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…

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!

Desktop Team interview: Fernando Ribeiro

This time we present you Fernando Ribeiro, who’s been doing great 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: I’m an open source enthusiast.
IRC nick name: fernando
City: Brasília, Brazil
Age: 26

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

I joined the Ubuntu desktop team really more or less three months ago. I’ve been working with packages and bug fixes to ubuntu (feisty and gutsy). I love the gnome project in all of it’s aspects.

How did you get involved there?

I spent a long time looking for a project to contribute. Then I found ubuntu. Studying a little of packages and helping with packaging.

What have you been working on since then?

I’ve been helping with bugs, developing bughelper and packaging some updates to gnome, fwbuilder, atk and others. You can check the full list at

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?

To be a new contributor it’s necessary to know what you are expecting, and where the project needs most help. I see the project as a piece of a bigger world. You can be part (a little piece) of the world. Mr. Daniel Holbach and Mr. Sebastian Bacher have help me in my way to create a better piece 😉 Thank you.

What do you want to work on next?

I’m in MOTU process with dholbach my mentor. I have hope that he has patience with me =).

What do you like about Ubuntu?

What called my attention in ubuntu was the easiness of contact with the responsible people for the project. That is sufficiently interesting, therefore, I felt isolated without this contact in other distributions. The Desktop is really great, easy, clean, fast and power. My wife is using it and loving it =)

What would you like to see improved in Ubuntu?

The file sharing needs a good review. The ACLs support for file sharing needs a good review too. For enterprise use ubuntu needs a better integration between calendar, mail, chat, editor and file sharing.

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

My virtual desktop has many terminals, xchat, gnome-ppp, music-applet, rhythmbox and firefox (my igoogle have mail, calendar, reader, gtalk, todo and docs).

My real desktop is hp dv4015cl laptop (yes, i need a upgrade =)) and a hp dc5750. The pink thing over the monitor is our “luser” that we spank some times after talking to the users. (look the knife in the head) The 3D eyeglasses are the my solution to my daltonism problem, so everything gets really messed. =)

What do you do in your free time?

I have dedicated my free time to packaging and studying to ITIL certifications.

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

Brazilian, feijoada, rabada, vaca atolada.




Rest =)

…website? is my friend =)

Anything you’d like to add…?

Good work for all and congratulations to this great project.

Community News

The last weeks in Ubuntu’s Development community have been absolutely awesome. The Ubuntu Development family is growing and growing.

Lots of good stuff is happening in the MOTU team:

  • Our MOTU Wiki General Emmet Hikory has worked his way through the whole MOTU wiki namespace and came up with what he modestly calls “some review notes”. Together with our new MOTU Wiki Guidelines I’m sure we’ll make good progress at making more sense out of the MOTU Wiki. If you want to help out, talk to persia or me, dholbach, on IRC and we’ll get our working list cleaned up in no time.
  • Good news from the MOTU Documentation department. New MOTU Recipes have been flowing in the last days. If you never looked into packaging before, these recipes will get you from zero to hero in just a few minutes time. Once you’ve played with the basic tools for a bit, it’ll be easy to get started on helping out.
  • MOTU Events!
    • NEXT MOTU MEETING: June 29, 2007 at 11:00 UTC (details)
    • NEXT Universe HUG Day: June 23, 2007 (details)
    • NEXT Q&A Sessions: July 28, 2007 at 0:00 UTC and 12:00 UTC (#ubuntu-classroom on

The Derivatives team just

  • announced its new mailing list.
  • announced the next meeting.
  • asked for participation in Derivatives Brainstorming – this is your chance as a member of a Derivative to shape the forms of collaboration.

Lots of exciting stuff going on in the BugSquad and BugHelper team too…

The Desktop team has been working very very hard and new contributors are shaping up very nicely. New Desktop Team Interviews are in the pipeline too.

Desktop Team Interview: Martin Pitt

The Desktop Team has been kicking ass lately. Over the coming weeks we’ll introduce some key members of the team to you. We’ll start off with security master and king of language-packs Martin Pitt.

Short info: Automated problem feedback/i18n/Utopia/Security
IRC nick name: pitti
City: Dresden
Age: 27
Website: (not maintained for ages)


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

I started working for Canonical in August 2004, literally only days after finishing my uni diploma. Besides adopting the security chair, I almost instantly fell in love with the Utopia project and thus worked on handling of hotpluggable devices in the Gnome desktop.

How did you get involved there?

I think this was rather accidental :-). I got an USB stick at that time and wondered how to make support for those fully automatic and painless. At the same time I worked on improving the security of HAL, the daemon that keeps track of all hardware changes. From then on it was only a tiny step to working on the desktop side as well.

