Summer of Code 2007 (3/4)

This is the third of four interviews with Summer of Code 2007 students in KDE (read the first, second).

Leo Franchi

  • Age: 19
  • Located in: Austin, Texas
  • Occupation: Sophomore, majoring in Computer Science and Philosophy.
  • Nickname on IRC: lfranchi
  • Fav. KDE applications: Amarok of course :) As well as Kate, Dolphin, and KMail.
  • Blog:

Juan González Aguilera

  • Age: 27
  • Located in: Almeria, Spain
  • Occupation: Student at University of Almeria.
  • Nickname on IRC: opsidao
  • Fav. KDE applications: KDevelop, Amarok and Konsole (or Yakuake)
  • Hardware: Athlon64_3000+, 2 GB ram, 200 GB SATA and a very cheap GeForce FX5200 performing really well on dual-head.
  • Blog:

Andrew Christian Manson

  • Age: 20
  • Located in: Dublin, Ireland, Wicklow, Ireland, and Crossgar, Northern Ireland.
  • Occupation: Student at Trinity College, Dublin doing Computer Science.
  • Nickname on IRC: real_ate
  • Fav. KDE applications: Wow, this is really tough... I would have to say Marble (no, I'm serious!), KArm ( just to keep me on the right track ), Kate and KDevelop but I really wish I understood how to use it properly ;)
  • Hardware: Nowadays I work on a Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop, it's big, heavy, and the lowest end hardware I could find - but it cost me 500 euro, and that's the kind of decisions that we students need to make.
  • Blog: - although you might not find anything interesting there because I'm really new to this blogbing stuff, so I don't keep it up and when I do I just don't know what to put in it. Maybe it might become more active soon enough...

Marcus D. Hanwell

  • Age: 27
  • Located in: Sheffield, UK.
  • Occupation: Student at the University of Sheffield doing a PhD in Physics.
  • Nickname on IRC: cryos
  • Fav. KDE applications: So many to choose from - Kile, K3b, Amarok, Digikam, Kalzium, vim and Marble.
  • Hardware: I have always been building things and taking them apart and my main desktop system is no different. I built the system from parts - dual core AMD Athlon64 4400+, 2x1GB DDR400 matched RAM modules from Corsair, XFX nVidia 6600GT PCI-E graphics card, 3x250GB Maxtor SATA hard drives set up in RAID0/1/5 using LVM2, all in a beautiful black Antec tower case with a Tagan PSU powering a couple of 17" LG TFTs using DVI.
  • Homepage:
  • Blog:

The Interview

What is your Summer of Code project for KDE?

Leo Franchi: Amarok Web Services Integration. My project is officially titled Amarok Web Services integation, but over the course of the Summer it has changed slightly. Orginally, the goal was to integrate new innovative web services into the ContextView (central QGraphicsView widget) of Amarok 2.0. During Akademy 2007 (which I was not able to attend) other members of the Amarok team suggested investigating the use of Plasma as a basis for the ContextView - and my project evolved into creating a Plasma-derived central widget for Amarok. My mentor is Seb Ruiz, and although in the first two months of the summer I had little internet connectivity, I have been in contact with him periodically.

Juan González Aguilera: Bluetooth Presence Manager (BtPM) and KDE Bluetooth KDE 4 port. I'm working on Bluetooth support for KDE 4 under the mentoring of Daniel Gollub. I chose it just because it looked interesting and I already had some hardware to work with, also since I've been a regular KDE user for a few years now, developing for KDE looked like the natural move.

Andrew Manson: GPS support for Marble. I'm working for Marble, implementing GPS support in the form of GPS tracking through GPSD (a GPS dameon that interfaces with your GPS device) and GPX support. Before starting, I was involved in a traffic control system for intelligent traffic light agents that had a knowledge of how many cars there were on the road, this led to wanting to know where exactly buses were and getting the info to the people waiting for them. When given this opportunity to learn what was necessary to track things in real-time, I was over the moon.

