Meet Jonathan Lange!

Jonathan Lange‘s the next subject in our series of Launchpad developer interviews!

Matthew: What do you do on the Launchpad team?

Jonathan: I’m on the Launchpad Code team. Most of the time I work on the SSH server and the systems that live behind it. I don’t often do stuff with the website proper.

Matthew: Can we see something in Launchpad that you’ve worked on?

Jonathan: Sure! Every time you go “bzr branch lp:some-project“, you are touching three or four subsystems that I’ve worked on. The biggest thing that I’ve worked on recently is stacked branch support for Launchpad. Finally, Launchpad can host Bazaar branches for large projects!

Matthew: Where do you work?

Jonathan: I work in a flat on the North Shore of Sydney.

Matthew: What can you see from your office window?

Jonathan: I can see a petrol station, the oxymoronically named Pacific Highway, joggers near-dying from heat exhaustion and Jacaranda trees.

Matthew: What did you do before working at Canonical?

Jonathan: Directly before, I worked at Divmod on their webmail software, Quotient. They were great people.

Matthew: How did you get into free software?

Jonathan: During a quest to rescue the true king from the sorcerous clutches of an evil duke, I ingested an ancient Tibetan philtre that granted me the ability to walk through walls, and compelled me to give away Python code every so often.

Actually, what happened is that a company I used to work for seconded me to the Australian Federal government. The work was so dull that at the end of each day I found myself with stacks of mental energy. For some reason, I channeled this energy into writing a unit testing framework for Twisted.

Matthew: What’s more important? Principle or pragmatism?

Jonathan: Principle. It comes first, giving scope, boundaries and purpose to pragmatism.

That said, one of my most deeply held principles is that things that you do a lot of should be really, really convenient. This often takes shape as a kind of pragmatism.

Matthew: Do you/have you contribute(d) to any free software projects?

Jonathan: Yes!

I work on Twisted, although less now that Launchpad keeps me so busy. I also work occasionally on bzr-loom, and dabble with a bunch of projects that enhance unit testing in Python — see

Matthew: Tell us something really cool about Launchpad that not enough people know about.

Jonathan: If you are working on a Bazaar branch, and do “bzr commit --fixes lp:12345” and then push that branch up to Launchpad, Launchpad will make a link between that branch and bug 12345.

This could be a lot cooler. Martin A and I have some ideas about how we can integrate this more tightly with the code review system, for example.

Matthew: Have you ever seen Harold Bishop in the flesh?

Jonathan: I don’t know who he is. Oh wait is he that guy from Neighbours?

I haven’t seen him, but once I got served at a bar by Will from Home and Away — does that count?

Matthew: Yes. Yes it does.

Okay, Kiko‘s special question! You’re at your computer, you reach for your wallet: what are you most likely to be doing?

Jonathan: Most recently, it’s been because I signed up to EC2 so I could run tests without buying another computer. Normally though, I’m buying books. Generally non fiction ones, because I’d hate to deprive myself of the pleasure of walking around a bookstore for hours.

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