Matthew: What do you do on the Launchpad team?
Martin: I’m in charge of the user interface, making sure that new (and existing!) features and pages are easy to use and slick. I have been on board for about six months, so I haven’t managed to fully sink my teeth into everything yet, but we’re getting there, and the next few months will be an amazing succession of roll outs of AJAX enhancements everywhere, which should improve the overall experience dramatically.
Matthew: Can we see something in Launchpad that you’ve worked on?
Martin: Well, if you use Launchpad for a few minutes, you will inevitably encouter pages that have gone through me before landing. I don’t get to actually do much coding, although I have recently done a few improvements to the Launchpad home page, and gave shape to the in-line text editing that’s already in the wild (although it was a team work effort with Mark).
Matthew: Where do you work?
Martin: From my office in sunny Buenos Aires.
Matthew: What can you see from your office window?
Martin: A nice garden with very green grass, flowers and palm trees.
Matthew: What did you do before working at Canonical?
Martin: I have a web development company (Pentacorp), so I’ve been doing almost everything related to web development (php, mysql, design, server admin) for the past 6 or 7 years. The web fascinates me
Matthew: How did you get into free software?
Martin: Free software just had better tools for web development, and was a much nicer and saner enviroment to work in, so I started moving over until one day I woke up with no proprietary software on my laptop.
Matthew: What’s more important? Principle or pragmatism?
Martin: Oh, you and your hard questions… I’m inclined towards pragmatism, I like to get things done more than I like being right!
Matthew: Do you/have you contribute(d) to any free software projects?
Martin: I have, it’s almost impossible not to once you start using it. I’ve done some work on Bazaar, I’ve been co-maintaining Loggerhead for 8 or 9 months, done some bzr-gtk, and have spread around patches on dozen of projects out there. You have to love the “scratch your own itches” properties of free software.
Matthew: Tell us something really cool about Launchpad that not enough people know about.
Martin: Launchpad developers really care deeply about users and user experience, I was amazed as to how much when I joined Canonical.
Also, merge proposals for code branches. They’re like the best thing ever.
Matthew: Is Argentine steak really the best in the world?
Martin: Yes, and probably in the known universe.
Matthew: Okay, Kiko‘s special question! You’re at your computer, you reach for your wallet: what are you most likely to be doing?
Martin: Moving it to my front pocket, my leg gets numb if I sit down for too long with my wallet in my back pocket.
Matthew: Thanks very much Martin!