Marcus Hanwell: Kalzium 3D Molecular Editor. I'm working on the 3D molecular editor for Kalzium and my mentor is Benoit Jacob. I couldn't quite believe it when I saw the project description on the ideas page as it described the exact project I had wanted to work on over the last few years but hadn't been able to find. I have followed Planet KDE for quite some time and had already decided to approach Carsten to see if I could help out with the molecular visualiser for Kalzium. The research I do for my PhD is concerned with gold nanoparticles, their structure and properties. I couldn't find a decent program that could both draw and visualise molecules in 3D and so this was something I really wanted to see become a useful application. It was even better when I found out it was written in C++ using Qt and would be a part of KDE!

Is the Summer of Code your first experience of KDE development, or are you a longer-term KDE contributor?

Leo Franchi: This Summer of Code is not my first KDE development experience, as I have been associated with Amarok development before. However, I have never worked on anything even nearing to this magnitude, so it has provided me the opportunity of getting completely immersed in Amarok development.

Juan González Aguilera: I've done a little bit of Qt programming in the past, but I had no previous knowledge of KDE programming. I hope I can say I'm a long-term contributor in a few years ;)

Andrew Manson: This year is my first time ever being in an Open Source community anywhere near KDE. I have been a user for a few years, but only really got involved this year, and because of Akademy this year I really think that I'm going to stick around for a very long time. I might have been around last year sometime, but unfortunately I was never informed about Akademy 2006 - even though it was held at my own college!

Marcus Hanwell: This is pretty much my first experience of KDE development. I have been a long term developer for Gentoo Linux and work on packaging KDE there among other things so I have submitted some patches. I have wanted to get more involved in KDE development for quite some time and this seemed like a great opportunity to do that.

What was your most recent commit to KDE? How has your project progressed so far?

Leo Franchi: My most recent commit furthered the layout management code in the Plasma-derived ContextView, to deal with the location/spacing of applets that the user has chosen to see in Amarok. Schedule-wise, as I mentioned previously my project took a sharp turn about a month ago, but the change of direction has provided me with enough enthusiasm to keep hacking long hours getting Plasma into shape :) The most difficult aspect of my project in the last few weeks has been dealing with the fluidity and immaturity of Plasma code, which is to be expected with a project as young as Plasma. On the other hand, it is also exciting to be working with such a young and developing codebase.

Juan González Aguilera: The Bluetooth security stuff on Solid which must handle device pairing (half done). About my project, I must admit I've probably diverged quite a lot from my initial proposal, for good I think, and more given I was a profane on Qt/KDE development. What I proposed was from the perspective of an almost outsider, but as I went into KDE 4 modules, everything started taking shape, but a very different shape than what I thought. Anyway, the project is progressing fine and I think that, while not fully completed in the Google Summer of Code timeframe, it will produce a great package.

Andrew Manson: Well, I first heard about KDE before I knew very much about what this "Open Source" gig was. It was in the labs at college and I remember there was an argument on whether KDE or GNOME was better, I'm sure you can guess which one I agreed with ;)

Marcus Hanwell: My project has been a little strange in that sense - most of my commits have been to Avogadro, and more specifically the Avogadro library which is hosted at SourceForge. The Avogadro library is written in C++ and Qt. It implements all of the elements necessary for visualising and editing molecules using an OpenGL display. This library is then used by Kalzium to provide the 3D molecular editor functionality but it can also be used by other applications.

I think my most recent commit to KDE was actually quite some time ago when we were porting Kalzium to use an internal copy of the Avogadro library. Kalzium currently uses a snapshot of Avogadro from the start of the summer and does not expose the editing functionality yet. Our plan is to expose all the editing functionality and other advanced features in KDE 4.1 once the features have had more time to stabilise. My most recent commit to the Avogadro library was adding some functions to the GLWidget that several other tools were using, that allowed me to remove the duplicated code that was present in those tools.

I have never worked on something like this before. Some of the features I thought would be very quick to implement have taken days or even weeks, whereas some of the features I thought would be much more difficult have been completed in a matter of hours. I am getting better at spotting which is which now but it can be surprising where you end up getting stuck.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Leo Franchi: In the two weeks or so, I have been spending from 6 to 12 hours on Amarok, depending on the day and on my motivation.

