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People of openSUSE: Henne Vogelsang

October 17th, 2008 by

After a long summer holiday season ‘People of openSUSE’ is back!

This week we caught up one of the many people responsible for the success of the openSUSE project maintaining mailing lists, IRC channels, and openSUSE project meetings, as also doing some packaging in the well-known Packman repository. Today you have the opportunity to meet the current openSUSE Board Candidate Henne Vogelsang!

 

 

Nickname(s): henne
Homepage: http://hennevogel.de
Blog: Various. My homepage is a blog, I blog on lizards, sometimes news etc. Guess it’s best to just follow PlanetSUSE in general :)
Favorite season: I like them all. I like the prospect of summer in spring and how everything bursts into bloom. Summer for beer gardens and the general vibes. Autumn for the colors and the prospect of winter. And winter for sitting inside in front of the fireplace.
Motto: You’re 16 years old, you don’t know shit about shit, and PULL UP YOUR PANTS!!!

 

Please introduce yourself!

I’m a echo $(((`date +%s` – 260471917) / 31536000)) year old FOSS developer currently living in Nuremberg/Germany, originally I am from Bremen/Germany, the town with the musicians, Beck’s beer and the Columbus laboratory module from the ISS.

 

Tell us about the background to your computer use.

I’m not your typical neighborhood geek, so there are no stories to tell about how I hacked my first cool app on Amiga OS with my tremendous devpac assembler skills. While some of my friends where doing that I was rather kicking the deck, jamming or hitting the cinema :-)

My old man is a communication electronics technician (we are talking about guys that climb up the telephone pole and shit) so naturally I was in contact with electronics and computers somehow. But I always "just" used computers. Using includes adjusting to my needs for me. I think thats how I ended up here.

 

When and why did you start using openSUSE/SUSE Linux?

I started using S.u.S.E. Linux somewhere around ’99 out of curiosity. I really can’t remember the exact reasons why I did that. I just recall some circumstances. The first install happened in my parents living room, they were on vacation and I was watching the house. Beer was involved and before you ask, no I wasn’t wearing pants…

 

When did you join the openSUSE community and what made you do that?

Right when I was starting using the distro. Back then everything happened on the mailing lists. There was no formal community and community was not this rather strange concept you can pull out of the hat it is now. It was this small group of followers of the distribution. (while I’m here…: hey Bernd, Christian, Heinz, Sebastian, Florian, David, Eilert, Jan, Manfred, Marc, Rainer, Ralf, Stonki, Thomas, Waldemar, Arjen, Ben, George, Rafael, how is it going? :)

 

In what way do you participate in the openSUSE project?

I hack on the distro, mainly on behind the scenes stuff, I maintain some important packages in the Packman repository, I run the mailing lists, the IRC channel, moderate the project meetings and hang out at some of the fairs we go to, mostly LinuxTag and FOSDEM. In general I try to involve myself in the, what I think are, important parts of the openSUSE project. Like recently in the first openSUSE board election :)

 

What especially motivates you to participate in the openSUSE project?

It’s the distro I use daily. It runs on my workstation, my laptop, my multimedia center and several servers I maintain. So to fit it to my needs and leave my footprints in it I need to involve myself into the project. Nowadays, for instance, an install of my laptop or the machine under my TV takes me an evening. That’s because I can shape the parts of the distro that I use to my needs. As you can see my motivation is a rather that of an self-centered arse. I’m not so much the safe-the-world kind. Scratch my itch. Thats it :)

 

What do you think was your most important contribution to the openSUSE project/community or what is the contribution that you’re most proud of?

I think when we were starting opening everything up with openSUSE I was involved in setting some pretty important directions. Nothing really tangible but rather how we approach things. I think I also was an important factor that we did not lose our old community with that move. Thats what I’m most proud of.

 

When do you usually spend time on the openSUSE project?

There is no specific time of the day. It might be on the loo at 7am thinking about something or at 6pm in the project meeting on IRC. openSUSE is part of my life, also because of my employment with Novell.

