MOTU application for Jonathan Thomas (JontheEchidna)

Richard Johnson nixternal at
Fri Dec 19 05:06:21 GMT 2008

On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 11:17:28PM -0500, Jonathan wrote:
> I will have to admit, a lot of my work last cycle was in main. The Kubuntu 
> team really had to pull to make Intrepid a good release, and most of the work 
> happened to be in main. (Because it's what Kubuntu ships by default) That 
> being said, I do want to contribute to universe. There are a lot of good apps 
> at and plasmoids at waiting to be packaged. This 
> cycle I would like to package at least a handful of both, and I do have all 
> the packages I have previously made to take care of. Today and yesterday I 
> updated two plasmoids for KDE 4.1 to the KDE 4.2 api. (One was in universe, 
> the other was in main.) In short, I would like to continue making new packages 
> this cycle while helping maintain those I have uploaded.

> If it came to the point where a universe package not related to KDE really 
> needed help, I would help to fix it to the best of my abilities. But Kubuntu 
> always has a lot to do, so I do keep busy with doing just KDE stuff. (more 
> minion- er, contributors would be nice)

There comes a time in every cycle where we need to push in order to
complete merges and syncs, as well as do some REVU work, if it isn't KDE
based, you would have no problem looking over the packaging detail to
see if it is logical and sound? One thing I do is keep an Ubuntu (GNOME)
desktop handy so I can do further testing and building of non-KDE apps.
There are quite a few KDE bugs on LP that are filed by people who use
GNOME. This is another reason I use GNOME and do some packaging for
GNOME so I can stay on top of other things out there. The one great
thing about MOTU is we are one giant family, ready to help each other
out on a moments notice. Just ask Scott Kitterman when he gave me some
Courier work to do over a year ago, I still can't get that taste out of
my mouth :)

> Hmm, my opinion on requiring quilt...
> The most solution would obviously be to add quilt (where is found) as 
> a build-dep to cdbs. But this is wrong and would not be nice because a lot of 
> packages wouldn't need quilt in the first place. In my opinion the best 
> solution would be to make the include variable, depending on 
> whether the file actually exists, preventing the FTBFS if quilt is not present.

Yup, remove quilt from and if you need to use quilt, add the
include in the rules file and add the dep accordingly to the control
file. I have yet to hear a really good reason why we aren't doing this
like we used to. I am sure there is a hidden CDBS bug somewhere and that
is why we are doing it this way.

> If I had the knowledge of the guts of the kernel, I would probably fix 
> to make Ubuntu boot on my computer without 
> having to fiddle around with my graphics card settings in the BIOS, setting up 
> a custom xorg.conf by hand, and then switching the video card my monitor is 
> plugged in to each boot. Really, really annoying. I believe the dedication to 
> wanting that bug fix can be shown most effectively by the backtrace I copied off 
> the screen by hand: , 
> though the motivations are probably a bit selfish... (but according to the 
> report, others seem affected :D)

Doesn't sound selfish at all to me. The one thing that draws people into
contributing back to FOSS is because they want to scratch their own
itch. After hearing what you had and have to go through, would drive me
up a wall.

> Sub-teams.... Well, uh, according to the wiki there's a Kubuntu team! :D
> Other than that, I would like to some day be an MOTU mentor for a new 
> contributor, but I don't know if I could balance school + kubuntu + a mentee 
> at the moment. Maybe over the summer I will have time to follow through on 
> that. 

Cheater! :)  Forgot there was a Kubuntu sub-team. MOTU Stable Release
Update team and the Universe Sponsors are 2 very important sub-teams
which you might find some interest in. There are always KDE packages
that have to go through both, as you aren't the only one packaging
everything and its mother on and :)

> Regardless, I would be willing to help any aspiring new contributor even if 
> not through an official mentoring program. The assistance the whole Kubuntu team 
> gave to me when I started was amazing, and I would like to pass that sort of 
> assistance on to others.

Great to hear. I am positive you will be able to help a lot of future
MOTU contributors!

> I am not too terribly familiar with the MC, but I think I can scrounge up a 
> few ideas. First, I found it a bit weird that one of my mentor's posts for 
> this application showed up in the mailing list before mine did. It's nothing 
> too big, but I think it might be a good idea to let those chosen K/Ubuntu 
> Members (maybe those posting from an @ubuntu or @kubuntu email address?) post 
> to the list without moderation. 

I agree! However, I think every person interested in MOTU or are a MOTU
should be on this list. A lot of great behind-the-scenes MOTU decisions
come through here first. Seeing as I just ack'd this message through so
everyone can see it, I think you should subscribe to this list. Then you
will see what the MC does and doesn't do :)

> I guess the second issue is that I don't really know what you guys do. I mean, 
> I have given my input on developers I have worked with in the past when they 
> applied for MOTU or core-dev, but other than that I don't really know what you 
> do. Maybe somebody could write up a wiki page about the MC and link to it from 
> the main MOTU wiki page?

Yeah, I agree that there should be a link on the MOTU page, but there is
a subpage at that will provide you
with a bit of information so you know what we do and don't do.

On a technical level, is there any process you have enountered that was
difficult or not easy to understand at first when it came to packaging
for Ubuntu/Kubuntu?

> The real reason that I like Kubuntu... that is the one million $CURRENCY 
> question, now isn't it. Kubuntu was the first distro that could keep me from 
> going back to Windows, which is something that Fedora Core never really could 
> do. Kubuntu offered a polished KDE experience that was faster and better-
> looking than Windows. I remember that the speed and window decorations were 
> things I really liked about Kubuntu. Kubuntu got me in to FOSS. FOSS lead me 
> to discover KDE4. KDE4 led me to contribute to Kubuntu (and indirectly to KDE) 
> While back in the day I liked Kubuntu for its superiority over Windows, I 
> think the reason why I love Kubuntu nowadays is the friends I get to work with 
> while making Kubuntu better.

This is the type of stuff I really like to hear. I am glad that the
community has been good to you and I know you will be good to the
community for many years to come!

> I wasn't at UDS due to school; I couldn't get the time off to go to UDS. Maybe 
> next year, though! I really would enjoy it, I think.

Yeah, I know how that school stuff can get in the way. I missed the last
3 years of it. This was my first and I must say, you have to get to one
soon. So much great work gets done there! And lets not forget you get to
find out just how scary half of these people in the community really
are. Like Soren, Emmet, and Daniel! Especially over non-Chicago Chicago
style pizza :p

> The questions made me think, if that's any consolation. :) Thanks for the kind 
> comments too.

If they made you think, then you are a quick thinker. That was a lot of
questions and a lot of great answers in such a short period of time.

No problem on the comments, you have definitely deserved them.

Rich Johnson
nixternal at
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