Juan González Aguilera: Using it, all day. Developing for it, I would say not as much as I'd like, but quite a lot. If nothing from my real-life goes wrong/needs attention, I usually spend around 7 hours a day on it (but real-life comes up too often).

Andrew Manson: Well that's simple, all of it! I'm going to college at Trinity College, Dublin, and most of the people there should know about and use KDE! I don't really see why there shouldn't be more already, and of course the more users in a college, the more college students will hack away and everyone wins.

Marcus Hanwell: This is quite variable. I try to put in at least five or six hours a day but this summer has been full of surprises and so this has been lower at times. I also had the opportunity to meet with my mentor Benoit and spend a few days in Paris discussing my project. Along with getting my thesis in and preparing to start a new job on another continent it hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be to make time for development this Summer.

When did you first hear of KDE?

Leo Franchi: I first switched to Linux in 2004, and immediately became a Fluxbox user. After a while I found Amarok, and soon after switched to a full KDE desktop.

Juan González Aguilera: I guess it was with my second distribution, SuSE 5.1 (back in 1998), but I can't say for sure as in that time I used fvwm2 (hardware coinstraints where different then). I think is safe to say I had my first real KDE contact (i.e. use it on a daily basis) in 2000 or so, and since then I'm still waiting to see something that works better, but everything I've tried looks primitive compared to the high integration that has been present in KDE for years.

Marcus Hanwell: I think it was around 1998 when I first started using Linux with anything more than a console.

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

Leo Franchi: Personally, I think Kate is one of the most amazing and versatile text editors/IDEs. Also, digiKam is very very good at its job and I keep on finding new things it can do for me.

Juan González Aguilera: The "web shortcuts" from Konqueror, they make my life quite simpler and protect me from Carpal Tunnel ;)

Marcus Hanwell: I guess I am biased but I think the kdeedu module deserves a lot more attention as there is some really great work going into it. There is still lots more to do too and so it would be great to see more developers working on stuff in there.

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

Leo Franchi: Plasma ;) Seriously, I see nothing fundamentally missing.

Juan González Aguilera: Not badly, and not a problem from KDE itself, but I hope that someday (not too far) I could remove Firefox from my computer and use all the pages I use with the same level of functionality (read GMail and friends), but as I said, it's not really a KDE issue...

Andrew Manson: Full-scale games that real "28 out of 24 hours a day" gamers can play and want to keep playing! And I plan to fix that, along with a few of my friends when we get back to college. So just watch this space.

Marcus Hanwell: I think a great and intuitive 3D molecular editor would be awesome :) The other really big application that I would love and will need shortly is a decent, open source voice over IP application where I can sign up for an account with providers too and make calls over traditional lines and get a real phone number for it.

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Leo Franchi: All of my work in Amarok has been on our new 2.0 version, that will depend on Qt4 and will use KDE 4 technology such as Phonon and Solid. So, in a sense, all of my plans are plans for KDE 4 :) I intend on furthering the ContextView and in general working more on Amarok.

Juan González Aguilera: My work is completly directed towards KDE 4, so my plans are providing a cool Bluetooth package for it ;)

Andrew Manson: Only to use it really, both as a developer and just a plain user. I am a real newbie when it comes to KDE development, and I have yet to discover all the wonderful bits about KDE development (as opposed to Qt development). And of course, I will always carry at least 4 cds in my pocket of a distribution that has KDE 4 on it whenever that time comes ;) So if any of my friends read this, they better use KDE or take cover!

Marcus Hanwell: I would like to make sure that the 3D visualiser works really well and people know that it is there and ensure that the editor functionality is fully exposed in the 4.1 release. I would also like to make it work really well on Gentoo Linux.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE (apart from the SoC money!)?

Leo Franchi: A very large part of it is the amazing Amarok community - the people that I have met and continue to interact with on a daily basis make it worthwile. Also, the SoC provides an excuse for me to hack all summer on Amarok, which is enough motivation in itself.

