Now it’s time to speak to Ursula Junque in the latest of our Launchpad developer interviews.
Matthew: What do you do on the Launchpad team?
Ursula: Well, my job title is QA Engineer. Each day I watch the OOPSes you sometimes see when using Launchpad, and try to find out what the problem is, then I open bugs, try to get people to fix them and the like. Besides that, I work on assuring that Launchpad versions will be well tested before released. Also, I love doing python scripts to enable my work. I love my job.
Matthew: Can we see something in Launchpad that you’ve worked on?
Ursula: Since I work with solving bugs in Launchpad, if everything went fine you won’t notice the object of my work.
Matthew: Where do you work?
Ursula: I work from home, that is at the moment in Recife, Brazil.
Matthew: What can you see from your office window?
Ursula: I can see lots of other buildings, some windows already with Christmas decorations, and a school.
Matthew: What did you do before working at Canonical?
Ursula: Right before joining Canonical, I was in a Brazilian telecom company called AsGa, developing the embedded system of a network switch. Before that, I worked at IBM’s Linux Technology Center, in a project that was an overlay of Ubuntu.
Matthew: How did you get into free software?
Ursula: It was when I started my Computer Science graduation at UNICAMP. They had Windows and Linux in there, and also a free software enthusiasts group called GPSL (Pro-Free Software Group, in Portuguese). So, I had the opportunity to use Linux and learn about free software. Well, actually I tried to use Mandrake Linux before that (a really long time ago), but my PC was too slow at the time for KDE, and my family (the PC wasn’t only mine) needed a UI-clicky thing.
Matthew: What’s more important? Principle or pragmatism?
Ursula: Hmm, great question. I guess this is the point where Open Source and Free Software people disagree.
I’m more a pragmatic person than one that sticks to principles. I think we have to start somewhere, and having to follow a lot of “rules” sometimes stops you from starting something that would be really great – not perfect, but a start – and that could be “adjusted” with the time. I guess it’s important to have principles to help you to trace the path where you want to go, but being inflexible, in my point of view, is not such a good thing.
Matthew: Do you/have you contribute(d) to any free software projects?
Ursula: Yes, but not with code. All code I produced were scripts to help me (and people around me) to make life easier. I should have created one project or two from them, but thought, at the time, that it was not worthy to do so. Shame on me, lost pieces of handy code!
I did translations in Turbogears project documentation to Brazilian Portuguese, and also for a related project called Kid, but I think the major contribution is to stay online on Freenode’s #ubuntu-br and #launchpad trying to help people to get along with stuff.
Matthew: Tell us something really cool about Launchpad that not enough people know about.
Ursula: Well, I think the whole of Launchpad is great, but to talk about something related to my job, I’d like to talk about dupefinder. It’s that small piece of Launchpad that is there when we’re about to file a bug. After you fill in the bug summary, it smartly tries to find the most similar bugs, giving us a list of them so we can be sure that we’re not filing a duplicate. It’s simple but extremely useful.
Matthew: How do you take your coffee?
Ursula: In the first mug I can find among the clean dishes in my kitchen.
Matthew: Kiko‘s special question! You’re at your computer, you reach for your wallet: what are you most likely to be doing?
Ursula: It’s been a while since I started buying things online, so I’m almost sure I’d be taking out my credit card.
I always buy things from online stores such as eBay, Mercado Livre (an Argentinian, but huge in Brazil, version of eBay), and local online department stores, where I buy books, CDs, DVDs, eletronics and stuff. Also I have an account on Dreamhost, where I host my blog, that is the only actual online service I pay for.