Interview with the Ark Linux Developers (English Version)
This is an interview of the Ark Linux core team and a couple of contributors, conducted by email and IRC. Ark Linux will be present at LinuxTag in Karlsruhe, having its own booth. A new alpha-version of Ark Linux (alpha8) has just been released and is available for download. The developers can be reached by IRC on #arklinux or arklinux-devel on irc.freenode.net or on the mailing lists provided on www.arklinux.org.
Q1: TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR ROLE IN ARK LINUX?
saint: Well, I love Linux, I love where it's headed, I love being a part of the action, and I try to cause all kinds of mischief in the Ark Linux world. That's the summarised version. For just a little more detail... my first encounter with GNU and Linux was around 1993, at a time when the Linux kernel was only 2 years of age. I loved Linux for similar reasons I think, to why Linus created it. I wanted more from my inexpensive PC hardware - more flexibility, increased stability and better control over how my operating system and desktop environment worked. Yes, I was a techie. However I also looked at those around me and thought "Why should I be the only one to have better security, better features and better performance??" So, for years I have been passionate about Linux, and my dream has been Linux for the masses - Linux in a form that all people of the world could directly and comprehensively benefit from. (Note that I don't restrict myself to "Linux on the desktop".) Finally things started to click together when last year I discovered that this guy called Bero shared with me a common vision and objective. With the addition of boris and piffio, we moved forward as a team of four, and Ark Linux as it roughly exists today was born. My role in the Ark Linux project could possibly be best described as "Chief Troublemaker". Blame me for asking "why", "how about", "what if" and "why shouldn't" too regularly. (Also blame me if there's too many broken packages!) I've got a dream, and I want to get there. With the best people on board, maybe we can do that.
boris: I've been using Linux since 1997, but mainly just as a desktop machine (reading email, surfing the web) and also writing code in my spare time. I have a love/hate relationship with writing User Interfaces - I think they're really important and I like to feel I am coding something that is useful, but I am a terrible UI designer and I find UI very frustrating at times. In Ark I am primarily a developer, I have written Ark Mission Control and videoconference as my main two apps. I also occasionally do package building.
bero: I've been using Linux for about 10 years - and started Ark Linux about 2 years ago, trying to make it possible for non-technical people to use Linux. These days, I'm mostly maintaining packages and occasionally fixing things in the installer or on the build server. I'm not doing as much as I'd like to because right now, work is keeping me busy - but at least parts of it are very useful for Ark Linux too (I'm working on an Ark Linux based media recorder set top box - www.archimedis.tv).
piffio: I've starded being involved in Ark Linux about a year ago (in june 2002). Since then I've been in the "core" team, doing various stuff. I've been working on packaging, maitaining bugzilla, CVS and the build environment, and lately I've been putting my hands on some libArk extensions and other stuff. It's hard to tell what's my "role" here because we're still a small group of people where everybody can do almost everything.
deux: I've been around in Ark Linux for few months. So far I build some packages (with a lot of help from saint, boris and piffio), helping out a bit in the web development and documentation. I guess my role in Ark Linux is mainly reminding the developers of the things that need to be done. Most of them are "busy" so they need someone to help reminding of the small things that they might miss out.
rei_0000: About myself? Well, I'm one of the newest developers for Ark Linux. I've had issues with Linux as a desktop for years. Ark Linux is allowing me to get my feet wet in OS development and get some ideas I have about Linux should work into practice.
Q2: HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON THE TEAM RIGHT NOW?
saint: We have a core team of four people - bero, boris, piffio and myself. We have about 20 or so who regularly visit IRC, and we've been seeing increasing interest. People seem to like new releases and gravitate towards them. The family continues to grow, and I'm proud to be a part of it.
boris: There are 4 people who started Ark Linux, but we are getting more and more contributors, which is nice considering we're still at alpha stage. We have around 20 regulars on IRC and I would say most of them have contributed in some way (bug fixing, suggestions, new development work, package building etc).
bero: It's hard to tell - where do you draw the line between a real team member and someone who occasionally sends a patch? The core team consists of 4 people (saint, boris, piffio and myself), and I tend to think of 3 or 4 more people as core contributors, hoping for more in the future.
piffio: initially the core team was composed by 4 people. now there are new develpers getting interested and contributing code. I think we can count a number between 5 and 10 developers contributing on a regular base.
deux: no comment. I think it's pretty much answered by boris, bero and piffio so there is nothing much I can say in this case.
rei_0000: Really, there are never enough people to sanely handle the load of building an OS on the team ;)
Q3: WHAT IS ARK LINUX SUPPOSED TO BE/BECOME?
saint: We have high hopes for Ark Linux. I want to see it become in time a genuine, truly credible operating system offering in its own right. Something that works. Something that provides what real people need - and want. Something that offers all people the best technology and software Open Source and Free Software can provide. Something that acts as a true testament to the superior quality and functionality that comes through Open Source development, open discussion, and open design principles. Something that acts as a foundation - a building block, for product and service offerings from others.
boris: We started working on Ark Linux because we shared a vision of a community-driven desktop Linux distribution and we had lots of ideas which we couldn't see being implemented in existing desktop distros. We also wanted a distribution free of corporate control. We feel that this is important as we want to be free to implement our visions without restriction.
bero: Ark Linux will be a very easy to use and yet powerful and free OS. We're planning to provide an alternative to Windows variants for the average person.