Desktop Team interview: Sebastian Heinlein

This time we present you Sebastian Heinlein, who’s been doing amazing work in the last months.

If you want to know more about the Desktop Team, check this page. We have lots of places to get involved in.

Short info: Bavarian local patriot

IRC nick name: glatzor

City: Vierkirchen (near Dachau), Germany

Age: approaching 30 next year



When did you join the Ubuntu Desktop Team or for how long have you been involved with Ubuntu? How did you get involved there?

My Open Source commitment is closely connected to the person of Michael Vogt. I knew him from the old Synaptic days which was the first project I was involved in. I started with translation, then documentation and finally made some user interface suggestions that have been implemented by Michael.

After a nearly one year long break I installed Ubuntu in January 2006 and reported a bug about user interface issues in gnome-app-install. I was quite surprised getting an answer from Michael, since I wasn’t aware that he had joined Canonical. In the following he supported me a lot by introducing me to the infrastructure and community of Ubuntu.

What have you been working on since then?

Mainly on application development and user interface polishing. E.g. I reworked the gnome-app-install and software-properties user interface and did some smaller contributions to other apps. Furthermore I am the admin of the German translation team.

What do you think is most important as a new contributor? What helped you most on your way as a new contributor to the team?

Feeling welcome. I cannot remember any question that has not been answered by a member of the team.

What do you want to work on next?

I am currently working with mvo and bryce on getting a graphics card and screen configuration tool into Gutsy, which is based on the displayconfig backend of KDE guidance:

[FAQ: Currently we don’t support applying dual head changes instantly or more than two screens]

If you are interested in such a tool feel free to join our efforts! Give it a try and report bugs!

What do you like about Ubuntu?

The success. At first it allows nearly novice users to install a Linux based operating system. This is really great! Secondly I am a quite opportunistic person and it’s a nice, and also sometimes a scaring, feeling having the chance to work on a product that influences the computer experience of several million people.

It is a great opportunity to get into contact with a lot of open-hearted and productive people.

What would you like to see improved in Ubuntu?

I have got the impression that there is a tendency towards an elite thinking in some parts of the community. I understand the valid interest of Canonical that everyone should use their infrastructure, but I don’t know why it is necessary for community members to e.g. bash automatix. Since Ubuntu is still growing it is quite easy for people without a long standing Open Source history to fill free space in the project and a lot of institutions are duplicated under the Ubuntu umbrella. We should always remember ourselves to be open minded and that collaboration is a two sided thing.

In short Ubuntu has got a lot of momentum and attractiveness and it would be sad to see if it turns into a black hole.

How does your virtual desktop and your real desktop look like?

Both are cluttered default desktops.

What do you do in your free time?

Do you really want to ask this a volunteer? :)

Try to answer quickly, what do you think of, when you hear… …food?

No milk today!


Final exams … so bad topic …


Cold conference rooms in a Spanish cellar.

Anything you’d like to add…?

Tribute to all the people who support the Ubuntu project and the Free software movement by donating a lot of love and time, but who don’t have got the chance to be represented on!


670 Words

2007-07-04 18:08 +0200

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