- In the last days, a lot of sources talked about a possible, official, new Ubuntu version with LXDE: Lubuntu. Can you tell us something more?
Well, actually, there is nothing secret going on here. LXDE components have been in the Launchpad repository already for some time. After the inclusion of LXDE in Mandriva and Fedora and after it became a standard desktop in Debian, it was time to start a dedicated project around Ubuntu. There is also the goal to improve the support of ARM and MIPS of Ubuntu and new power saving netbooks with ARM will come out soon. I think LXDE could play a role here. The Lubuntu project is also an attempt to bring together people, who have worked on Ubuntu derivates with LXDE. If we can bring together people like Shae Smitte from U-lite and Dave Slaughter from LinuxMint LXDE CE and besides that build a community around that, we have won a lot. However, whatis always difficult in such a global project is to coordinate work. I had the idea of getting teams of people living together closeby meeting up and working together. During my two months in Singapore this year, we have started to form a team there. David C. Rigby and Luther Goh Lu Feng from LinuxNUS are organizing meet ups here. Currently I am starting work with some people in Berlin as well.
- Do you really met Mark Shuttleworth to talk about this? What did you decide?
Yes, I met Mark in Berlin. We have some friends in Canonical and they invited me and told me to use the opportunity to talk to Mark. Actually Mark is pretty nice and he understood immediately, that LXDE as a desktop environment could be the base for an official derivate. This was only an initial talk and we need to understand that there is still a long way to go. The conversation was mainly about how we could work together as a community. I think the role of Canonical is not really the role of a decision maker. I think, we need a lightweight Ubuntu derivate with LXDE, so we started the project. Canonical is always interested to grow and nurture the community as their business also depends on it.
- Will you receive any economic aid from Canonical to improve Lubuntu/LXDE?
At this time, we do not have any official cooperation in regards to financial support from Canonical. From my experience with the FOSS community, financials are not the biggest incentive. Motivation of contributors to create something better and acknowledgement is the best incentive. Good developers who have proven their capability in a project like LXDE can always get good offers from companies. These times probably even more than Microsoft developers, who were the first ones to be laid of in the financial crisis. The support I would like to see more in the future from companies like Canonical would be to dedicate more developer resources to LXDE and to provide improvements upstream. Besides, we are planning events to bringt together the community and welcome support here.
- Our interview seems to be completed. Congratulations for your work and thank you for your time!
Thank you very much for offering me the opportunity to talk to you. All the best for you offering more background about freely licensed Open Source software and GNU/Linux.