I, Didier Roche, apply for MOTU.


Didier Roche (didrocks)

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page

Who I am

I am a 25 year old French system administrator, 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 last July, having to balance my spare time between ubuntu-fr and ubuntu development (a solution is to poke huats for every tasks you have to handle in parallel manner) Smile :)

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 two prefered areas: ubuntu-desktop and ubuntu-server teams.

I set up a wiki page to communicate with my mentor and to sort out things that can be useful. This one is located on this page. 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.

The whole work on packages can be seen there and here is the full story with sponsors (first examples were more detailed ;)).

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

I will show examples in different areas:

  • bug correction: The "easy" file sharing not notifying about logout/login was a great experience on working on a hilighted and "waited for" bug which had also the focus for an SRU (and so, experiencing SRU process). And well, this persuaded me that I can still read and write some lines code in C/C++ Wink ;) Seeing that it was listed in the 8.04.2 release note was a great reward for me (I know, I just need little things... :)). Intrepid debdiff, hardy debdiff.

  • I managed quite complex updates like gnome-games one and pushed them in bzr to prepare futur development workflow. (see "things I could do better" for the whole story ;))

  • Enhancement: After having worked with jdstrand in ufw package integration, I was feeling that it was a pity that rules (which can have some horribles name) were case-sensitive. So I made a patch which has been merged (slightely differently) by jdstrand in trunk. It was a good way to begin to learn how python works): diff available there

  • Team work: Removing "multiuser" from some daemons was quite challenging, not because of the technical changes it had (it was a straightfoward changes), but to find people willing to sponsors the reverse depencies (nvidia-kernel-common, nis, lm-sensors, keepalived, dictd, acpid) was harder. I had to find one person who point me to another one, and so on... Smile :) This was a good experience to meet a whole bunch of people and also to forward those patch to debian and convince some DD for the benefit of it.

  • Packaging from scratch: I tried to find some basic C/C++ program that I can use on a day-to-day basis and that was interested to package. loggedfs fullfilled these requirements. Using debhelper, I added a daemon init script to it, controlled by a file in /etc/default, and also introduced debconf in it. It was great to put in practice such concepts.

Areas of work

I am working currently more on the desktop team, but try to dedicate more time to the server one as well. 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

  • During the update of gnome-games of gnome-games, there were some files that weren't installed. seb128 show me the marvellous of "dh_install --list-missing" which I immediatly added as a pbuilder hook. In the meantime, he shows me that you have to diff old and new to see which new depencies may be added. This was not the case this time, but I must confess that I didn't do it and just relied on NEWS file. Frustrated by this mistake, I took some time to figure out bugs in gnome-games and saw that it misses LPI integration for two python games (in addition to one to convert from libgnomeui to GtkBuilder). It was not straightforward seeing no documentation on that (for python) and only Gajim, as a reverse dependency on python-launchpad-integration, used it (but this is no more the case, maybe we can remove the dependency. Will have a look at that.). I added this features for gnome-sudoku and for glchess (one using glade, and the other GtkBuilder). I have to write a little documentation on that.

  • I didn't handle update on librairies and that's a weak point. I alerted seb128 on that and he promess to give me the next library update (thanks seb \o/). As usual, when I am unsure of something, I ask question. But I splitted evince with 2 libraries packages (and 2 -dev also) and so, see how libraries packages works. Smile :)

  • I planned to give/help in a French classroom session about autotools. I will have to find some time to give a deeper look at them... I didn't use them a lot apart from autoreconf Wink ;)

  • I will try to be present in the desktop/server team meetings, but the schedule is not really great regarding with my paid-work. So, at this moment, I just read ML summary of those meetings.

Plans for the future


First, being present in team meeting, just have to find a way to recouncile work and free time Smile :-)

I plan to sponsor other people's work (as I had the chance to be sponsored many times, it's normal to give same chances to new contributors).

For the same reason, I want also to take part of mentorship program as I really liked this kind of relationship with my mentor (warp10, you ROCK ;)). Furthemore, I really think that the mentorship is a good way for new contributors to not be launched into the wild, and have a person that can help her/him to point to the right direction. But I greatly appreciate that mentors do not things/suggests for you, and let you come when you need him, not the contrary. As Andrea told me "The mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way road, where both learns from the other in different manners".

Finally, I have a great interest in programming a user friendly control parental GUI. See next section.

What I like least in Ubuntu

Not control parental GUI is a great loss for Ubuntu and stop/block some parents to use Ubuntu, for their children. Especially nowadays as in France, for instance, we have a lot a advertisements financed by the government on TV that say basically "turn on parental control in your computer": I think this has to be fixed.

I planned to create one and I am currently working on it. See this page that was dedicated for UDS sponsorship (in what I didn't succeed, unfortunatly), where I give some presentation of my projet: gchildcare.


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


Andrea Colangelo (warp10)

General feedback

I have been Didier's mentor for the whole of his contribution period in Ubuntu, and I have to say that Didier has been an outstanding mentee. His technical skills are top level, as proven from the many packages he worked on (that would scare even experienced MOTUs). Apart from that, Didier's orderliness and both personal and team skills are remarkable. The way he used his own wiki pages should be recommended to every Ubuntu contributor. He is always eager to learn and asked me a lot of questions about packaging. Didier is now an experienced developer, showed improvements in all areas of work, and I am confident he fully understands our freeze policies. I definitely trust him, and warmly encourage to accept Didier in the MOTU rank.

Specific Experiences of working together

Being Didier's mentor, I worked very closely with him on about everything, so I can't list very specific experiences, since our relationship was pretty wide. Didier made some interesting patches for server-related packages and core packages too, often uploaded without the need of any correction. Further, his recent packaging experience with loggedfs has been excellent, and he was capable of packaging the software on his own (just a couple reccomendations from me).

Daniel Holbach (dholbach)

General feedback

Didier is a great contributor. I'm very happy with his contributions. I sponsored 10+ of his packages and I was always happy with his quick reponses and the overall quality. With every comment I made his contributions became better and better.

I trust him to be a good MOTU.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

The small mistakes Didier made never really had an impact on the quality of the upload and I'm sure that over time he'll be less likely to make even those small mistakes.

Martin Pitt

General feedback

I uploaded a bunch of merges and bug fixes from Didier, overall perhaps 10. The patches I sponsored were generally good, and just needed minor corrections.

I have too little "live" experience with him to be truly able to say I'd trust him to upload everything on his own; but so far I have no reason to say the opposite.

So a general +0.5 from me, due to my relative inexperience with him.

Specific Experiences of working together

My most recent experience with him was with his nautilus-share fix, which he did very well.

Sebastien Bacher

General feedback

I did sponsor several desktop updates Didier worked on. He usually does a good job, takes the time to do thing correctly and understand what he's doing and asks when there is something he doesn't understand. He did good job on non trivial updates, learnt the required tools and documented his work on the wiki for other contributors. There is things he didn't work on yet (he's working on his first library split for an update) so he still has to learn but he seems ready to contribute to universe since he does good job on things he knows and ask questions when required

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

There is things he didn't work on yet and that he has to learn but he seems to be learning quickly so that should not be an issue


=== 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/MOTUApplication (last edited 2009-02-25 10:32:22 by i59F72ABA)