As mentioned back on Friday, the various BeOS/Haiku news sites have gotten together to conduct interviews of the students who applied to Haiku for this year’s Google Summer of Code.

The first BeOSNews entry is an interview with Adrien Destugues, who was accepted to work on internationalization support (under mentor Oliver Tappe). Read on for the rest of the interview.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Adrien Destugues, I’m studying electronics and computer science at the ENSSAT, an engineering school in Lannion, France. Last year I graduated at Bayonne’s IUT, as a computer science student. I’m 20 years old (well, i’ll be 21 on 7th of may :)).

That’s about all for the real life part. But on the Internet and the opensource world, i’m known as PulkoMandy. This strange nickname has a very long story involving an orange juice brand and some other weird things. I’m known as a member of the shinra team, a demoscene group working on the Amstrad cpc (an old home computer), as the manager of the GrafX2 project, a pixelart painting program I ported to SDL from the old ms-dos sources, and I’m also building some electronics devices for old computers, like devices for plugging a modern ps/2 mouse on an Atari ST or an Amiga. There is little free time left with all that, but I use it contributing some code to the ENSSAT’s robotics club. We will participate to the European Robotics Cup in may.

How did you hear about GSoC?

I don’t remember exactly. I think it was back in 2007, I read some news about it on HAiku website, or maybe it was ScummVM one. I decided to participate to the 2008 edition, but I had to do an internship for school and that prevented me to put up a good application and get selected. But I learned much about the program and this year my participation was much better.

What convinced you that Haiku is a project worth working on?

It’s a really great project. I’m using Linux as my main operating system, but after 3 years spent tweaking some configuration files, it’s still not exactly matching what I want it to do. There is a big lack of integration and a lot of useless dependancies between pieces of software. And well, Linux just isn’t made for desktop use, and there isn’t any other open source os aiming at this target.

Do you have any experience with BeOS or Zeta?

Yes, I used BeOS as my main operating system for about a year. It was a good experience overall, but I ended up installing Linux instead because I needed some software for work and could not find equivalents in the BeOS world (that was in 2005 or 2006). I tried various distributions back then, mostly the Developer Edition and PhosphurOS.

How did you first hear about Haiku? What attracted you to it?

I just found the project while looking for ways to solve a problem with my BeOS installation. Then I joined the IRC channel, the mailing lists, and now I’m working on it as part of Summer of Code.

What did you apply to work on, why did that specifically interest you?

I’m working on Haiku internationalization. The idea came when I posted a link to Haiku’s website to my school’s student mailing list to remember them there was alternatives to Linux, Windows and Mac OS, as students there really like arguing about which one is better. Someone answered to me, saying something like “Hey, this thing doesn’t even speaks French !”. This was not a problem for me because I’m quite fluent in english, but Haiku as a desktop system could really improve its user base if it could be used by people not speaking English. I remebered my BeOS installation was in french, so I started googling about that and found the Locale Kit that was part of OpenTracker. And I decided to work on it as part of the GSoC.

If you do not get the chance to work on the project you applied for is there another area that interests you?

I really miss WiFi support, if I could get that working I would probably remove Linux entirely from my hard disk :) Using Haiku without network support is not really fun… But some work on that has already started, I think.

Is there anything Haiku (as an organization, website, community, individuals, any facet of Haiku) could’ve done differently to help you as an applying student? Was anything overly complicated or discouraging?

I didn’t encounter particular problems. Maybe reading the mailing lists and the IRC channel for a year and my failed participation in 2008 helped me. There are lot of people willing to help me (or any other person having a question) if I need some info on a programming problem, so I feel integrated.

The only problem I may have is the process of submitting patches, but I’ll have to wait a little to get svn commit access :).

Do you have any suggestions or constructive criticism for the people involved with Haiku’s participation in GSoC?

Just keep up the good work for next year :)

Besides Haiku, did you apply to any of the other orgs involved with
GSoC? If so which ones?

No, i chosen to concentrate on a single project and start to work on it even before the application period was closed. This allowed me to put up a precise project map and show I was up to the task. I think this helped me to get selected.

What influenced your decision to become a programmer? What is/are your language(s) of choice?

Well, my first experiences with computers date back to 1995 (I was only 7 years old). Some neighbour gave me his old Amstrad CPC and I played some games on it. In 1999 I made my first steps with BASIC, then over the years I learnt Delphi, then C and C++. That’s why I chosen to study Computer Science. I learnt some other languages like Java, Ada, Scheme, php, and I probably forgot more. But my languages of choice are C, C++ and assembly. I really like to understand what the computer does when I type a line of code, and other languages aren’t really allowing that.

Do you have any suggestions for budding programmers reading this that you care to share? Words of advice, wisdom or just plain feedback that you deem important to pass on?

Just take your keyboard, code something and make the opensource world go ahead! Fame will come if you do it well :)

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