Juan González Aguilera: I must say the Qt library is a big part of that, I'm amazed at the great work done by the Trolls. Also, it's just a logical move to develop for what you work with. That, and the fact that Open Source will soon rule the world are my main reasons ;)

Andrew Manson: Well, if I didn't need any money for the rest of my life I would be perfectly happy to code Open Source programs night and day, I really think that this is one of the gems of society today that something so big can survive yet still be free. I suppose I was just thrown into KDE specifically because it was my first full-scale project and I'm going to stay just because of the merits that I see in KDE above anything else.

Marcus Hanwell: I think it is important to give back and KDE has a really good community. I also think that a software becomes more complex the only way to keep making progress is to work together on open source applications.

What chances do you see in your country (and educational institution) for KDE as a desktop platform?

Leo Franchi: I am afraid in my educational institution Windows and Mac systems are the norm; the few UNIX boxes that they have for development are Solaris. Country-wise, I must confess that I do not follow the politics of Open Source in the US as much as I probably should, so I cannot give a proper answer.

Juan González Aguilera: Let me tell you something that happened in my university. A few years ago, they realized it was time to find an online solution to handle students inscriptions. As was logical, given they have a medium-sized Computer Science department, they started working on it in-house, so they could keep control over their software. With this in mind, and a short four month timeframe, they started working on the project, and all was good. They kept working, and as the Summer approached and time consumed, they even delayed their vacations to have it ready for the September inscriptions. September arrived, and the online inscription system was almost ready, not enough safe to bring it online, but enough to allow all students to inscribe in specially prepared classrooms, people from Computer Science department were happy, the work was almost done and already usable but... then came the "thinking minds", and decided it was a much better idea to buy a (very expensive) closed-source solution which required a lifetime maintenance contract and special bills for things like "adding a new course". Now, judge yourself, I say KDE (and Linux) will have a chance in my country when "thinking minds" actually start thinking. Of course we use Linux in some classes, but that's just anecdotic.

Andrew Manson: Well, I don't think that there is enough information about the merits of Open Source floating around the country for it to be booming anytime soon, so that's why I have decided to start an Open Source society in my college next year. Of course, because I'm starting it, I can put a bit of my bias towards KDE to all the members ;)

Marcus Hanwell: Right now I don't think it is great. I installed and run a Gentoo Linux server that gives all members of my research group access to a KDE desktop. The IT centres are all Microsoft and my university seems to be very biased towards Microsoft although Linux is used in individual groups and some departments.

Which text editor do you use? Why?

Leo Franchi: Kate - it is simple, fast, and does exactly what I want it to. Amazing.

Juan González Aguilera: For the shell, nano. In X, for random files Kate, to code C/C++ Kdevelop (and so, also Kate indirectly) and for Java (yes, I too do Java ;P) Netbeans embedded editor.

Andrew Manson: It has to be Kate whenever I can. It is just so simple! If I want an editing suite, I'll use one, but if I want a text editor, all I want to do is to edit text. And apart from that, there is a certain beauty in the very simple layout.

Marcus Hanwell: I use a mixture of vim, Kate and KDevelop. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses and I haven't decided which one I like best.

Which distribution do you use? Why?

Leo Franchi: On my main system I run Gentoo Linux - configuration tools are outstanding, but mostly I know how it works very well and don't want to throw away the years of administration knowledge I have amassed just to change distro. Currently, I am running Kubuntu triple-booted with OS X and WinXP on a Macbook Pro.

Juan González Aguilera: Right now I'm using OpenSUSE to test it, but I usually have Kubuntu, because it has a huge package collection and is quite fast (not like OpenSUSE, which keeps locking for a few seconds at random times).

Andrew Manson: Kubuntu, and I don't have a reason why. Right now (at the time of answering this question), I am not really that happy with Kubuntu, because I've just learned that they have only 2 runlevels by default. I don't know very much about that, but I know that when I want to go and try some stuff, I want it to be there for me to try! if anyone can suggest some of the merits of other distributions, then please contact me, I need some enlightenment!

