2006 Edition Free and Open Source Software Developer's European Meeting


2006-02-10 - Jeff Waugh


An interview conducted by Lionel Dricot (aka "ploum")
FOSDEM - Please present yourself.

Jeff Waugh - Good morning freedom lovers! I'm Jeff Waugh in real life, jdub online. More in my bio.

FOSDEM - What, in Ubuntu, makes you very proud of it?

Jeff Waugh - Most of all, the wealth of knowledge our team has brought to governance and community building. It just blows my mind. I have a photo of the whiteboard from our original governance and community structure planning discussions - it really demonstrates how serious we were, very early on, about getting it right. I guess it also demonstrates how crazy we are, but I'll explain that in my talk at FOSDEM! :-)

FOSDEM - What, in Ubuntu, ashamed you the most?

Jeff Waugh - Ooh, tough question, but a good one to think about... From my point of view, I'm disappointed that our less "developer focused" teams haven't had enough of a helping hand to be as effective as they could be. It's a tough problem in every code-oriented FOSS project, but I think it's an area where we could improve quite a lot in Ubuntu.

FOSDEM - Ubuntu is becoming quickly one of the most popular Linux distro. Does it makes any change in the way you work? Do people expect more about Ubuntu than about another distro?

Jeff Waugh - It hasn't really changed the way we work, because this is what we've aimed for since the beginning. I guess one thing that surprised us is the number of totally new Linux users starting with Ubuntu - we knew it would happen, but not quite so soon! So, that makes things more challenging. We went out with "Linux for Human Beings" as our rallying cry, which really does raise expectations, but I think we're meeting them on a lot of fronts. Many more people have tried Linux (and FOSS applications on Windows) as a result of what we're doing, so that's a big achievement in itself.

FOSDEM - You are travelling accross the world, you are doing funny speaches, you suffer from jetlag, you must not sleep too much, your laptop was once stolen but you keep smiling. What is your secret?

Jeff Waugh - ... and on my last trip, I lost my hair! What the crap is going on? Really, I could not complain for a moment. I get to travel the world, meeting users and developers of the software I love, spreading news about how much cool stuff is going on, and very occasionally, I also sleep. ;-) The hardest bit is being away from Pia, but this year we'll be presenting at a few of the same conferences - sweet! (She won't be coming to FOSDEM though - sorry!)

FOSDEM - What will you talk about at FOSDEM this year (not only "it will be about Ubuntu" but a bit more precise)? How many times will you say the word "Rock-n-roll" in you speech (approximately) ?

Jeff Waugh - I'm going to talk about the challenges that we in the Free Software world face, particularly in the desktop sphere, and why it is so important for us to succeed as a mainstream desktop platform. I would not like to make any predictions related to my phrasing or choice of exaltations during my FOSDEM speech. ;-)

FOSDEM - What do you expect from FOSDEM and what makes you happy (if any) to come here in Belgium ?

Jeff Waugh - The thing I love the most about going to Free Software conferences is that I get to catch up with old friends and meet new faces I may have only known by IRC nick or email address. I have never been to FOSDEM or Belgium before, so I expect to meet lots of new friends! :-)

FOSDEM - Do you know that "ubuntu-be" is an ancient African word that means "the Belgian Ubuntites will be happy to buy you some Belgian beers"?

Jeff Waugh - Awesome! As it happens, ubuntu-be is also the name of the brand new Ubuntu Belgium LoCo team - and I'm really looking forward to meeting you all! :-)


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