Stefan Westerfeld

A Short Intro

  • Located in: Hamburg, Germany
  • Occupation: Student
  • Claim to Fame: aRts
  • Fav. KDE applications: konsole ;), konqueror and all aRts-aware apps.
  • Hardware: Athlon700/256M

The Interview

What is your role within KDE?

My goal is making KDE better with regard to multimedia applications. So I am working on aRts, the basis for all sound support, sound server, multimedia application communication and so on. Ultimately I'd like to see KDE becoming a solid base for various multimedia applications in the style of sequencers like CuBase (VST) and AudioLogic, wave editors, games, video editing and so on. I'd say that my main interest is really the music part of all that.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

A long time ago (before KDE1.0), I sent some changes to Torben Weis, who was working at kfm at that time. It was about ftp/http handling in kfm. Later, I started developing ksynth, a modular analog synthesizer, and when I needed a GUI, I wrote it using KDE. I met a few KDE developers on a few occasions, but things really started getting interesting when I proposed turning ksynth into /the/ generic multimedia architecture for KDE. Well, after the KDE2 Developer meeting, where I got invited and met lots of people, it really happened, as you can see when looking at aRts ;).

How much time do you spend on KDE?

Well, that depends a bit on how much time I have left from studying. However,it is probably often more than 20 hours a week. When there is more time, especially in holidays, it can be a lot more than that.

What is your favorite tool? (for developers; what is your favorite editor?)

I really like vim. Many years ago, when I learned C, I did so using vi on a unix machine, and it simply feels very efficient to use it as editor. That's why I'd say the only chance of me switching to a something like kdevelop anytime soon would be kvim embedding in kdevelop. ;)

Is there a process you follow when you design/write code/translate/write documentation?

Usually I try to create some prototypes for everything where I don't really know whether it works, or how it would be done best. Depending on how hard the problem is, I start coding and things more or less get right after some time, or I draw some ideas on paper for some time before I start implementing it.

What was your first computer?

I started with a Televideo 803. It had already a nice green-black monitor, and the only thing that you could reasonably do with it was writing some basic programs.

Which program would you say every KDE user should have?

Konqueror. If you already have that, you might also want to install the new KDE2.1 media player. Downloading mp3's is just too boring if you can't listen to them ;).

If you could add one personal feature to KDE what would that be?

The trick is not to dream of adding a feature, but simply to do it. Hey, this is open source. Yes, you might need some time to do it. But if you really want it, take the source, learn programming (if you can't do that already), and add the feature ;-). I am doing that all the time.

What application/game would you like to see ported to KDE?

I would like to see KDE being an environment attractive to musicians. I love music, and I know that until now, if you do serious work on music with a computer (i.e. make a background music for a film, or get in the top ten, or whatever else you might define as "serious"), you are unlikely to be a KDE user. That should change, although I would like it best if that would happen without closed source software. So rather than a simple "port" of Cubase/VST or something like that, I'd like to see KDE applications filling the gap.

Where do you see yourself and KDE 2 years from now?

No idea...

Are you being paid to work for KDE and if yes by who?

No, although I wouldn't mind if anyone did that, as long as it wouldn't lead to being told what do. ;)

Personal Questions

Where and when were you born?

1978, in Freiburg, Germany.

Which University/School did you go to?

I went to school there, and then moved to Hamburg/Germany for studying "Informatik" (computer science).

What's your status, are you single and up for adoption?


Do you have children?


What are the biggest turning points/events in your life?

If you want to see it that way, I might be a totally different person (and definitely not a KDE addict), if my parents didn't one day have the funny idea that I might need a computer ;). Silly idea, really. Who needs computers?

What are the elements for a perfect vacation?

One good strategy includes beach, sand, high waves, wind and an ocean.

What do you (and your s.o) like to do in your spare time?

When I am not doing KDE, I for instance like to play the piano. I've been doing this for a very long time now, and it really is fun.

What was the last movie you have seen?

Tiger & Dragon.

What was the last fiction book that your have read?

Probably one of Terry Pratchett's DiscWorld books.

You having some friends over for a party and you're allowed to invite 3 famous people who would you invite and why?

I think I would invite Jean Michel Jarre, because he really makes nice music, perhaps William Gibson, because of his books, and maybe Linus Torvalds, to talk about realtime stuff and the mainstream kernel ;).

Did you meet your best friend (no family) virtually or in person?

In person.

Did you ever met a fellow KDE'r in person, when and where?

At the various linux events, like LinuxTag, LinuxWorld, CeBit ;-) and so on

Name your favorite quote/saying.

"Software is like sex, it's better when it's free." - Linus Torvalds