Marcus Hanwell: Gentoo Linux. I liked the distribution so much I became a developer. I think it is a very powerful distribution and its bad points irritate me less than the bad points of other distributions. Before I came across Gentoo Linux I had tried most of the other big distributions too. Gentoo allows you to install exactly what you want, with only the features you are going to use. It also doesn't have too many irritating applications that second guess what is happening and change configuration file or ask you stupid questions too often.

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

Leo Franchi: I am *slightly* biased... but it must be Amarok to me. It is why I switched to KDE in the first place. Kate is also essential to my usage of KDE.

Juan González Aguilera: I have two favorites. In one hand, Klipper because he remembers things for me in a very tiny and solid way, and my life would be much harder without it (but one just realizes how useful it is when it's missing, say with me "Windows clipboard sucks!"). On the other hand, Amarok, my all-time partner in the computer, as they say - "Rediscover your music".

Andrew Manson: KDevelop! Why? Because I don't understand how to use it! It's just like the view of a cockpit in a plane, so many buttons and you don't have a clue what half of them do... but it looks pretty. Oh, that, and KArm, that should be used by everyone all the time!

Marcus Hanwell: I think it is probably Digikam for me - I am a keen amateur photographer and in the latest releases it really has a killer feature set for me. I love how they have kept it very plugin-based too.

What does your desktop look like?

Leo Franchi: I use an excessive amount of virtual desktops, each has its own maximised window, but my sandbox desktop is as shown:

Juan González Aguilera:

Andrew Manson: At the moment, my desktop is just the Kubuntu default, I recently had to reload and haven't had a chance to make the computer "mine" again.

Marcus Hanwell: You really don't want to see my desk right now as I have just submitted my thesis and it is a mess with papers, books and drafts strewn all over the place. My desktop is spread across two screens - I tend to edit source in one and then look at the program/output in the other.

What attracts you to Open Source? What makes you contribute to KDE instead of the competition?

Leo Franchi: I contribute to KDE instead of the competition because simply, there is no other app like Amarok, and because the Qt/KDE libraries make C++ development relatively painless. Qt is such a leap over any other similar framework that once you are used to it, there is no going back.

Juan González Aguilera: Closed-source software is so boring that I don't think I would spend my time there, also the dynamics behind big Open Source projects are very attractive, and as I said, it's logical since it's what I use. I suppose all this comes from the freedom tag attached to Free and Open Source software, which in turn is the source for those good things. About working with KDE instead of the competition, well, as long as they do things in a way I don't like, I won't use/develop with them.

Andrew Manson: If you knew me from college you'd know that I'm a walking advertisement for Open Source, so we don't need to worry about attracting me to it. I suppose it is just as said above, it might sound corny, but I think that Open Source is one of the truly good things about society today. And why KDE? Well in truth, it could have been anyone, but with such a good welcome and impressive coder/code base I don't think I could even look at the competition.

Marcus Hanwell: I think that open source is very important, making the source available allows you to learn from what others have done, it also allows you to improve the code of the programs you use and build upon the work of those who went before you. I contribute to KDE rather than the competition for a number of reasons: C++, Qt, the quality of the libraries and applications and also because the community is so nice.

Are you planning on continuing your work in KDE after the Summer of Code concludes?

Leo Franchi: Yes, I plan to continue to be a part of the Amarok project, especially until the first Amarok 2.0 release.

Juan González Aguilera: Sure, that's my plan right now, but life happens and nobody can say anything for sure. I just hope nothing stops me from taking the Bluetooth package to the next level, the fourth concretely.

Andrew Manson: Oh yeah! Like I said above, I see that there should be more "gamer style" games in Open Source, and I would like to get a few of the guys from college and sort that out myself, give what I have to offer to KDE.

Marcus Hanwell: Yes, although I will be starting a new job on another continent and so it is not clear how much time I will have available to do so. I certainly intend to keep working on the 3D elements of Kalzium and the Avogadro library.

