Photo of Daniel Holbach

Daniel Holbach

Interviewed: August 2006


IRC Nickname: dholbach
Location: Europe/Berlin
Age: 27
Profession: Open Source enthusiast


Ubuntu Stuff

In what way are you involved in Ubuntu?

I'm currently spending most of my Ubuntu time in Ubuntu's DesktopTeam, doing package maintenance, working on Desktop bugs and geting on Sebastien's nerves. Apart from that I'm involved in a lot of Ubuntu's teams: the MOTU team, the Bug Squad, the Accessibility team, I got started helping out the Art team. Let's see which team is next. It's amazing to see the Ubuntu community growing and to be part of that all.

How much time do you spend working on Ubuntu?

It must be 50+ hours per week (if you count the weekends, etc.) It varies a lot though. Here I'd like to quote from `Hayao Miyazaki - Master of Japanese Animation` of `Helen McCarthy`: she quotes Andrew Simmons, a staffer at Disney about work in an animation studio:

Full day's work - a full eight-hour day, forty-hour week
Busy - forty- to forty-five-hour week
Very busy - forty-five- to fifty-hour week
Very, very busy - fifty-five- to sixty-hour week
Crunch time - sixty- to seventy-hour week plus some
Last week of crunch - living on Jolt soda and coffee
Done by Friday - getting the phone number of the Betty Ford Clinic
Done - Coma

Maybe it's not *that* tough, but you might find the "gradient of the curve" in the 'Ubuntu Studios' similar.

Are you being paid to work on Ubuntu?

Yes. Since the end of the Breezy release cycle.

How and when did you get involved in Ubuntu?

When I started using Ubuntu, I started helping out in packaging (after Michael Vogt and Oliver Grawert pushed me towards for several weeks). At that time the MOTU team consisted of around 5 people and there was still a lot of pioneer atmosphere in the very basics of that team. I hope you don't get me wrong: today there is still a lot of pioneer atmosphere, but in different places. Today we are around 40 MOTUs and roughly the same amount of MOTU wannabes. I was always interested in the GNOME world and it was great to meet Sebastien Bacher in Sydney and form the Desktop team with him.

What did you work on for Dapper?

GNOME maintenance, GNOME bugs, getting the BugSquad and Accessibility team going, I was involved in making icons happen, and several other tiny things.

What are your plans for Edgy?

The same as above and I hope to have more time for community matters, especially the MOTU world again.

What feature would you like to see/improve in Ubuntu?

Do you contribute to FLOSS in any other ways?

The most patches I have time to supply are part of my daily work.

Which window manager/desktop environment do you use and what do you like about it?

I've been a GNOME-head for quite some time. I love the look, the idea of simplicity.

What programs do you use daily?

evolution, epiphany, vim. In the last months my love for bzr and python kept on growing.

What computers do you have and what are they called?

My laptop (an IBM X40) is called 'lovegood' (people who know the books, I nearly read in four languages might know why). My AMD64 working machine is called 'bert' - dunno why I chose the name, my current working machine always had that name. My i386 testing machine is called 'wilde'. My i386 low-spec machine for testing Xubuntu (and ex router) is called 'bebel'. And I recently aquired an old PowerPC, named 'miyazaki'.

What does your desktop look like?

desktop Magnify

What does your computer area look like?

Computer Area Magnify

What do you drink while working on your computer?

Coffee, Tea, Water, Club Mate!.

Personal Stuff

Where were you born/grew up?

I was born in Trier (near Luxembourg) - the oldest city of Germany.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Christina, my 23-year old sister, who is studying in Vienna. Thomas, my 20-year old brother, just still in Trier, who is looking into becoming a photographer.

christina.png thomas.png

What memories do you have of growing up?

Being four, getting tired on a summer afternoon when my parents were building the house and falling asleep on glass wool (without a shirt on). Telling a old and very friendly priest not to speak with a full mouth, when our house was 'blessed', when we moved in. Smashing headlong on the street, when I tried to jump over a ramp with an BMX bike at full speed (when I was ten). Swimming naked in a lake with a bunch of friends after a party.

Married, partner or up for adoption?

Up for adoption.

Do you have any children or pets?

No children that I know of, but Murphy, my seven year old Tibetan Terrier.


Where do you recommend anyone visiting your country sees?

Definitely Berlin. Trier is worth a visit too and depending on what you'd like to do, the mountains for hiking.

Favourite place to go on holiday?

Somehow I fell in love with Greece a long time ago and my visit there was simply great. I liked the people, the cities, the landscape, the culture, the sea, the busy and the quiet places. I could even imagine moving there, one day.

What are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about good music, a seriously good tune can make me dance and jump around in the early morning already.

What does success mean to you?

I liked Daniel Silverstone's answer to that question a lot. Success for me isn't based on monetary aspects either. I feel I've been successful when I finished a good piece of work, when somebody told me he liked something I did a lot, when I threw a good party, when I did a cool piece of Drum'n'Bass mixing. Whenever I feel my efforts achieved something good or changed the day in a positive way, for me and for others, that's what success is to me.

What do you do in your spare time?

I'm striving to become a good Drum'n'Bass DJ, I'm outside whenever I can (taking the dog out, exploring parts of Berlin, I don't know yet), phoning friends, reading and looking into interesting OpenSource stuff.

What books have you read recently?

Krabat. Re-read Henry Miller: Sexus, Plexus, Nexus. Da Vinci Code (they had nothing else interesting at the airport). Harry Potter 1-4 (in french)

What films have you seen recently?

A bunch of Ghibli Studio movies:Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Laputa. Im Juli is one of my favourites.

What music do you like?

I follow Drum'n'Bass music a lot, I have some favourite record shops in Berlin I visit regularly, it often just fits my mood. Apart from that, I listen to lots of different music. The last things I listened to today were Morrissey, Alan Parson's Project, some Latin music and some classical music.

What are your favourite gadgets?

I don't think I own anything that classifies as a 'gadget', but if we're talking about technical items, I'd mention the Technics SL 1210 MK2 - it's the Mercedes of the turntables and if you use it, you just feel it. The precision, its robustness, etc it's simply remarkable and a pleasure to use.

desktop Magnify

Favourite quote?

I know I should try to think of something clever or a worthwhile comment, but I can only think of an occasion where Oscar Wilde travelled by train and a woman asked him "Do you mind if smoke?" he replied with "I wouldn't mind if you'd burn, madam."

Favourite food?

Living in Berlin I have access to a diverse set of 'cuisine's, but I guess (among others) I like Thai, Italian and Indian food best. Duck in red curry and coconut milk is something I love to eat (and I even cooked it myself!).

Favourite comic?

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

This interview is also available in Danish, German, Italian and French