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comprookie2000
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject: Interview with Mike Frysinger (Vapier) Reply with quote

20 questions for Gentoo Developer Mike Frysinger, a member of the Gentoo Council and many Gentoo core projects like the base system and the toolchain.

You can download the podcast here;
http://linuxcrazy.com/?q=node/28
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dch24
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to do a transcript. If anyone beats me to it, that's alright, but I'll probably be able to work on it Thursday.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great, thanks again
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

its great the see the interviews keep coming :D
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David Abbott:
Hello and welcome to Linux Crazy Podcast. In this podcast, I interview Mike Frysinger, Vapier, a member of the Gentoo Council and many Gentoo core projects like the base system and toolchain.

David Abbott:
How are you doing Mike?

Mike Frysinger:
I am doing alright.

David Abbott:
I've got twenty questions here I'm gonna ask you. How long have you been using Linux?

Mike Frysinger:
Up to this point it's probably been about seven or eight years. I started back in my early college years with Slackware because it was the first distro I was able to actually install. I tried Mandrake and some of those. I just couldn't get 'em to work at all.

David Abbott:
Why did you start using Linux?

Mike Frysinger:
At the time I needed a stable server, 'cause I was into video games a lot. So I needed a stable server to setup my Counter Strike.

David Abbott:
How long have you been using Gentoo?

Mike Frysinger:
Pretty much about the same time as I've been using Linux. I ran Slackware for probably about a year or year and a half. Then Gentoo came on to the scene. It was actually the first distribution I could get X to work at all for me.

David Abbott:
Why did you start using Gentoo?

Mike Frysinger:
At the time it was more of a personal thing. I spent a lot of time just playing video games all the time so I needed something to be a little more productive. I thought I was wasting time. I figured if I could get into Linux and do something useful for people, it might as well be that.

David Abbott:
And what is your current Gentoo box that you use day to day?

Mike Frysinger:
For my desktop systems I got quad G5 that I use just for development and for my laptop I have a Dell Duo x86.

David Abbott:
And what is your home network like?

Mike Frysinger:
The typical thing is too many machines and not enough space. I've got a bunch of wires going all over the place. Too many machines really.

David Abbott:
What programs do you use the most?

Mike Frysinger:
I spend most of my time I guess with nano as my text editor and a terminal. Generally I use Kmail as my preferred mail client. Firefox obviously for the browser. And the desktop environment it's pretty evenly split at this point. I've got 50% Enlightenment, 50% KDE.

David Abbott:
What is the best thing about the open source community?

Mike Frysinger:
From my point of view it's just people just giving away all this stuff for free and doing it all for fun. You know, it's so many people doing it. It's out of selflessness. They are not really interested in making a buck or looking out for themselves. They are looking out for the greater good. If you want, you could look at it as Communism actually succeeding for once.

David Abbott:
What is the most fun about being a Gentoo developer?

Mike Frysinger:
As Gentoo users, we tend to learn a lot. Even as a developer, you learn about how everything fits together and how all the low layer pieces work. There really isn't any more magic anymore. You really learn it all. And the other aspect is working with all the other people. There are so many other Gentoo developers that are smarter than I am. They are great to work with. It's so much fun.

David Abbott:
How much time do you volunteer to Gentoo?

Mike Frysinger:
Time is a relative thing. I really have no idea how much time I spend on anything anymore. I wake up and I do programming and eventually I fall asleep. That's usually my typical day.

David Abbott:
I use your netqmail/vpopmail guide all the time on my boxes. How did you figure all that stuff out?

Mike Frysinger:
What it comes down to, I'm sort of a masochist. Documentation on Qmail, let alone vpopmail tends to be pretty sparse. It's really just burning a lot of time staring at log files, config files, and those little snippets of docs that you can find. In the end it was just a huge pain. I'll see if I can't save somebody some pain.

David Abbott:
Could you explain the toolchain?

Mike Frysinger:
The toolchain, as the word implies, is just a whole bunch of tools that when you put 'em all together, you chain them together. So you could take source code that we like to write and send it to the compiler which gives you assembly. You send it to the assembler which gives you object code. You send it to the linker which gives you this nice little binary that you can run. So the toolchain brings it all together from the source code to the binary level. Often times, you look at things like the C library or the debugger packages as being part of the toolchain just because they're at that level. Userspace perspective, you can't get any lower than you get to the kernel.

David Abbott:
How many people help you maintain the toolchain?

Mike Frysinger:
A handful of guys that help out. Mark, he goes by halcy0n. I don't know how to pronounce his last name so I won't brutalize it. There's Ryan, dirtyepic, and Ned (he goes by solar), and Kevin Quinn. They help out with various pieces. Some guys focus on the hardened. Some guys help out a lot with just doing testing and producing test cases and taking it upstream and just making it all more manageable. In the end I try to bring it all together.

David Abbott:
Tell me about Gentoo Embedded.

Mike Frysinger:
The idea behind embedded is that it started out with all these embedded systems out there. People do all the stuff from scratch. Any time they want to make a new product, they turn around and start from scratch. They do everything from the ground up for every single product. Obviously the turnaround time on that is way too slow for today's market. Gentoo Embedded basically leverages the Portage build system. You have all this source code. The idea of Gentoo is that you can compile the source code and get exactly what you need with all the features and the size and optimizations and all that sort of fun stuff. Since that's what embedded systems is all about, it seems like a logical pairing up. You use the build system and everything that is already in place and just give it a different compiler.

