Volker Krause

A Short Intro

The Interview

In what ways do you make a contribution to KDE?

In my spare time I'm currently working on Akonadi, the next-generation PIM data management framework. I also maintain KNode, KDE's news reader and try to keep an eye on KMime, KDE's MIME handling library.
At work I'm adding various features to Kontact, with KMail being the most prominent victim.

When did you first hear of KDE?

I started using SuSE Linux in 2000, which came with KDE 1.x as default desktop. I upgraded to KDE2 as soon as it was available and from that point on I was lost ;-)

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

After discovering that all the cool new features were only available in CVS HEAD I started to try to build KDE myself. Doing that during the development of KDE3, not knowing anything about the tools, binary compatibility, etc. and only having limited internet access didn't really help, but I finally managed to get it working well enough for my daily use in August 2002. Just a few days after that I submitted my first patch, passing the point of no return...

Here's the historical first posting: http://lists.kde.org/?l=kde-devel&m=103063021003925&w=2 ;-)

What was your most recent commit to KDE?

I worked on delegating iCal invitations yesterday, resulting in a few commits to the iCal bodypart formatter plugin of KMail.

Are you being paid to work on KDE?

I'm working on KDE-PIM for my job at Klarälvdalens Datakonsult AB since the beginning of this year, but I still contribute in my spare time.

How much time do you usually spend on KDE?

Beside the work time, I usually spend at least a few hours per week on KDE, I think the record has been 19h a day so far.

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

KDE as a development platform. Not only does it provide many powerful and flexible technologies (eg. KIO, KParts) on top of Qt (which is already a nice toolkit), but also useful tools (eg. KCachegrind) and a friendly community that helps you whenever you have questions. In short, everything you need to have fun while developing software :)

What do you think is still badly missing in KDE?

Contributors. Although we already have several hundred people contributing to KDE, we certainly are not short on work. My ideas for KDE-PIM alone could keep a whole team of developers busy for years ;-)

Do you have any plans for KDE 4?

Way too many.

I'll try to concentrate on Akonadi for now. In case that will be suddenly done, there's also the long-standing plan of merging KMail and KNode (at least internally) and cut the result into small, re-usable and exchangeable components.

What motivates/keeps you motivated to work on KDE?

It's fun. A lot :)

Working with hundreds of dedicated people all over the world on this great project, there is so much going on, it never gets boring. Learning something new every day and the continuous technical challenges keep things interesting as well.

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

There are some larger installations in the public sector, Linux and KDE are gaining some momentum there it seems. I've also seen some installations at the university, but I guess a CS department isn't really representative here ;-)

Which text editor do you use? Why?

KatePart in it's various containers (mainly KDevelop). Why? Because I actually can use it without a manual and I can bother its developers every Akademy about features I miss ;-)

Which distribution do you use? Why?

I started with SUSE and stuck with it. It usually provides everything needed for KDE development, and if that's not the case for a new dependency I know who to bother about that ;-)

What is KDE's killer app? Why?

Kontact (ok, I'm biased there slightly). It provides an amazing set of useful features.

What does your desktop look like?

What makes you contribute to KDE instead of the competition?

I have been developing on other platforms before, but I find it much easier to develop on an open-source platform. You will always find a function that doesn't work as documented, being able to look into the code then saves you a lot of time. Also, I'm not a big fan of object-orientation emulated in plain C ;-)

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

Someone with a satellite phone and a GPS receiver.

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

I'm not that crazy yet to fantasize about being a piece of software :-P

What is your most brilliant KDE hack?

Every (working) change to KMail feels like a brilliant hack ;-) SCNR

What is your most embarrassing KDE moment?

Having introduced a security-issue in a suid-root helper program. I noticed when I saw Dirk committing the fix.

Will you be going to Akademy in Glasgow this year?

I have to, Till volunteered me to do an Akonadi talk with him ;-)

Personal Questions

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

Up for adoption! ;-)

Do you have any children or pets?

Neither. And at least the pet part is unlikely to change, I like animals much more fried than alive in my apartment ;-)

Which book is on your bedside table?

None. Unfortunately I didn't have much time during the last years for reading anything not needed for my studies.

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

On a personal level, probably my family. For my professional career, I guess getting in touch with computers in the early nineties and later with free software.

Is your best friend from the physical or online world?

My best friends are from the real world.

What is the best birthday present you could receive?

More spare time.

Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?

Both make important contributions, but I slightly prefer Torvalds' pragmatism over Stallman's idealism.

How would you describe yourself?

Fulfilling most geek-prejudices ;-)

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

Within KDE, KDevelop's C++ parser looks like a tempting toy (think of refactoring tools, static code checking, etc.). Apart from that I've a large backlog of books I've collected during the past years.

What do you see from your window?

I admit that this is neither the current nor the typical weather around here though ;-)

What do you get passionate about?

Science and technology (usually in a positive way), politics (usually in a not so positive way) and politicians talking about science and technology (usually in an even less positive way).

What does "success" mean to you?

Doing something useful and having fun while doing it.

What do you do in your spare time?

You can probably guess that by now...

What is your favourite place in the world?

Give me a full fridge and internet access and I'm happy ;-)

Final Words

Stop reading and get back to work on KDE! ;-)