David Abbott interviewed me on Gentoo linux related topics and open source in general. Quite an experience I must say :)
One of the reasons I like open source so much , is the relationships that are developed between users and developers. Through irc, blogs, forums, etc, users can contact us directly and discuss with us about almost anything :) . This is why I try to be quite active on these areas. As a user, I also really enjoy reading interviews from various open source developers. Learning more about their character and personality leads effectively to more creative discussions with them.
In order to turn the above thoughts into actions, I am planning to get involved with the Gentoo userrel project :)
Bringing users and developers closer is a nice way to keep them motivated and recruit highly active users as future developers.
* Could you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m Dimitris Glezos, 28 years old, living in sunny Greece. I’m the founder of
Indifex, a new software company which researches and develops scalable
solutions for content translation and distribution. I’ve been quite active in
the Fedora Project as a member of the Board and a member of the Fedora
Localization and Documentation Steering Committees.
I graduated as a Computer Engineer from Greece and specialized on Advanced
Information Systems, before deciding to try out research and study Semantic
Web and Fuzzy Logic for a year and half. After finally admitting to myself
that my true love is open source, I switched to work full-time on it.
In the non-technology world, I enjoy design, photography and rock climbing
quite a lot. Lately I’ve been trying to learn Contract Bridge too — hard
game. But that’s true for most of the great games, right?
* Tell us about your opensource contribution.
The first contribution I remember came at least a year after I started being
attracted to the free software culture from projects like Mozilla. I took the
lead in localizing the PHP programming language manual, and proceeded to
translating Fedora and GNOME in Greek. Around that time, together with Nikos
Charonitakis and others, the Greek Fedora Team was founded.
In terms of code contributions, I’ve sent a few patches to the i18n toolchain
of the Fedora Docs Project and some improvements to Fedora’s Websites and
default Firefox homepage. Seeing how much Fedora’s Localization infrastructure
could be improved, I decided to expose myself in more trouble by leading the
effort to move the Fedora development code, which was hosted on an internal
CVS server, to servers managed by the community. Boy, that was fun!
At that point Transifex started being built, with support from the Google
Summer of Code, and soon became the Localization Platform for Fedora. Today,
the Tx development website has more than 70 people registered and the project
has grown to 15K lines of code and a strong core team of committers.
Oh, and one of the most fun stuff I did about open source and ‘digital
freedom’ in general was my involvement with the FFII opposition to the
legislation of software patents in the EU. Lots of trips to the European
Parliament, which, to all’s satisfaction and excitement, led to the rejection
of the directive.
* Recently you became a member of Fedoras’ Board. What is your area of
The Fedora Project Board is the highest level of decision-making within
Fedora, and together, as a group, its members are empowered to decide on the
Project’s policies, to steer it to a good direction, to set priorities, and to
allow the rest of the Fedora sub-projects do their work with efficiency and
While I’m a firm believer that the most successful organizations are those
which do not need a centralized decision center (a good read on the topic is
“The Starfish and the Spider” by Brafman and Beckstrom), the Board *is*
eventually accountable for everything that might go wrong in Fedora.
One of the roles I’m taking in the Board is helping the team and the Fedora
Project Leader have the best view of the needs, feelings and requests of the
community. Also, I’m working in continuing to increase the Project’s openness
in every decision taken, and in expanding our community reach by proposing
(sometimes drastic) changes in the way we’re doing things.
Being a guy who lives in Europe and doesn’t work with Red Hat allows me to
give different input to the Board, eventually chipping in the balance of the
team in a way which represents and benefits our community the most.
* What’s the status of Fedora at this moment? How do you see its future in
the next 2-3 years?
The Feature process we have in Fedora is completely open, and anyone can apply
for having a feature. You can take a look at the upcoming Fedora 11 feature
list at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/11/FeatureList.
We released our Beta a few days ago, which looks quite promising. Some of the
features I’m excited about are automatic font and application installation,
kernel-based mode setting, faster startup (20 seconds?!), and the built-in
support for Delta RPMs, which allows users to update their packages by
downloading only what has changed in the update instead of a whole new version
of the package.
I’m also excited to see Python 2.6 being shipped with Fedora 11, a feature led
by Indifex’s own Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams.
Fedora’s development pace seems to be increasing, with more features landing
with each release. We see a lot of innovation happening in Fedora, and that’s
great, because that’s what our users like to see and need. In a few years I
see Fedora being even more influential in the state of the Linux Desktop,
having a stronger developer community and with improvements on the things we
need to continue improving.
* Transifex is being used more and more for translating purposes. How do you
feel about that?
Well, it feels great of course. :) The promises Transifex makes are quite
simple: I’ll be the robot to which translators can request everything they
need to translate, and the servant to take those files and silently put them
into the developer’s knitting pattern. Gradually we see more projects being
interested to use Transifex, and this will allow us to do some pretty cool
stuff in the future.
I’m also very excited to see that there is interest to use Transifex as a
platform and extend it to build other tools which extend and compliment its
functionality. This is also one of the reasons I’d like us to release a public
API soon too: to allow even more projects to interoperate with Tx and offer
users more features than today.
* How do you see the future of Transifex?
Bigger, better, faster. We’re working hard in listening to feedback from
translators and developers, in order to make Tx the best tool for large
communities of users like Fedora, Maemo, GNOME, OpenSUSE etc.
I also see the spur of side-projects which use Transifex to do cool stuff that
couldn’t be done before in the Open Source L10n landscape.
* What is the purpose of your company, Indifex? Do you have any projecs
At Indifex, we’re working on solutions that eventually will enable millions of
people to easily publish material to the web in the user’s native language.
Indifex also hires some very talented code hackers, among others, who develop
Transifex to the needs of various large organizations. We provide support for
the translation workflow of enterprises and big projects like Fedora, making
sure the translators and developers have the infrastructure they need to work
One of our biggest projects at this moment is the development of
transifex.net, a one-stop place and open platform for crowdsourcing
For us, Indifex is the place where we can have fun hacking great solutions
together using cutting-edge tools like Python, Linux, distributed version
control systems, and scalable internationalization techniques. It’s been a
great time so far, and I’m super excited about the upcoming months and years.