What have you been working on since then?

I do not work on the actual “front-end” applications, but rather care about various parts of plumbing underneath it: language packs and other internationalization, automatic problem feedback (, granny-friendly handling of restricted device drivers, and lots of small things and bug fixes.

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?

The first and foremost requirement for a new contributor is having an idea what he is interested in doing. Free Software development is about fun and collaboration, and thus you should be passionate about the things you are going to tackle and find the right people and teams to work in. Getting to know those teams as well as the established procedures is taking time, of course, so you should start with bitesize things and grow, instead of despairing on a huge project which you start right away.

What do you want to work on next?

I need to fix some things in the recently established automatic duplicate detection in apport, improve the workflow and privacy of crash bugs, do some improvements for restricted-manager, and manage the release of Tribe-2.

What do you like about Ubuntu?

As a user I like the focus on usability, simplicity, and predictability (release cycles and lifetime). I can finally recommend this to some less tech savvy friends as well as to users in a commercial environment.

As a developer I enjoy the open, friendly, and motivated community, and I am proud to be part of it. Over the years we found behaviours and processes which make it relatively easy and encouraging to start working on Ubuntu without compromising on the quality of the core parts.

What would you like to see improved in Ubuntu?

In the following releases until the next LTS I would like to draw more focus on QA and bug fixing and slow down feature development. We still have way too many bugs, some really important ones are outstanding for years already.

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

Virtual: Pretty boring, I think 🙂 Terminals, two xchat windows, mutt, and firefox.

Real: I abhor paper and strive to keep everything in electronic form, so my desk usually only contains food (water, juice, sweets, breakfast, etc.)

What do you do in your free time?

I have done Taekwondo for some years, enjoy biking, table tennis, and hiking. But of course I spend a lot of what could be called “free time” on the computer as well, mainly on Debian projects (PostgreSQL mainly). Since someone posted that “top 8 Linux games” blog, I actually started playing games again, right now “Battle of Wesnoth”.

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

Lasagne, salad, chocolate, and ice cream


Douglas Adams, a truly amazing guy. And Ken Follet, you just can’t stop reading a book from him.


Sometimes biking/tenting/swimming/relaxing, sometimes discovering cities and get sore feet from walking.


Ugh, nothing spontaneous at the moment, I’m afraid.

Let The Good Times Roll

Going with the ‘Holy Holbach’ theme, my brother made another kick-ass picture.
  1. Ben Westbeech & Die – Get Closer (Lover’s Mix) (Brownswood 009)
  2. Utah Jazz – The Only One (Liquid V 019)
  3. Electrosoul System & Subwave – One (Phuzion 008)
  4. Nu:Tone – Beatnik (Hospital 120)
  5. Kabuki – Speed Of Sound (Makoto Remix) (Precision Cuts 027)
  6. SKC – Pain (Brookes Brothers RMX) (Critical 024)
  7. Nu:Tone – The Things That Lovers Do (Hospital 113)
  8. London Elektricity – Power Ballads (Hospital 095)
  9. Sonic & Silver – Get Together (Sonic 017)
  10. DJ Marky & Bungle – Codename A.1 (Innerground 015)
  11. Drumsound – Let The Good Times Roll (Bingo 067)
  12. DJ Marky & XRS – LK (Scorpio aka. Roni Size & DJ Die Remix) (V Rec 038)

ubuntu-dev mentoring

MOTU Mentors logoI’m extremely proud of the new way MOTU is going to approach new contributors. Thank you everybody for contributing ideas to it.

The only thing before we get started is: we need more mentors. (Thank you: Reinhard Tartler, Emmet Hikory, Luke Yelavich, Brandon Holtsclaw, Sebastian Dröge, Raphaël Pinson and Sébastien Bacher for mentoring already.)

If you

  • know your way around in packaging and development processes and know who is who in the Ubuntu Community,
  • want to guide somebody through the initial steps as a Ubuntu developer,
  • have some small tasks (like easy merges, easy bugs, easy package updates, etc.) you want to let somebody else work on

please consider joining the MOTU Mentors and get in touch with the Mentoring Reception today.

