Wolfram Diestel

A Short Intro

  • Located in: Leipzig, Germany
  • Occupation: Software developer, now at home caring for my daughter
  • Claim to Fame: Translations to Esperanto
  • Fav. KDE applications: KBabel, KMail, KNode, Konqueror
  • Hardware: Duron 700, 128 MB, 15" monitor

The Interview

What is your role within KDE?

Primarily, I'm a KDE user who uses two non ASCII languages, German and Esperanto, and so really needs Unicode. That's why from time to time I complain a little bit about lacking of user Unicode support in KDE. But there is much improvement between KDE 2.0 and KDE 2.1 in this field. Ok and I'm translating KDE to Esperanto. Thus I'm playing an extra role.

How and when did you get involved in KDE?

Around the releasing time of KDE 1.0 there was an article in a computer magazin, which mentioned that KDE is translated into many languages, and that they are planning more languages, among them Esperanto. So I tried to find out, who would make this translation and got an email address, but this man didn't respond to my mail. Thus I tried to make such a translation by myself to fulfil their prophecy :)

That time, I couldn't know that some months later there would be so many applications with thousands of messages...

How much time do you spend on KDE?

Some days several hours, other days none.

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

To do my translation work I use KBabel. Probably, without that great tool I would give up - as a one man translation team.

Is there a process you follow when you code?

Regularly I translate all the new and fuzzy messages produced by the diligent developers every day and before releases I try out all the applications to find inconsistencies and errors in my translations. I'd also like to get another team member for prove-reading the po-files it selves. There are error messages normally hidden from the user, but when they appear they are important in order to find out the cause of a problem.

What are the problems you encounter while translating?

Mostly before releases it's difficult to build a complete working KDE version which is necessary for trying out all the translated applications.

Another problem is, that developers tend to improve the messages just before the releases. Thus, there is a lot of translation work some days before the releases, but idle time between them. And yes, I really need a proof reader.

How many people are working on the translations?

Esperanto translations? Only me.

Do you get reactions from the people who use your translations?

From time to time I read a comment in soc.culture.esperanto like: "Hey, now Linux is translated to Esperanto too, that's fine". They don't know that's "only" KDE what they see on the screen.

See, Esperanto speaking KDE users are an intersection of two minorities (comparing to other languages and other OSes). Though, at the moment there is probably only a dozen of users of my work. Yes, it's a little bit crazy to do it just now, but hopefully both minorities will grow, and some day any of them will be a majority. But it's a challenge to translate this tech speech to a normal language ;-) Often I have to invent new terms...

What was your first computer?

In school we learned Basic with a KC 86, this was the first real GDR home computer. My first own computer was a C 64, which I got from my parent's friends from oversea. I created some sea sound with sea gull cries and an aquarium for our TV with it. Good old times!

Which program would you say every KDE user should have?

startkde - without it it's very difficult to launch. ;-)

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

A telepathic user interface would be very handy. I'm sitting too much in front of the screen just typing millions of letters. A tool more easier to implement would be a universal keyboard, which could solve all the problems with typing different languages.

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

I'd like an application to digitalize and cut my videos. But this is a hardware problem, too.

Where do you see yourself and KDE 2 years from now? (was 5 years, a lot of people had problems looking into the future ;-))

Oh, you decreased the number of years! Surely I will sit here translating the million-th message. KDE will be on a lot more desktops. And it will be translated into a lot more languages. But the normal Linux user will not know, that's KDE, not just Linux, what draws the nice widgets everywhere on the screen.

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

No, at the moment I only get money from my wife for caring for my daughter :-)

Personal Questions

Where and when were you born?

15 km from here, in Zwenkau, 32 years ago.

Which University/School did you go to?

10 years POS, 2 years EOS, surely you don't know this school types, they were the normal ones in Eastern Germany. I studied Maths at Leipzig University.

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


If married/girlfriend/partner(m/f), how does he/she cope living with a KDE addict?

I'm more addicted to Esperanto then KDE. Thus, it's the wrong question. Though you will get the wrong answer as well: she read my translation of the "Never Ending Story" (a fantasy story by Michael Ende), so I think she can live with it. Hopefully KDE will be a never ending story, too.

Do you have children?

Yes a two years old daughter. But there will be four of us in April. ;-)

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

My birth and may be my death some time. Between them the demonstrations we had in Leipzig in 1989 and the birth of my daughter were very exciting. Don't know what the future will bring to me.

What is the nicest thing anyone ever did for you?

My daughter, she is the nicest girl on earth :) I asked my wife how she did it, which tools she used for coding, but she didn't reveal that to me.

If your house is on fire what would be the first thing you would grab to take with you?

My daughter :)

What are the elements for a perfect vacation?

Good boots, komfortable backpack and an impressive nature with many mountains to walk up and down...

What are the things you want to have done before you die?

To be able to die peacefully at the end of my life, and to leave some tracks behind me.

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

What's this, spare time? If there is nothing other to do we simply do nothing, but normally that state doesn't persist longer than some minutes.

What was the last movie you have seen?

I forgot it. May be The Matrix.

What was the last fiction book that your have read?

The Hitchhikers Guide through the Galaxy, if this is a fiction book.

What song brings back a favorite memory? And why?

"Blaue Wimpel im Sommerwind..." - no, to be honest, I don't know.

If you could be invisible for 2 hours where would you go and what would you do?

This is a difficult question. I could not go very far from here within two hours. May be at first I would go to the mirror, than I would get weird and thus fall into the bed ;-)

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

This wouldn't be a nice party with such famous people, isn't it?
Ok, when I _have_ to invite them, may be Albert Einstein, Albert Schweizer and Archimedes, but I cannot speak greek.

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

There was no internet when I met my old school friend.

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


Name your favorite quote/saying.

Donu la paciencon akcepti la neshangheblajn aferojn, donu la forton ekagi pri la shangheblaj aferoj kaj la saghecon distingi ambau.
Excuse me for not translating it. There are dictionaries at dictionaries.travlang.com ;-)