People of openSUSE: Jean-Daniel Dodin

13. Apr 2009 | News Team | No License

Jean-Daniel Dodin is openSUSE member since the very beginning. He is the first sysop of // and in general very active openSUSE and Linux advocate, both on and off line. The most recent of his numerous projects is attempt to revive the Linux Documentation Project which was sinking in a lethargy for quite some time before he appeared started reorganization, energizing people.

**Nicknames:** jdd
**Homepage: ** [//](//
**Blog: ** I'm not really a blog man. However I have one for the LDP: [//](//
**Favorite season:** Spring or autumn. I don't like hight temps - I can live with low ones :-)
**Motto: ** When student, I used "Age quod agis" - do what you do. I probably follow this as much as I can even now

Please introduce yourself!

I was born in France January 1946. My mother was home wife, my father was well know in the photographic world as inventor, specially for the “verre dépoli télémètre” (telemetric frosted glass or stygmometer - Lucien Dodin).

I’ve finished scientific college and teached mechanical engeneering for a long time in french high school. I met computers as CAD drafter.

Tell us about the background to your computer use.

I had first contact with data processing using handheld calculator HP-41. I was the chairman of the French Toulouse “PPC-T” Chapter, wrote a book about this calculator in French, and was extremely proud to have it translated in English and published in USA. Web version is here: Inside the HP-41

I had to programm machine langage utilities for this calculator, writing to EPROMs to be able to run them. Hex programming BCD calculation, 10 bytes word size… happy days :-)

During this period, I had to use computers (not yet PC’s :-) with CP/M then MS-DOS. Then of course Windows (3.11 - the best one).

I met Linux in 1995/96 with a 486/8Mb ram computer Slackware and fvwm :-).

When and why did you start using openSUSE, or SUSE Linux?

Very early. The Red Hat version at this time was not so good, so I started using SuSE. I still have the 1988 5.2 SuSE manual just next to me.

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

I’ve tried nearly any mainstream Linux distro, specially Mandrake (Mandriva) and Debian. I always appreciate SUSE friendlyness, so I joined the openSUSE community right at the very beginning. After some month of working with openSUSE I was asked to take in hand the french wiki that had to be created.

In what way do you participate in the openSUSE project?

I was the first sysadmin of the french wiki. I spent 6 month translating pages to drive the project. I still work for the french community, but as I write pretty fluently in english, I like to publish first in English to have a better visibility.

In August, 2008, I was nominated as coordinator of The Linux Documentation Project (LDP). At this moment I have few more admins for the French wiki and I let them do the main work, and they do that very good.

What especially motivates you to participate in the openSUSE project?

I think there is no other Linux project as friendly as openSUSE.

It’s like this from the SuSE beginning, the SuSE distribution was always very friendly. I was afraid to lose this when Novell bought SuSE, but finally Novell did a very good job in making the distribution open source and free. With openSUSE one can have a lot of free packages, tightly integrated with the distribution.

What would be your the most important contribution to the openSUSE project

and community, or what is the contribution that you’re most proud of?

Certainly the 6 month translation time I had, after the launch of the French wiki. It was a specially hard work, having to learn Mediawiki, read and test so many features. Debugging the new openSUSE was not as friendly as it is now.

When do you usually spend time on the openSUSE project?

Since I’m retired, I read my mail early once a hour (say 5 time a day), and try to help as much as I can. I think I can be pretty good as teaching the newbies (after all, I was a teacher).

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

Three words is too little :-)

The friendly Linux distribution that fits well the beginner and the data center administrator.

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

The openSUSE is a bit too much oriented to modern computers. For example, there is no more cd version, and I have yet many cd only computers in my vicinity. Live CD don’t even launch is such computers, but openSUSE has a lot of new ideas, and the ability to create dedicated CDs with “Studio” may solve some problems.

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

My main fear is Novell being bought by any other company, like SUN by IBM (may be). openSUSE is too close to Novell, this is not good, but we have no choice for now. The openSUSE works to find other sponsors, but this is very hard in the difficult world we live in.

If openSUSE survive current economic crisis, its future should be great.

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?

Friendliness, package availability, good for anything. openSUSE fits all needs! (oh, good slogan!)

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

None. Toulouse is far away and I don’t have money to travel to Bruxelle or Nuernberg.

How many icons are currently on your desktop?

12 and I have 8 desktops (identical).

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

Kpat? following the solver advice allows to never completely fail :-)

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

48 hours per day?

Which is your preferred text editor? And why?

The vim. I very frequently have to work on various Linux computers across the net and for this VIM is the best choice. I can use tinyvi, but it’s a pain :-).

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

So many :-).

I met several times Richard Stalman. See video made in Toulouse by my LUG.:Richard Stalman speaking..

I’m the man who walks behind table at the beginning of the video. At the left side of the screen is G. Aznar, former LDP leader.

But I don’t think he could like openSUSE :-) But, do we need famous persons?

Many, specially administration related. I can administer servers, but each time I spend days learning what to do.

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

No problem. I can take 3 weeks vacation. Only my mailbox will have problems :-)

Which is your favorite movie scene?

Right now? “MammaMia” also “Lords of the Rings”, but favorite theater play is “Cyrano de Bergerac”.

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars. I followed Star trek 30 years ago and I’m very fond of SciFi, but it’s too much.

What is your favorite food and drink?

Steak frites? (no translation possible :-)

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

Final Fantasy. I bougth a PS2 just to play the last version :-)

Which city would you like to visit?

Los Angeles. My daughter Claire just went there to work as an actress :-)

I’m very proud of her. Her last movie is 2084. More you can find on Claire’s) web site.

What is your preferred way to spend your vacation?

Wandering trough the Europe with car and caravan (and without computer).

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

Travel? I would like to visit Egypt. My wife’s family is in West Indies, one of my daughters is in Los Angeles, my son wants to go to Australia and the other daughter is a singer, so I have many people to visit and sponsor :-))

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

I like present time. Past was often scary and future we don’t know… Besides, I enjoy living in France: wonderfull country, good social covering, good weather…

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

No. We had one recently, but my computer is a laptop so AC outage is not a problem.

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

I easily missed my appointments when working (any kind of work). I’m glad now that I have a cell phone with a very powerfull ring.

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

Nothing specially. As long as there is a Web, I can share all what I want there.

You couldn’t live without…

A family.

Which question was the hardest to answer?


What other question would you like to answer? And what would you answer?

I don’t really like answering questions , but I do because I think it’s useful. :-)

Categories: People of openSUSE


Share this post: