Saturday, May 06, 2006
Sebastian Trueg @ K3B interview
I saw the success of my MPlayer review, and I looked for another open-source project, which developers I should interview. The first name came to my mind was "K3B". I dropped the maintainer a mail, and today evening we were ready. So who's the guy on the picture on the left?
Sebastian Trueg - K3B project founder, maintainer, and main programmer
Me: Please introduce yourself!
Trueg: I live in Freiburg, Germany since I moved here from northern germany for my studies of computer science which I finished this year. :)
Me: I bet you were among the first students.
Trueg: Not really. I never attended that much lessons but I am quite happy with my final score. And it could not have been that bad becasue my prof offered me a job and the opportunity to make my PhD. so at the moment I am employed at the University of Freiburg.
Me: When did you start the K3B project? Why?
Trueg: K3b, well here comes the main reason for me not being among the best students... I started working on K3b in 1998, shortly after I arrived in Freiburg, and A LOT OF TIME was spent on K3b, at times way more than on my studies. The reason for K3b... Well, when I came to Freiburg I had never tried a linux system and didn't know anything about it. A friend gave me, I think it was SuSE 5.something. I gave it a try, but at the time I was not too interested. Some time later I tried again, became curious to see if I could perform all the tasks I use a computer for on a linux system. To be honest: it were not that many tasks. ;) CD-burning was one of them, especially MP3->Audio CD. And that's when it started. There was simply no program around which satified my needs. You either had to use cdrecord on the command line or do the exact same thing in xcdroast (which was a real front-end, nothing more). I wanted to burn mp3 files to an audio cd without converting them beforehand, so I thought: "Well, try it yourself!". I had never programmed something this big but I was eager to learn so I started and it went quite well (mainly becasue of the good QT/KDE documentation). At some point (I don't think the first version of K3b could actually burn mp3 files on-the-fly...) I heard of sourceforge and put it online. The response was incredible, I had never thought that this many people would use my program... the rest is history :)
Me: How much time do you invest in developing K3B?
Trueg: Hard to say. There were times when I worked on it every day for many hours, but there was also a year in which I did nothing at all (that's the reason for the 500+ open bugs on bugs.kde.org :) At the moment I do not have that much time for K3b since I work full time at the university, but I hope that I will find a way to tend to K3b more often in the future.
Me: What is your favourite feature in K3B?
Trueg: Well, my favorite feature. There is, of course, the audio decoding which is nicely integrated using the plugin structure. Since it was the main reason I started K3b it is one of my favorite features since it works so well (IMHO). But then there is one thing in K3b which you don't fin in any other burning app (at least I know of none): the "auto" modes which I try to implement for as many things as possible. There is the auto-writing mode selection, the auto-multisession-mode selection, the auto-data-mode selection (for data cds). I think that's a very cool feature becasue it allows K3b to provide the parameters for advanced users on the one hand while being simple for beginners on the other hand. Oh, yeah, CD-Copy for multisession CDs. I don't think there are that many applications that do that. :)
Me: Speaking of other applications, have you ever tried any other CD-burning software except the mentioned XCdRoast and cdrecord?
Trueg: I knew Nero from Windows. It was my reference which probably shows... I tried KCDsomething, Arson, CDBakeoven, and GnoeToaster, but all of them did not get very far. At least Arson and CDBakeoven seem to be dead.
Me: Do you fear NeroLinux? I mean, do you treat it as a powerful competitor, or trust in the open source community which tends to use mainly open source software (and Nero isn't open-source).
Trueg: I do not trust in all linux users to use open-source. They will use what works best. I do fear NeroLinux a little. For the time being they do not put very much effort in NeroLinux, but that might change and if that day comes I might have a problem... But for now NeroLinux is far from being as powerful as K3b, (which I only know from feature descriptions since it never finds any devices on my system..)
Me: You had a fundraiser.. What success have you had?
Trueg: Incredible! Awesome! I set out to raise 1000 euros and was not sure at all if I would get that far... But the community prooved me wrong: within two days! the goal of 1000 euros was reached and by the end of the fund-raiser I received nearly 5000 euros. It was such a great feeling to be appriciated in such a way. The reson I started the fund-raiser was a new computer system. With that kind of money I was able to get a really cool one: a silent PC which does not make a sound (except if you put your ear to it you may hear the harddisk spinning). Most of the money came from private users, but I received two big donations from Mandriva and Linspire. I have to say that I had never dared to dream about such a success.
Me: At the announcement of the fundraiser, you promised K3B 1.0 as a "reward". Are you planning to release it soon, or it needs some more work?
Trueg: I am planning on releasing a preview soon. K3b 1.0 is almost feature-complete but there are still some quirks to work out. I am planning on releasing a preview soon. K3b 1.0 is almost feature-complete but there are still some quirks to work out. Data Project verification has been an issue for many years and I did not get it right yet. And I'd like to close most of the bugs on bugs.kde.org before releasing k3b 1.0 final. But it's not that far away. :) K3b 1.0, that is. I hope to release the first preview by the end of May, but who knows...
Me: There were some gossips about porting KDElibs to Windows. Will you release a Windows version if that will need some extra coding to do (or will you anyways release a Windows version)?
Trueg: I never had any plans for a Windows version. If anyone is interested in porting K3b, be my guest. I don't know if it would be that hard, probably there is only one file which needs to be changed (as was done for the FreeBSD port) and that is k3bscsicommand.cpp. Well, of course one had to have the kdelibs installed on the Windows system...
Me: What would you like to transmit to the OSS community, in particular to my readers?
Trueg: Well, especially after the fund-raiser I think the OSS community is an incredible bunch. ;) I find it astonishing how this many different people come together and create something with (mostly) only one reward: compliments. The free distribution of knowledge and the impact that this distribution has on the world (even the commercial one) is just incredible. I really hope that I can be a part of it for a long time to come and there is one thing I missed up to now: I've never met any of "the big guys" in person. I've never attended any of the KDE meetings and such. I really have to change that. As for your readers: support Open-Source. Install latest versions and help out where ever you can. :)
Me: Thank you for the interview, for your time spent with me. I wish you success in life and with your project!
Trueg: Thanks a lot. It was a pleasure!
Posted by cruocitae