 

Three words to describe openSUSE? Or make up a proper slogan!

It goes on.

That’s rather stolen from a great quote of Robert Frost but what the heck…

 

What do you think is missing or underrated in the distribution or the project?

Distribution: How tidy it is, is underrated. I frequently use other distributions or operating systems and I rarely find anything that is as straightened out as openSUSE. I’m a bit tidy-minded, like all Germans, so I love that. I think only over time people come to understand that with the distribution.

Project: We are missing, and desperately so, a nice process to handle code contributions. I hope the collaboration features of the buildservice will fulfill what the promise in the future.

 

What do you think the future holds for the openSUSE project?

Everything. Great wins, great setbacks. Excitement, boredom. Love, hate. Good versions, bad versions. Yin and Yang. If I would think otherwise I would be out of here :)

 

A person asks you why he/she should choose openSUSE instead of other distribution/OS. What would be your arguments to convince him/her to pick up openSUSE?

A former incarnation of mine was a sports goods salesmen. I’ve never got this out of my system completely so I would start to look for advantages openSUSE holds for this person. That’s the best sales pitch, creating demand for your product and all. So I can tell you for a specific person but not in general…

 

Which members of the openSUSE community have you met in person?

_A_lot_. Too many to list. Alone all the ones I work with on a daily basis would blow this page up…

 

How many icons are currently on your desktop?

0. I’m an icon hater. Too much time spent on the various black-, flux-, openbox window managers I think. To start apps I need I have keyboard shortcuts and files I handle with the shell. Desktop wise I’m rather boring. I usually don’t mind what it is as long as I can use mostly the keyboard to navigate it. Or as one of my best friends used to say: I never cut and paste, I always cat and pipe.

 

What is the application you can’t live without? And why?

A shell. Preferably zsh but anything with bourne syntax cuts it for me. That’s the application I would take to a desert island with me.

 

Which application or feature should be invented as soon as possible?

For real? There is nothing I desperately miss for myself. There are the usual suspects users need/want and that everybody would like to see. I think the next big challenge we have to solve is decent repository handling. We are over explaining how to unpack and make applications from source code because nowadays most vendors supply packages and we have cool tools to handle them. We are over explaining how to install a package and its dependencies because nowadays most vendors supply packages in a repository and we have cool tools to handle them. But if you hang out today where user support happens you will see that this is still too much to handle for the average joe. Luckily I think all the ideas that surround content of repositories apply also to a repository of repositories.

 

Which is your preferred text editor? And why?

VIM. Because I don’t like Emacs ;)

 

Which famous person would you want to join the openSUSE community?

Either Charlton Heston, Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. Because as everybody knows, if they are on your side nothing can go wrong. Of course we are all unique and beautiful snowflakes and are as important as millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars.

 

Which computer related skills would you like to have?

In general I sometimes wish to have a more formal IT education then I have so I would really understand some things instead of just grasping the edges. But I guess that’s just my idealization of that education. I usually have to puke if I see what students of CS have to do :)

 

The Internet crashes for a whole week — how would you feel, what would you do?

The "the Internet" is an international scale-free network. Scale-free networks are very tolerant of random failures and very vulnerable to intentional attacks on the central hubs. The central hubs of the Internet are in nearly every country on this planet. So if "the Internet" crashes doomsday is probably here and I would feel not much but rather take actions to survive. Like trying to reach the nearest EZDS or something.

 

Which is your favorite movie scene?

Oh I was waiting for that question. You probably guessed by now that im a movie buff. There are so many. You cant make me choose! Please! Can I at least subdivide them into genres?

For action it would be the lobby shootout from "Matrix". It is just so intense. Closely followed by the "Danny Boy Thompson Action" from "Millers Crossing". The funniest scene ever made is the the "William Shatner" scene from "Airplane II" I think. Especially with him it’s hilarious. "The Shining" has many scenes that would easily qualify but the "Here’s Johnny" scene is just the best part of the whole movie and my favorite horror scene. Something that defined science fiction for me is the "Last Supper" scene from Alien. From then on people in science fiction movies where neither a princess with a funny haircut nor some other larger then life figures. Just some dirt bag scrape-bys like we all are.

