the way. I don't have a laptop. If I had one... well I think you can answer that yourself.

What is your favourite t-shirt?

A black one.

What is your favourite place in the world?

I haven't found that yet (No, it just can't be in front of the computer screen! ;)