David Abbott:
What type of hardware would be good to get started running an embedded system?

Mike Frysinger:
It depends on what you're after. If you're looking to help out with development stuff, a really good rule of thumb is to get an "embedded system" as close as possible to a desktop. So if you wanted to do development on say, an ARM or a SuperH, the kind of system that you would look out for is one that has ethernet, bulk storage, a whole lot of memory, and as fast a CPU as possible. If you want to do development, you can trim down on some of the other pieces, but in the end you're gonna be fighting all these limitations. The less memory and less CPU, the slower it's gonna be. So for the ARM platform, NetWinders or there is the FLUG that come together with these feature sets so you can get self booting systems, self compiling, and all that sort of good stuff.

David Abbott:
I would love to have a cell phone with Gentoo on it. Is that possible?

Mike Frysinger:
I guess anything is possible if you put in the time. Personally, I've had to skimp on producing the target firmwares, these sort of binary blobs that you drop on your specific platform and just run with 'em. Today, I've been focusing on the infrastructure and the general stuff. If you want to have a specific platform, the answer is no unless you feel like doin' it. Unfortunately.

David Abbott:
What are some short and long term goals of the current Gentoo Council?

Mike Frysinger:
The Gentoo Council is more of a technical steering committee. We try to guide all the inter-subprojects and help them resolve differences and look out for the big picture. When it comes to short term goals, it's really not our schtick. We try to facilitate developers and all these projects to be all the innovation, because that's really the blood lifeline of Gentoo. It's these developers and what their goals are. Some guys like to do some crazy stuff or they have some ideas on how they like to get some packages built up. We just try to bring it all together and let them do their thing basically.

David Abbott:
How could users become more involved to help take the load off the developers?

Mike Frysinger:
They could become a developer! There's a lot of things that you can do in Gentoo land that doesn't really require you to be a developer that developers often do. You know, along the lines of writing documentation or translating or helping out with organization. Feet on the ground, often times at some of these events you have a few local people. But most people come in, they had to fly in from another country or across the country, or they drive in. We really need local people to help organize and watch over things. The events group in Gentoo is always looking out for people. You don't even have to touch code or think about it. If you just want to help promote, that's great. And then if you want to talk about things like forum moderators or bug wrangling or people to hang out on any of our communication channels (IRC or mailing lists or forums). Just hang out and answer questions. You figured something out, you learned some stuff and you can help the next guy along. How we look at Gentoo, is that we keep trying to prop up the next guy. You know, build on everybody else's work.

David Abbott:
I found the developers and the forum moderators to be very helpful to me and all the other users when I ran across 'em on the forums and IRC. How can the users and the developers build a stronger partnership?

Mike Frysinger:
I guess this could follow along the lines of the previous. Just get involved more. Right now I don't think we have infrastructure beyond our communication channels of people to communicate their ideas. If a user has an idea, unless he actually becomes a developer and helps to get it done, it basically stops there. One idea is to pick up Dell's idea storm and customize it for them so that users could contribute.

David Abbott:
How did you come up with the handle Vapier?

Mike Frysinger:
So back when I first started playing video games, I started with Quake. I came up with the nickname for SpanKY because I needed something people would fear. Those games tend to be more fast paced and nothing really serious. You just jump in and do one off, but for more serious games like realtime strategy I needed somethin' different. So what I was into at the time was Total Annihilation. It had a flying unit called a Rapier. I decided to take that and pair it up with vapor. So you put it together and you get Vapier. It happens to work out nicely, because most of the time people ... I wouldn't say it's a common nick. In fact I don't know of anybody that has ever used it. So it's really nice when you go to register somewhere because you don't have to worry about being the first guy and having to worry about coming up with some slight variation. Except for maybe the people who don't know how to spell vampire.

David Abbott:
Thank you very much for the interview.


Last edited by clock_cycles on Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:50 am; edited 7 times in total
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comprookie2000
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks clock_cycles, perfect.
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dch24
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, thanks clock_cycles. I like a good transcript like that! :)
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same, thank you!
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just want to clarify that I'm not him. :wink:
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comprookie2000
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is you right?
http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/10/23/q-a-marc-murphy/
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Ma3oxuct
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great interview. Thank you for the transcript clock_cycles :).
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unclespeedo
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what a dull interviewer, Mike seems to be very well spoken so it would have been nice to have an interviewer that could actually hold a decent conversation.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

unclespeedo wrote:
what a dull interviewer, Mike seems to be very well spoken so it would have been nice to have an interviewer that could actually hold a decent conversation.


At least this interviewer is volunteering his own time doing something useful besides complaining. Complaining without providing some helpful insight deserves nothing imo. Brings to mind the old grade school saying, "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all".

Thanks for posting taking the time for this interview. Always interested to hear from the devs in person -- even though they do have a name called Spanky! If I'm interested in these audio interviews, I'm sure others are as well.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Interview with Mike Frysinger (Vapier) Reply with quote

Quote:
"I wake up and keep programming until I fall asleep"


Why does this sound so familiar ?

hehehe... :)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice transcript. Thank you, clock_cycles.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Clock, but i think that the interviewer as pretty good and not that boring. It could have been much worst :D . "I wake up and keep programming until I fall asleep" That sounds like me but instead of programming i be playing COD4...lol.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

best interview by a developer I have ever read, good Q&A :)
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the transcript :wink:
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