For war movies I would either go with the "I wonder what bitte bitte means?" scene from "The Longest Day" or of course the opening sequence of "Saving Private Ryan" which quadruples the intensity of the Matrix lobby shootout. And for Western there is the final three way shootout from il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. A movie that I have seen more often then my lovely mum.

 

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Again you make me choose? Star Trek if we can ignore everything that came after TNG.

 

What is your favorite food and drink?

Tapas. Put me in the Cervecería Catalana in Barcelona and im happy. Optionally give me 50€, let me tramp through la boqueria and make them myself. I not only love to eat but also to cook. Of course also everything seafood related. I’m from a harbor town.

I love to drink (lavazza) coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice in the morning, simple water over the day and in the evening, I’m German, beer (pils: Haake Beck or Spalter). My liquor days are over but here and there you still can catch me with a cuba libre in hand ;-)

 

Favorite game or console (in your childhood and nowadays)?

My all-time-favorite game is Risk. Not the virtual one though. I also like to flip the cards or a try my dice luck in backgammon. If you meant the virtual world then my favorite one is Mario Kart. I can play all 4  versions I own all day long, I frequently do with Mario Kart Wii and the DS version these days :)

 

Which city would you like to visit?

Right now? Home wouldn’t be bad. It’s way to long ago I was there. And in general, Bremen is always worth a trip. If you know your way around :)

 

What is your preferred way to spend your vacation?

I work in Germany. We have vacations! So if I take a short one I really like to go to some big city, no matter where preferably one with a harbor. If its a long one in the winter I like to go skiing and if its in the summer I want beach. Simple.

 

Someone gives you $1.000.000 — what would you do with the money?

Distribute. There are tons of people and institutions I would share it with. And I probably would also mindlessly spend a lot on stupid things. Money corrupts, you know :)

 

If traveling through time was possible — when would we be most likely to meet you?

Time travel is possible. Not for people. But today, that’s just an engineering problem :) I would limit myself to times without people I think. I’m not much of a dress up guy…

 

There’s a thunderstorm outside — do you turn off your computer?

Nope. But I should. At least the one under my TV, it’s directly connected to the antenna on the roof. But I rarely swear at the gods so I take my chances!

 

Have your ever missed an appointment because you forgot about it while sitting at your computer?

Constantly. The last one was last week’s project meeting. I’m not so good with multitasking.

 

Show us a picture of something, you have always wanted to share!

 

You need 6 big potatoes. An onion. A can of corned beef. Two bay leaves. 2 eggs, a glass of pickled gherkins and a glass of beetroot. Butter, salt and pepper.

Peel and boil the potatoes. In the meanwhile cube the onion and saute them in a bit of fat. Now add the corned beef and mash it with the onions. Then add some water until everything gets a pulpy consistency. Add the bay leaves, salt and pepper it and boil it for 5 to 10 minutes. Your potatoes should be done by now, so strain off the water and then mash them too. Get rid of the bay leaves and combine the potato and the onion mixtures. Now you have Labskaus. The eggs go with it with (fried) so do the gherkins and the beetroot. You’ll love it, I promise! :)

 

You couldn’t live without…

Oxygen, Water, Food.

 

Which question was the hardest to answer?

The time travel one. Everything you answer sounds stupid. It’s time travel. It makes your head spin…

 

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5 Responses to “People of openSUSE: Henne Vogelsang”

  1. R. J.

    Time travel is possible, you just need to know the right aliens ;)

    Nice interview

  2. Henne simply rocks! He knows da real food – Labskaus is da best!

  3. Hubert

    Hi Henne,

    cool that you are still alive:-)
    But I prefer Bratwurst and Kraut in Nuernberg.

    Best regards from Hubert – still in the Linux and OpenSource World.

  4. Thanks for sharing the valuable explanation. Much appreciated. Very nice it.