sabato 3 marzo 2012

Lazy interviews Andrea Scarpino (bash) developer from Arch Linux

Hello guys,here's a little gift for our arch friends,indeed i'm gonna talk about an interview with Andrea Scarpino aka Bash,(he's the one in charge of maintaining KDE on Arch Linux); Chakra is based on Arch and focused on KDE, so i thought it could be interesting for both sides.
We're gonna talk about Chakra too. I hope you'll enjoy it. Let's go:

1)"Hi bash,first of all please introduce yourself,how old are you,what do you do beside developing for Arch?"

Hi Lazy,I'm 23 yo (24 in April), I'm going to graduate in "Informatica e Tecnologie di Produzione del Software" at the university of Bari. I'm an active guy, nocturne too. I like traveling,especially adventures, i love InterRail trips."

2)"When did you discover Linux and which was your first distro?

"I used Linux for the first time thank to my 3th year professor in high school; i heard about it earlier,but never saw it in action. He made us use Knoppix for working,so i can say that was my first distro,even though was a live cd. The first i installed on my pc was OpenSuSe,though it lasted few weeks, then Ubuntu that taught me in six months how to move,Slackware, very instructive, and know how it ended then :)"  

3)"What others DE did you tried beside KDE?"

"I was and am a big lover of tiled WMs. Before KDE i used Awesome, but also Fluxbox/OpenBox/Gnome2 for some time; without trying 'em all, you can't say what's the best for you."

4)"Why in the end did you choose Arch Linux,what did you like about it?"

"I was captured by the idea of building the system from the base. Tools like ABS and AUR give it a plus and let the sharing of PKGBUILD among users,wich is very amazing.I believe AUR really express the meaning of community."

5)"What was your first approach with Arch?and as a developer?what was yor know-how?Was it hard or doable??"

"I began adopting AUR packages here and there,doing some errors too,but with the help of the community i grow up fast, and Giovanni (aka voidnull) that was a TU (trusted user) at that time , encouraged me to become a TU. Yes i thought it was hard,but i was sure that with a little effort i could do it."

6)"At the present what is your job in the Arch Linux team?"

"I mainly maintain KDE and his deps. I manage MySQL,bluetooth packages and the updating or fixing of bugs in orphan packages. I work also for srcpac (the tool for ricompiling official repository's packages), then sometimes i manage to send some patches for AUR and translate pacman."

7)"I saw that you manage also the italian portal of Arch and on the forum you're very active,how can do you cope with your private life?"

"Actually I don't have the time and the energy to follow the italian forum anymore. I started from there,giving advices and helping italian users,but my free time is little,so i respond just to strange/complicated issues or when them involves Arch develepoment team's choices. Luckily we have great users that replace me also in our national community."

8)" Did Kdemod existed or not when your started working for Arch?"

"Yes and i used it too. A modular kde is the top. It's a bit nonsense to build a tailored system and then have to install a whole and big DE like KDE. Luckily the multi package support for a PKGBUILD soon came in makepkg and the idea of kdemod got supported in the official packages."

9)"Do you know any dev of Chakra?What do you think about this project born as a  fork of Arch and its focus on kde?Moreover from your point of view, as the maintainer of this de under arch?"

"Personally no, Sometimes it happened to talk with Phil, Manuel, Josè and Daniele (Phil Miller,Manuel Tortosa, José Antonio Sánchez Reynaga and Daniele Cocca all devs from Chakra -editor's note-) to exchange advices and opinions. The idea of the Chakra Project is nice,but i haven't found a reason to pass to it yet."

10)"Have you ever tried Chakra?"

"No, 'cause i began using Arch when the Chakra project was still part of Arch and i never left it since then."

11)"What do you think about developing Akabei and the path to separate from Arch?Will it be good in the long term or was it better to keep a compatibility with arch?"

"Sincerly i've never heard about it before and i don't think it's a good idea. I'd like to have an universal package system for all distros; IMHO Chakra could have been autonomous keeping libalpm."

12)"I heard that one of the causes that led kdemod to fork from Arch was that being arch full rolling,it was hard to keep up kde packets with the continuous repackaging  of stuff; You're in sole charge of packaging kde,what is your point about it?"

"Yes it's true. This is the reason many projects "upon" Arch at some point, ends up. Like kdemod, kde-snapshot and others. While other distros wait for a new release to change package version,on arch we create a list of packages and recompile them. For external projects this means update the system or end up with programs not starting without recompiling again. Instead for an arch dev means recompile the package and add it to [staging]. All [staging] packages will be moved together and the compatibility will be kept."

13)"Speaking of packaging,how did you manage it only on your own?Do you use any tool to fast up the job?"

"I inherited some sripts from Pierre, and thank to them,konsole and vim, with few commands I update all the PKGBUILDS, compile KDE and upload all packages on the server. I just read the logs, the output of namcamp, apply/remove patches, check new components of KDE and flag/fix compilation's issues that can happen frequently,since we are a bleeding edge distro and we use the latest versions of gcc and other libs used by KDE."

14)"Chakra and Arch are very similar,did ever happened that the teams collaborate with each other,maybe looking at previous handled solutions with issues,without looking at it as spying; is it positive or not?"

"On my side it happened I went on gitorious to look at some thing Chakra did. The spirit we share it's the opensource one and so PKGBUILDS are freely viewable by anyone, otherwise we would have made 'em private ;)"

15)"Chakra and Arch are similar also in internal organization,what would you advice to a guy that would like to start a path like your or would like to contribute in first person to the project?"

"Anybody can help with was he's best at: developers can help with bugs or new features,in Arch's projects like AUR, initscripts, abs, srcpac...the others can help spotting bugs,update or transalte wiki's pages and help new users."

16)"Why should someone choose Arch Linux?"

"I would advice it to the kind of user interested in knowing its system in every detail. Arch is not for everybody,because not everybody are interesed in the same thing. There are a lot of distros,for every taste, I wouldn't mind a friend of mine using any other distro instead of Arch."

17)"Do you think Chakra can address new users for Arch,becoming somehow an entry level distro?Do you think it enlighted Arch Linux? could Chakra be obstructing for it?"

"Obstructing surely not. I think both projects aim to acquire new users,not stealing 'em to any distro. I believe Chakra introduced some users to Arch,but if is true that it is on it way to independence,that should change soon."

18)"What distro would you advice for a newbie?"

"Probably Kubuntu, or Chakra why not? (if the wiki is well done)."

19)"Last question(I had to ask you this one) XD
You're are packaging KDE on Arch for a long time,what could be your next steps that could incite you? I mean,you're doing an excellent job,but everyone tends to improve,if you would have to change,what would you like to do?Don't you think that a distro like Chakra would be a great challenge and a cool adventure? "

"I'm glad of this interest, but what's on my mind is to collaborate directly upstream to kde with some patch or new features,leaving KDE packaging to someone else. :)"

21)"We are done,thank you"

"Thank you, bye"

Well, I hope you enjoyed this review,on my side i have to say that Andrea beside being very competent,is also very kind and young too; he's really great, i'd go for arch just for him(our devs are really great too :p ). It was a pleasure interviewing Andrea and i thank him.

thanks to robyshot for the translation

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