Hi Samuel, welcome by Mageia italian users. First of all, could you please start by introducing yourself?
Hello. I’m Samuel Verschelde, 29 year-old, living in Lyon (France).
How did you first become interested in Linux?
I discovered linux during my studies, in 2003. It was exciting to discover a whole new world I didn’t know, having only used computers with Microsoft systems on them for many years. The first distribution I installed was Debian potatoe, and it probably wasn’t the best choice for a beginner not familiar with unix command line
Then I used Red Hat for some time and finally settled to Mandrake in 2004.
How did you discover Mageia and why did you decide to join the project?
I heard about Mageia the day it was announced publicly and immediately decided to join the project. Saving the linux distribution I liked by turning it into a community-driven project was (and still is) very motivating. Also, most of the names I knew among contributers were joining Mageia, so it was clear that even if it survived, Mandriva (the distribution) would never be the same again.
What are the fields you are contributing in Mageia?
I’m mostly interested in supporting the stable releases of Mageia. In the end, those are what people use. For that I joined several teams :
- packager team, to be able to fix bugs, push new versions or add new software to the distribution. Soon, it will allow me to push backports (ie new versions of popular software) for Mageia 1, provided I find enough testers to validate them.
- QA team: its work currently is mostly testing update candidates (bug fixes, security fixes) before they are pushed to all users. I didn’t plan to work that much for the QA team, but there appeared to be a real need so I invested time into that, trying to gather new volunteers and to help organizing the team’s work.
Also, I’m “mentoring” 4 people who want to become packagers for Mageia. I wasn’t sure I had enough experience in packaging to do it, but here again there was a need (people having been waiting for a mentor for weeks) so I volunteered. It appears to go well, and in case of doubt I can still ask for advice to more experienced packagers.
And of course there is the Mageia App Db project that we started some months ago.
In fact, you are the maintainer of Mageia-app-db. Can you explain what it is and which are its goals?
Mageia App Db is an online RPM database whose goals are :
- provide an “official” place where to look for information about the packages in Mageia
- focus on interaction between users, testers and packagers: from users to packagers (backport requests, new soft requests with a voting system, …), from packagers to users/testers (testing requests, ie packagers asking users to test a certain package before pushing it to the official repositories, …)
- easy to use yet powerful
- some features, planned or already implemented : e-mail notifications (when a new package is available for example), screenshots, ratings, tags…
For the complete list, see the web page for this project.
In which development status is mageia-app-db? what are its major features and what we should expect in the next releases?
The development status is : “being actively developed, but already usable in its current state if you can forgive the missing features”. If we count only the most regular contributers, there are 3 developers: Adrien Gallou (France), Vyacheslav Blinov (Russia) and myself.
Currently version 0.2 has the following features :
- it synchronizes with Olivier Thauvin’s multi-distributions RPM database, Sophie, so that it’s always up to date
- allows to browse the list, search for packages, see screenshots (when available), see the latest updates or backports, and use various filters
- Thanks to Sophie, it can work not only for Mageia, but also for Mandriva, Fedora, OpenSuse and other RPM-based distributions.
Demo is available here.
The current state is still rough, but it’s already useful, at least to me (and my brother Rémi confirmed he uses it too ) !
Version 0.3 should bring the following features :
- official installation of Mageia App Db on Mageia servers (not really a feature per se, but still an important step)
- LDAP connectivity to Mageia’s user database, so that your login in mageia websites will work also in Mageia App Db
- user notifications. You can choose to receive an e-mail when a given package is updated, for example when a new version of virtualbox becomes available in the backports media.
- internationalization of the user interface, but first with very few languages. Note that I’m talking only about the user interface. Translation of package descriptions is another bigger matter.
- various small improvements
Thank you Samuel for giving us this interview and keep it up with this great work! See you soon!
Thank you for asking me, greetings to all the Mageia users!