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Steve Kowalik

This weeks interviewee is Steve Kowalik. Steve is a MOTU, Ubuntu Core Developer, and Debian Developer amongst other things.

StevenK Mugshot

Age: 26
Location: Sydney, Australia
IRC Nick: stevenk

How long have you used Linux and what was your first distro?
I started using Linux in late November, 1998, and started with an install of RedHat 5.0 that I later upgraded all the way until 6.2, until I heard about reports of RedHat 7.0 (which was in RC at the
time) being very bad, even for a RedHat .0 release, and decided to switch to Debian, and installed Slink (2.1).

How long have you been using Ubuntu?
I decided to finally look at Ubuntu just after Breezy was released. I’d kept a vague eye on it, being a Debian Developer, but didn’t pay much notice. After Breezy came out, I downloaded a Live CD, and gave it a try. And liked it so much that I left it running on my machine for two days, at which point I thought I should install it.

How long have you been a MOTU and how long did it take to become one?
I became a MOTU on January the 16th, 2006. I think I had been working on Ubuntu for about two months at that point.

Favorite packages?
I will always have a soft spot for xringd, since it’s the first package I maintained in Debian. Also:

  • quodlibet
  • crack-attack

Favorite part of being a MOTU?
The community — when I first joined #ubuntu-motu, I was collared by two regulars and set to work after a little bit of a chat. :-)

But the real answer is just that, the wonderful and clueful people out there that, like me, are working to make Universe in Ubuntu better.

Any advice for people wanting to help with MOTU?
Jump in, the water’s fine. If you’re interested in helping out, there are plenty of people who are happy to answer your questions on the mailing list or #ubuntu-motu IRC channel.

Can you briefly compare the development styles of Ubuntu and Debian?
Quite different — Debian is very centered around the idea of “Here is one guy, and the packages he looks after. If you need to do anything, file a bug, and wait for him.” Ubuntu on the other hand is a small team of people working together to solve problems in Universe. We may have people that ‘maintain’ a package in Ubuntu, but only because they know it better, or have a relationship with upstream.

Any Plans for Hardy Heron?
At this point, my only plan is getting a better about window in place, one that doesn’t use yelp.

Favorite quote?
It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” — it’s quite fun to apply this to random packages.

What do you do to relax after a long day of development work?
I am employed as a developer, so to relax after a long day at work, I work on Ubuntu. I guess that doesn’t answer your question. :-)

I’ll read a book, listen to music, or play crack-attack, or WoW.

Screenshot/Pic of work area?
My screenshot is very boring – the default Gnome settings don’t get my way, so I don’t change them. A bunch of terminals in tabs, Firefox, Wanderlust/Thunderbird for reading mail, and Quod Libet playing music on the other workspace.

StevenK Screenshot

As you can see from the photo, I’m a big fan of the mentality that a messy desk is a sign of a sane mind. Sound system, machine, laptop, lots of paper – all fairly normal.

Stevenk Workarea

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