Photo of Raphaël Pinson

Raphaël Pinson

Interviewed: September 2006


IRC Nickname: raphink
Location: Cannes, French Riviera
Age: 24
Profession: Linux System Administrator

Ubuntu Stuff

In what way are you involved in Ubuntu?

I am an Ubuntu core-dev, focusing on Kubuntu. I make packages, review the packages of other contributors, work on bugs, translations, documentation. I also have a side project, Ichthux, which is a derivative distribution based on Kubuntu for Christian users and communities, that I am including in Ubuntu.

How much time do you spend working on Ubuntu?

I used to spend about 80 hours a week, when I didn't have a job. Now I spend up to a few hours a day on it.

Are you being paid to work on Ubuntu?

No. I have always been a volontary contributor.

What effect do you think the use of the name Ubuntu and its connotations has on the development and community?

I think the name of Ubuntu carries an important meaning, which has had a big influence on South African history. This word is at the origin of the Code of Conduct, which is what makes the Ubuntu community what it is: a lively, dynamic community.

"Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8) is often quoted by Christians involved in FLOSS (Free/Libre & Open Source Software), how do you feel your Christian beliefs relate to the ethical and philosophical reasons behind FLOSS?

As a Christian, I believe the whole creation is a gift from God that I do not deserve. As I have been given, I am asked to give back. I apply this to software aswell, since I was given a whole operating system without paying or asking anything to anyone, I feel it is a duty for me to contribute back to it.

In what way is English being perceived as the language of the internet and FLOSS a barrier for non native speakers and how can communities contribute to overcome such issues?

It is a fact that English has become the favourite language for international communication in the last century, and computer sciences have been built using this language. English is not an easy language though, which makes it hard sometimes for non-native speakers to integrate or even contribute in open-source communities. Obviously, learning to code is also harder when you do not understand the words chosen for the functions. I tend to believe that neutral languages such as Esperanto or Ido could be a way to go, especially in open-source, to provide a way to communicate that would be fairest to most people.

What problems do you come across when packaging and which package did you find hardest?

The main issues I have had with packaging were often linked to programs requiring database settings. Packaging web interfaces that just work out-of-the-box for end users is a pretty difficult tasks, because it involves cleanly interacting with MySQL.

What did you work on for Dapper?

My main contribution for Dapper was probably on REVU. I have been working on reviewing packages on REVU, and creating a set of tools to automatically check packages, called REVU-Tools. I have also worked on bugs and documentation.

What are you working on for Edgy?

Lately I have been focusing my own project, Ichthux, and our goal for version 6.10 is to integrate it in Ubuntu universe. Thus my work in Edgy is mostly Ichthux-centered. This gets me to work on Kubuntu/Ubuntu aswell, since the bugs I find in Ichthux are often linked to Kubuntu/Ubuntu bugs.

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

Since I currently work on a derivative distribution, I sometimes find it uneasy to tune Ubuntu/Kubuntu to the needs of a specific groups properly. As I work on Ichthux, I try also to think of ways to allow making derivatives more easily, because being able to adapt to specific groups/needs is a strong point that GNU/Linux systems have over proprietary ones.

Do you contribute to FLOSS in any other ways?

I have made a few translations for the KDE project and worked a modules for the Sword project, but my main contribution is Ubuntu.

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

I use KDE because I like the way the programs interact and integrate very much. Using KIOs for example makes my life much easier.

What programs do you use daily?

Konqueror, Konsole, Kopete, Konversation, Kontact, Firefox.

What computers do you have and what are they called?

My main desktop computer is an Athlon 2400+ called Aslan and is now used as the Ichthux archive and French mirror server. My laptop is a G4 Powerbook called Peter. I also got a P3 lately for tests, and called it Suzan.

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?

I mostly drink tea and water :)

Personal Stuff

Where were you born/grew up?

I was born in Paris and grew up in the southern suburbs of it

What memories do you have of growing up?

Good memories of music, computers, hiking in the forest :)

Married, partner or up for adoption?

I'm not married yet.

Do you have any children or pets?

No, I don't.

Where do you recommend anyone visiting your country sees?

There are lots of great places to see in France. Of course, being from Paris, I would recommend visiting Montmartre, Le Louvre, le Quartier Latin, etc. The Châteaux de la Loire are also great places, and we have very nice moutains :)

Favourite place to go on holiday?

Wherever, with the people I love. I like mountains and sea though, and thus am very happy in Nice or in Corsica for this matter.

What are you passionate about?

God. I also get passionate with a lot of things, whenever I begin to get into them. The main subjects that I am passionate about are music, languages, computers, genealogy.

What does success mean to you?

To lead my life the way God wants me to. To walk in love, build a loving family, and share love around us.

Who do you most admire?

Jesus Christ :)

Favourite quote?

I like to quote, but I don't have a favourite one :)

Favourite food?

I like most food.

What do you do in your spare time?

I listen to different kinds of music: classical, jazz, rock, world music... I spend time with the fellows at my church in my spare time, and computing for Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Ichthux :) I also like to hike and sail.

Recommend a non Ubuntu website? is a very nice forums website for Christians and non Christians, with threads about almost anything :)

This interview is also available in French and German