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

Leo Franchi: I don't think anything that I have done can qualify as a 'brilliant hack' yet :)

Juan González Aguilera: I wouldn't call it brilliant, but I like my Plasma Bluetooth data engine because it solves a huge problem with concurrent service searches (but it still needs some more hacking to completely solve it).

Andrew Manson: Oh, I don't have any really, apart from my own work, but watch this space... I have big plans ;)

Marcus Hanwell: Not sure I have one yet - give me some more time and hopefully I will come up with one!

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

Juan González Aguilera: Given my bad memory, I would love to be Klipper (as you might have noticed, I use it quite a lot), silently remembering your selections.

Andrew Manson: I'd be somewhere in kdelibs, so that I could be silent in the background and make sure the whole show goes ahead without a hiccup.

Marcus Hanwell: Not sure - may be Plasma as that looks like an awesome framework that will be very pleasing visually.

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

Leo Franchi: Probably the times that I have broken Amarok trunk :)

Juan González Aguilera: Thankfully I had no embarrasing KDE moment yet (apart from some stupid questions I've asked on IRC ;)...

Andrew Manson: Oh that has to be Akademy, all of it! It was kinda embarrassing being such a clear newbie with all these KDE black belts walking around me all the time. But it didn't put me off, I'll be one of those black belts some day.

Marcus Hanwell: I was adding child widgets to a tools configuration widget and convinced myself I couldn't do it the nice, simple and intuitive way I tried first. Reported it to the development list for Avogadro, I think Donald suggested I did it how I had first tried and I told him it didn't work and it just segfaulted. He did it, supplied a patch and it worked perfectly just as you would expect it to. I felt pretty embarrassed that day.

Were you at Akademy in Glasgow this year? Will you go to the conference next year?

Leo Franchi: Unfortunately I was not able to attend this year, but I definitely want to try to be there next year.

Juan González Aguilera: I didn't go this year because I had exams until way too late to go, but hopefully I will be able to attend next year (fingers crossed).

Andrew Manson: Yes and yes. I didn't know something like this existed, in spite of it being held in my college last year! I just didn't know it was there... but I think I'll make a habit of going now, it really taught me a lot and I want to get into the whole thing a lot deeper.

Marcus Hanwell: I was there this year and had a great time. I hope that I will be able to make it next year too.

Personal Questions

What course do you do, and what educational institution do you attend?

Leo Franchi: I'm going to be a Sophomore at Tufts University (in Medford, MA - down the road from Cambridge/Boston), studying Computer Science and Philosophy.

Juan González Aguilera: I'm on my last year as a Computer Science undergraduate at the University of Almeria, a public institution without great pretensions, but at the sea border of Southern Europe (== sunny place) which is a good reason itself to study here.

Andrew Manson: Computer Science at Trinity College, Dublin.

Marcus Hanwell: I am just completing my PhD in physics at the University of Sheffield. I have been researching the physical and structural properties of thiol encapsulated gold nanoparticles and their thin films.

Tell us about your educational institution...

Leo Franchi: Tufts University is a pretty small-sized university right outside Boston. We're best known for our Political Science department... Our mascot is also Jumbo (the elephant :)

Juan González Aguilera: I've nothing interesting to say about it, it is just another public university.

Andrew Manson: This is a hard one... Trinity College is a very big landmark in the center of Dublin, and is a place that hundreds of tourists flock to every day during the Summer. There is so much to say about it, that's why there are 10 euro tours around the place available - but honestly, I have never had an interest in history, so I don't know anything about what they say. All I do know is that the Book of Kells, a very famous Celtic relic calls Trinity College its home. (pictures are available from if they are ok to use, or you could just link here to it )

Marcus Hanwell: The University of Sheffield is a red brick university situated near the centre of Sheffield. Sheffield is a nice green city and the university has quite a few green spaces. There is a lot of investment here and it is a great place to work if you are into science or engineering.

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

Leo Franchi: Not quite sure, besides the usual suspects of parents and friends and whatnot.