Moments Of Lust

  1. High Contrast – Brief Encounter (Hospital 077)
  2. DJ Andy & Danny L – Rock Me Baby (Nemesis 003)
  3. Drum Magick – Easy Boom (Cuadra 511042-1)
  4. Nu Balance – Bounce Back (Bingo 057)
  5. Nu:Tone – Millie’s Theme (Hospital 074)
  6. Tomahawk – Straw Dogs (Hospital 7005)
  7. Kabuki – Speed Of Sound (Makoto Remix) (Precision Cuts 027)
  8. DJ Marky & XRS – Moments Of Lust (Makoto Remix) (Innerground 014)
  9. X-Plorer & Dee’pulse (feat. Kabuki) – KXD (Precision Cuts 027)
  10. State of Mind – Rise And Fall (CIA 036)
  11. Sonic – Jigsaw (Bingo 059)
  12. Mathematics – Fool’s Gold (Social Studies 008)

Team news

A lot of exciting things have been going on lately…

Take the BugSquad for example: lots of contributors started off doing amazing work. I’m very grateful for that. One thing I observed though was that newcomers didn’t really know where to start. Who can blame them? There are around ~28000 bugs open at the moment. Therefore we started off the BugSquad diaries where the more experienced members can

  • share their knowledge
  • explain which bug lists you can look at
  • explain the tools you use

Bughelper has been a pet project of mine for quite a while now. Started off by Henrik Omma the project has gone a far way until now. The Bughelper team has grown a lot and we even got Markus Korn (who’s doing tremendous work) to work on a SoC project for Bughelper. Thanks to everybody who helped out on the way.

So what is bughelper for? What can it do? It’s designed to help sharing your bug triage knowledge. If you’re quite experienced with a package, you look at a bug and directly know which questions to ask or where to reassign it to. Why not feed your knowledge into a clue file, submit it to a bzr branch and let others do the work you do? is a list of reports generated from the clue files we currently have. For more documentation on how to create clue files and submit them, look here.

Henrik and I registered specs for bughelper for UDS Sevilla over here.

MOTU: I gave a session about MOTU yesterday, which Steven Harms and Adrien Cunin have kindly agreed to repeat on Thu 26th Apr at 16:00 UTC. Lots of people attended it and there were many interesting questions. I’m quite happy how many people want to join the MOTU crew soon. These are interesting times in MOTU: we’re growing, we’re improving our mentoring, we have quite some work to do in the next weeks (think merges) and lots of excited and energized people. 🙂

UDS-Sevilla specs over here.

Sébastien Bacher has announced the TODO list for the Desktop team – with the opening of Gutsy we’ll have quite some packages to merge with Debian and we’re happy to sponsor uploads and help you getting them sorted out. Join #ubuntu-desktop on to help out with that.

We’re looking for people to help out with all sorts of Desktop packages. One observation lots of people seem to make is “He touched it last, he must be the maintainer – I better leave him alone.” – we could do with lots of contributors, so if you like your Ubuntu Desktop and like to help out, Gutsy is going to be your release. 🙂

We created the ubuntu-gnomemm team and we’re going to open some more teams – if you want to join, go ahead. If you want to help us create a new Desktop subteam, let us know.

The same goes for lots of other exciting teams and initiatives:

Make Gutsy a better release, join a team today!

In the morning

Going with the name people gave me my brother decided to take some pictures in Lithuania to go with it.
  1. Electrosoul System – In The Morning (Grid UK 010)
  2. Redeyes – When Will It Ever End (Bingo 056)
  3. Random Movement – Love Nights (Innerground 011)
  4. High Contrast – Everything’s Different (Hospital 116)
  5. CLS & Wax – The Race Is On (Future Retro 001)
  6. Nu Balance – Bounce Back (Bingo 057)
  7. Sonic – Jigsaw (Bingo 059)
  8. Q Project – 19 Inch Rimz (CIA 035)
  9. Electrosoul System & Subwave – One (Phuzion 008)
  10. Soul Mozaics – Burning (Sidechain 002)
  11. Human Nature (Makoto Remix) (White label)

Fox in Berlin

I live in Berlin, not quite the middle of it, but surely not the outskirts. I saw the fox on a couple of evenings already and I’m glad my friend Martin saw him too in one of the evenings, so it’s not a figment of my imagination.

This morning I was out for a dogwalk and just crossing Reuterplatz, when Murphy started barking madly and ran in one corner of the park. It took me a bit until I recognized the fox and it was running at Murphy too. I yelled at Murphy to come back to me and chased the fox away – seems I was more intimidating than my dog. 🙂

Some things worth noting:

  • even in the stress situation, Murphy listened quite well and came to me, when the fox was merely 10cm away from her,
  • Murphy directly recognized the fox as what it was. Given that foxes also belong to the family of Canidae, she never acted weird even if some dogs look strange and some make strange grunting noises – quite some achievement.
  • after all that commotion, the fox just curled up in the grass and enjoyed the sun