Laura: What do you do on the Launchpad team?
Vincent: Maintenance. Although I’m eagerly waiting for the sprint with gmb to get some hints on how to handle the beast In the mean time, I’m focusing on fixing bugs and making the udd importer more testable.
Laura: Where do you work?
Vincent: At home
Laura: What did you do before working on the Launchpad team?
Vincent: Developing bzr.
Laura: What did you do before working at Canonical?
Vincent:Various service/consulting work for > 20 years, including some episodes at software editors.
Laura: How did you get into free software?
Vincent: With pleasure
I think the most important event was in 1993: I encountered a blocking bug in g++ related to C++ templates (way before it was standardized). That was a roadblock, no work-around and it was Friday afternoon. In despair, I posted a reproducing case in the related newsgroup. When I came back to work on Monday I got an email telling me the bug was known *and* fixed *and* where to get the patch for the compiler.
That was a light-bulb instant: free software support could be far superior to commercial software support !
One week later, I got a second email asking me if I was out of trouble… Amazing, not only did I get a fix faster than I could have dreamed, but the guy *came back* to ensure I got it…
I never looked back.
Laura: What’s more important? Principle or pragmatism?
Vincent: Both are important. If you forget one, be prepared to pay the cost. Both are dangerous too if you forget the other:
– being pragmatic only most often means you’re adding to your tech debt or rely on others to finish your work,
– respecting principles excessively means you never deliver anything.
Laura: Do you/have you contribute(d) to any free software projects?
Vincent: bzr is my most important contributions (including a few plugins). I’ve occasionally sent patches to gtk, perl modules and various other bzr upstream projects.
Laura: Tell us something really cool about Launchpad that not enough people know about.
Laura: Is there anything in particular that you want to change in Launchpad?
Vincent: Make it easier to test against for all projects that rely on it (I’m probably biased here as the udd importer severely suffer from not being able to properly test interactions with launchpad (read *and* write (branch creation mainly)).