Juan González Aguilera: I can't answer to this as I can't find any good answer which doesn't involve somebody disappointed, sorry ;P

Andrew Manson: Well, I don't believe that you can answer this question, because every second you are influenced by everything that passes near you. You can't avoid being changed every second, or maybe that's just my philosophy. I like to be able to change with the wind and go wherever my mind wishes to dwell, I suppose you could say that my current girlfriend of a year and a half has been the most constant influence on my live.

Marcus Hanwell: Probably science and reason. I think they are central to a happy life. I was brought up attending Roman Catholic schools but realised quite early on that I really didn't believe in what they were teaching. I did however find science and reason had all of the answers and I think that my belief that this is the only life we get makes me into a more caring, compassionate person.

Is your best friend from the physical or online world?

Leo Franchi: Physical world. I have yet to meet someone in person that I have only talked to online (I think).

Juan González Aguilera: From the physical world, but is hard to say which of them is the best.

Andrew Manson: God, I'm going to be killed for this, but I would have to say that my best friend from college is Christopher La Pat. He's in my year and although we had a few problems last year, I would still consider him my best friend by far. But there is also a best friend from home, it all depends on where I am at the moment. My best friend from home is without a doubt Stephen O'Brien. I suppose that we get on so well because we are so similar in our internal struggles but even saying that, we are so different in some respects.

Marcus Hanwell: Physical. I know quite a few people from the online world too but still much prefer meeting people in person. It was great to be able to actually meet my mentor in real life after working with him for so long.

What is the best birthday present you could receive?

Leo Franchi: Friendship.

Juan González Aguilera: Just that my people remember it, and call me! (ok, a remunerated FLOSS-related job would do well too ;))

Andrew Manson: That's easy! A bag of money!!! Only kidding. I really don't have a favourite present, but the best kind would be one that I can see has had a great deal of thought gone into it. I like to think that the people I know me actually know me as a person.

Marcus Hanwell: A Honda CBR600F! I haven't ridden a motorbike in years and that is my dream bike.

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?

Leo Franchi: I try to avoid ideological wars, but I have a slight tendency to lean towards Stallman in theory (in practice I don't really care).

Juan González Aguilera: Mmmm, maybe Stallman because of his philosophical deepness and strict standards, but I also like the pragmatism of Linus Torvalds... hard decission, may I call the 50/50 lifeline?

Andrew Manson: Richard Stallman hands down. If you have noticed already, my attitude towards Open Source is mostly on a moral ground. I like the ideals of it, the ideas, and the goodness that it seems to communicate. Yes, I know that Linux is a fantastic example of Open Source and would mostly stand on the same moral ground as Richard Stallman's ideals, but I think that I am more behind the ideas and ideals than the implementations.

Marcus Hanwell: I see arguments on both sides but I think ultimately I am with Richard Stallman. There are things I have heard both of them say that I disagree with though. I think the GPL and the philosophy proposed by Richard Stallman for software development is very worthwhile.

How would you describe yourself?

Leo Franchi: Not someone you would immediately classify as a geek... none of my physical friends bar one have ever heard of Linux in the first place.

Juan González Aguilera: I wouldn't describe myself, I leave that task to others.

Andrew Manson: In simple terms, I would say that I am a person that dwells in the mind. I think about everything and I believe that whatever you have in your head, be it memories or knowledge, is all that you will ever have.

Marcus Hanwell: Honest, thoughtful and fun-loving. I try to make the best of life and enjoy myself but there is also a lot I want to get done and learn about. I have never been great at describing myself though - possibly too self-critical too ;)

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

Leo Franchi: Take more classes, read more books, spend time with my friends.

Juan González Aguilera: Visit my friends in my hometown.

Andrew Manson: Learn. I would learn everyting that I could, not even just within my course. I'd scroll through every possible tutorial that I could find, read any publication scientific of not, live my life in the library, and aim to know it all.

Marcus Hanwell: Programming I think - especially the OpenGL, simulations of physical systems and trying to understand how it all works.

What do you see from your window?

Leo Franchi: Well, for the first half of the Summer I was in a small town on the northern coast of Sardinia (large island south of Corsica), but now I am back in Austin, Texas.

