Steve Kowalik recently joined the Soyuz part of the Launchpad team at Canonical, so I asked him the, by now familiar, questions!
Matthew: What were you doing before you joined the Launchpad team?
Steve: I worked on the Ubuntu Mobile team for 2.5 years before switching to the Launchpad team to work on Soyuz.
Matthew: Can we see something that you’ve worked on from that time?
Steve: You sure can. The images and large parts of the integration work for Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 and Ubuntu Netbook Edition 9.10 were done by me. I was also responsible for image builds for the three ARM sub-architectures for the 9.10 release.
Matthew: Where do you work?
Steve: I work from my apartment in Sydney, Australia.
Matthew: What can you see from your office window?
Steve: Another apartment block, so not the most glamorous of settings. From the other side of my apartment, I can see the local river. So it depends on the definition of office, if it’s my “office” or the balcony I work from on summer days.
Matthew: What did you do before working at Canonical?
Steve: I worked at a company in Burwood, NSW specializing in satellite communications, and worked on supporting and developing their in-house Debian-derived distribution.
Matthew: How did you get into free software?
Steve: I became interested in Linux when I was in high school, after I came across the term and researched it on the Internet. I started running it in 1999, and switched to Debian from Red Hat in 2000. I became a Debian Developer in 2001, and switched to Ubuntu in mid 2005.
Matthew: What’s more important? Principle or pragmatism?
Steve: I believe pragmatism is more important, as it allows people to use hard data to define the problem or solution space, and work within its boundaries.
Matthew: Do you/have you contribute(d) to any free software projects?
Steve: I’ve had a large number of patches and changes in Ubuntu, some in Debian, and I’ve written a Debian package checker from scratch, called Linda. I’ve been involved in free software for over ten years now.
Matthew: Tell us something really cool about Launchpad that not enough people know about.
Steve: You can now upload packages to PPAs and Ubuntu via SFTP! As an added bonus, I wrote the support for it in Launchpad.
Matthew: Is there anything in particular you plan to work on while you’re with Launchpad?
Steve: I plan on helping to make Soyuz more stable, more feature-ful and hopefully, faster.
Matthew: Okay, Kiko‘s special question! You’re at your computer, you reach for your wallet: what are you most likely to be doing?
Steve: I’m either paying a bill, or buying something online.