I, Didier Roche, apply for Core Dev.


Didier Roche (didrocks)

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page

Who I am

I am a 26 year old French Ubuntu developer, living near Paris.

About my Linux profile, I started using Linux with Red Hat 6 in 1999. I then really become a regular Linux user since Mandrake 7.0 with a KDE based interface. I used Mandrake until 9.0 release of Mandrake, and then decided to try debian, and was truly satisfied with it, despite the long configuration time it took to have a working environment. I found the apt tools really cool compared to rpm one.

I was seeking for an easy-to-use and install Linux distribution. I found the "no-name-yet", known as Ubuntu today, and become to take some test with it and immediatly loved it) I have sticked with it and Ubuntu makes me love the GNOME environment since this date.

I also went in Africa for one month with a non-governemental organisation, Africedu : (project 2006: Lome, capital city of Togo), shipping in a school 60 computers set up with Ubuntu 5.10 (and upgraded there to 6.06 from on old hard drive!). We made some training there.

As a programmer, I know C++, XHTML/CSS, PHP, XML/XSL/XPATH, shell scripting (Bash/Ksh) and java languages. I am currently learning python which seems to rock on!

Oh ya, and I began a little more than ten years ago, with... visual basic :/ (nobody's perfect).

My Ubuntu story

So, I began very early in the Ubuntu world, but just as an user as the beginning. I quickly relied on ubuntu-fr website (just a forum at this time).

Founding that there were no real "begins here" and sorted list of basics learning in Ubuntu, and being sure that a wiki can't handle such a thing for most of people, I wrote a documentation to my dudes when going to Africa to teach them the very basics of Ubuntu. It turns out as Simple Comme Ubuntu, a free book (under CC:By-Sa licence), part of framabook collection, solded at more than 3 000 copies only by the Internet, and downloaded more than 300 000 times at the very moment.

It becames popular and so people from ubuntu-fr team asked me to help in coordinating the ubuntu-fr wiki. Today, I am involved in French ubuntu-fr loco team as a member of the administration team and part of the chair (as the secretary) of ubuntu-fr French non governemental organisation. With this, I am participating to French Ubuntu Party as an organizer and differents French FOSS meetings in promoting ubuntu, keeping also some relations with the press. Thanks to that, I get my Ubuntu membership.

Then, for ubuntu development, at previous RMLL, I spoke with huats (the "4K man", ubuntu-fr president!) about MOTUship and he presented me the mentorship program. I was excited about that and dive in it from July 2008, having to balance my spare time between ubuntu-fr and ubuntu development. I became in February 2009 a MOTU even if I work mostly in GNOME apps (so in main). I got access to GNOME package set from archive reorganization last October.

I'm now part of the desktop team and work on UNE packaging too.

My involvement

So, from then, I worked to learn a lot of things about packaging reading a whole bunch of documentations (long time transportation to go to your paid work enables you to read a lot!), and working in my preferred area: ubuntu-desktop components. I never hesitate to document stuff that can not be seen as being obviously described, for instance the build process.

I worked also on updating the description of bzr usage in the desktop team for packaging (add and update a package) and some other pages are still in progress to have step-by-step usage of such workflows. We try some new workflow now on the team to have source packaging branches and UNE one are great to experiment them.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

  • reorganize sessions to be able to run more than one setting: this enable for instance running UNE and GNOME in the same desktop. It involved tweaking xdg, gdm, gconf, casper and user-setup. A real detective skill was needed to find why the right session wasn't present after a reboot on USB persitent disk or once installed. Smile :) This session implementation is now taken for xubuntu users and mythbuntu as well. (gdm, gconf, user-setup, casper (1), casper (2),. xubuntu's integration=

  • Tons of GNOME update, even if the road is still long to get at least 1/1000's of what seb128 has done) Smile :)

  • I fixed some gdm related stuff:
    • Don't set failsafe session as default when user select it gdm. When you know how gdm code is structured, this is not a so trivial patch Smile :)

    • Provide setting default session choice with a commandline (using both dbus and policykit) and add an option gdmsetup as well: gdm (commandline), gdm (gmdsetup)

    • Fix failsafe session not starting. This involved also some seahorse look as well. Fix were easy, but uninteresting debug was needed to find where was the errors (seahorse-plugins, gdm)

  • cache wallpaper using libgnome-desktop (resize/transformation only done once): gnome-desktop

Areas of work

I am working on the desktop team, but try to dedicate some time to other area as upstream development (Quickly and getting started into cambria). I think I am quite a generalist person and have a wide breath of interests. So, anything that can make me learn new things and make ubuntu better is really welcome.

As my sponsors may know, I like to really understand things and not just apply them, so, I keep asking until I have a response I can fully understand Smile :)

Things I could do better

  • Concerning the session changes, I didn't test installed version and was just confident, building and generating my own CD and squashfs, that the live was launched on the right session. Unfortunately, some black magic happened making installed version not booting on the right desktop session. I have been aware of that and fixed it a couple of days after.
  • I'm not quite confident with current .gir files. I prefer to ask to seb128 about some reviewing for those kind of package
  • I've once uploaded a wrong gtkhtml3.14 version and had to rollback it as we don't upgrade evolution in lucid (I didn't noticed it has been untouched in the lucid cycle and that it's closely related to evolution). I should have asked before on #ubuntu-desktop about it.

Plans for the future


I plan to sponsor more other people's work (as I had the chance to be sponsored many times, it's normal to give same chances to new contributors). I want especially focus on GNOME components and also those which are on more than one package set (preventing people on the GNOME package set to upload for instance gnome-doc-tools and stuff like that).

I also want to get involve little by little in the archive admin work to raise my skills and because I'm really interested into that area.

Finally, I want to get involve to james_w' cambria. Seems a very good idea to help people learn how to package properly as well as getting our package standard higher.

What I like least in Ubuntu

Package sets are sometimes quite frustrating, like, you think you have access to a dedicated component, but as it's part in more than one package set, your upload got rejected.

It's sometimes hard to follow everything around ubuntu on ML and IRC channel. The idea for a "what's going on summary" was very good. Unfortunately, that takes to much time I guess.

Difficult to checkout launchpad on current development release. So, no checkout, hard to contribute (I tried three times in 6 months and it never worked :/)

I can't find any package to get more hours within a day… Should file a bug about it.


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.

Daniel Holbach (dholbach)

General feedback

Didier is a fantastic guy, easy to work with and reliable. I'm glad he's applying for core-dev.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

Do more sponsoring! Smile :-)

Martin Pitt

Over the last year I sponsored tons and tons of GNOME package updates and bug fixes for Didier. He has gotten solid packaging skills, and shows an unstoppable drive to work on the desktop. Now he has taken over the primary responsibility for Ubuntu Netbook packaging. He has been an ~ubuntu-desktop uploader for several months as well.

I trust him fully to do day to day package updates and new packages; he does not hesitate to ask if he encounters a new and unknown situation.

Sebastien Bacher

Looking on ubuntu changes lists Didier did over 270 uploads since intrepid. His has been learning quickly, doing excellent work on bugs and upgrades and working on new projects as quickly too. He knows the ubuntu community well, has good technical skills and seem perfectly fitted to be accepted as an ubuntucore contributor now.


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
=== Areas of Improvement ===

DidierRoche/CoreDevApplication (last edited 2010-02-13 15:55:51 by ram94-1-81-57-198-59)