Juan González Aguilera: The sea... like 3km away and between the buildings, but it's there, look at the picture to see if you can find it ;)

Andrew Manson: Well, right now I don't have a window, but at home I can see Ballymoyle Hill, maybe the first of the hills before the Wicklow mountains. It's a great sight.

Marcus Hanwell: Some grass, a large tree and more houses.

What do you get passionate about?

Leo Franchi: Computers, philosophy, politics, it's not too hard to get me into a passionate discussion.

Juan González Aguilera: Hey, I'm from southern Spain, we get passionate for almost anything ;). My fiancee, who is from Uruguay, would even say we get too passionate, but ... seriously, what really warms me up is conscious-ignorance, when people build strong opinions only in the base of their own suppositions.

Andrew Manson: Open Source really, that's what I'm passionate about right now. That, and learning.

Marcus Hanwell: Understanding things, finding the answers, constantly assessing the evidence presented to me, innovating, programming, learning, scuba diving and travel whenever I get the opportunity.

What does "success" mean to you? What do you want to do after you graduate?

Leo Franchi: Happiness. I think i'll take a year off after college, maybe work, travel, who knows? Then go back to graduate school for my Ph.D, although i'm not sure yet if I want to purse Computer Science or Philosophy...

Juan González Aguilera: It depends on the context, but I would say that being happy with what you do is a great success per se. After graduating, I would love to make a living with what I like most, writing Open Source software.

Andrew Manson: Success is not having to ever worry about money. That is not to say that you would have a million euro coming in every day, but just simply that it is not a priority in your life. If you decided to grow your own food, build your own house and live on 100 euro a month and only had to busk for that money every Saturday, that would count as success in my book.

Marcus Hanwell: Working in a job you enjoy with other intelligent and interesting people. I have been lucky enough to find a postdoctoral position at Pittsburgh in the US. So I will be working out there for a few years doing computational simulations and experimental work in the chemistry department there. I am really looking forward to it as it is a great opportunity to do more of the research I enjoy in what looks like a beautiful city. I also get to travel to another part of the world.

What do you do in your spare time?

Leo Franchi: Too many things :) Rock climbing, biking, backpacking, reading, coding.

Juan González Aguilera: Spare what? ;) right now I have no spare time, but in the times that I do have it, I like to spend time with my friends doing anything, no matter what it is as far as it's with good friends.

Andrew Manson: Gardening or running. I'm trying to be a bit of a fitness freak at the moment to get back to the fitness that I used to have. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

Marcus Hanwell: Scuba diving, photography, try to keep fit, spend time with my wife and dog. I also work on KDE development whenever I get the chance in between sorting out the 101 other things life throws at me.

What is your favourite place in the world?

Leo Franchi: Hard to answer, but I think the town where I grew up - Palo Alto, California. Unfortunately my family moved to Austin last summer, but nevertheless I hope to return to Silicon Valley in the future.

Juan González Aguilera: My bed, it's the best place I've ever been, and the only one where I always want to come back ;)

Andrew Manson: The top of Ballymoyle Hill behind my house. There is a pillar there to mark the top of the hill that I like to call the "Wow" pillar, because anyone that I have brought up there and got to stand on that pillar has looked around, and the first thing that they have said was "Wow". It is truly a breathtaking sight.

Marcus Hanwell: I think it would have to be the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt - some of the most spectacular scuba diving I have ever done in my life.

Final Words

Andrew Manson: I know that you all probably think that i'm a walking advertisement for Open Source by now, but I wouldn't blame you because it's the truth! I feel like it's my job to spread the word, because I feel so passionately about it. I hope that I might be able to make a difference, in this game, knowledge is power, and the more people that know about us the more strength we'll have against all of the competition.

Marcus Hanwell: I would like to thank all the people who voted for my application especially Carsten and Benoit for their help and support as I have worked on this project. I hope that they are happy with the work that I have done so far and I am really happy that I was given this opportunity. I have met some really interesting people in the course of this work and love being a part of the KDE community. I just hope the work I have done is useful to others and will be used.