Home > Uncategorized > Roderick Greening (rgreening)

Roderick Greening (rgreening)

Age: 37
Location: St. John’s, Newfoundland Canada
IRC Nick: rgreening


My current desktop is running Kubuntu with the Glassified theme. The picture in the background was taken by me 2 years ago, while visiting my parents. It’s a small inlet, called Deep Cove, and it’s in Musgravetown, Newfoundland, my family’s hometown.

How long have you used Linux and what was your first distro?
Well, it all started back in University, and that would have been around ’93. I was working in one of the computer labs, and a friend of mine (TC) said he had this cool new OS that I should try out. He indicated it was very UNIX like, and since we were using UNIX servers for most of our Computer classes, it would be useful.

The distribution was Slackware, and I believe it came on approximately 15-20 floppy disks. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent playing around in that environment. What I can tell you is that it was directly responsible for my current career path, and my first full-time job in the computer industry. I maintained a dual boot system for many years at work, just to run Linux for ‘real’ work and windows for everything else I ‘had’ to.

How long have you been using Ubuntu?
I started using Kubuntu in 2006, though I dabbled with it a little bit earlier than that. Prior to that I was using Gentoo as my main OS, and did so up to about mid 2007.

My main reason for looking into Kubuntu was I had a friend who was quite dissatisfied with Windows. He was constantly having to re-format and re-install his OS to get rid of mal-ware, viruses, and other cruft. I eventually convinced him to test drive Kubuntu along with me. Since then, I have installed Kubuntu for many friends and family members, and they now use Kubuntu as their main OS, and are quite satisfied.

When did you get involved with the MOTU team and how?
One day, while using Kubuntu, my Knetworkmanager stopped working. In order to get back online, I needed to install the Ubuntu nm-applet. I decided then to see if there was something I could do to help troubleshoot it. I jumped onto IRC and joined the #kubuntu-devel channel and started asking some questions.

I was amazed at how helpful everyone was, especially Jonathan Riddell, Scott Kitterman and Harald Sitter. These three devs really got me kick-started, and back into development mode. This was during the tail end of the Intrepid development cycle.

To quote Jonathon from his Kubuntu 8.10 release announcement: “Then there’s rgreening who turned up one day and fixes anything anyone asks him to since”. Since then, I have packaged many releases and updates to KDE4, as well as other KDE Universe packages.

I had really good sponsors, who were patient and helped me out a lot. In particular Scott Kitterman was exceptional. On many occasions he offered up little known (at least by me) tidbits on how to streamline my packaging and testing. WIthout him, I do not think I would have applied for MOTU status.

What helped you learn packaging and how Ubuntu teams work?
It was a combination of reading documentation, asking the right questions via IRC devel channels, working with great sponsors (see above) and looking at other peoples work. Having such a large community is definitely a real benefit to Ubuntu. It is quite easy to find the answer to your question, usually within minutes of looking or asking.

What’s your favorite part of working with the MOTU?
It’s definitely the people. Not only is everyone really knowledgeable, they are also very approachable. Never be afraid to ask a question. It’s how I got to where I am today.

Any advice for people wanting to help out MOTU?

  1. Don’t be concerned whether you have the required skills. If you can install and use Ubuntu, you can help QA packages, submit bug reports and test drive new releases.
  2. Dive right in. The best way to learn is by joining a team you are interested in and helping them, whether it’s testing, writing documentation, etc.
  3. Get a mentor to help guide you, and sponsor your work.
  4. Have fun.

Are you involved with any local Linux/Ubuntu groups?
There isn’t a LOCO here in Newfoundland, though a couple of us are starting to seriously consider starting one up. I know there is a Linux community here, and it’s been around for a while now, though I believe they mostly use RPM based distros. At any rate, I’m sure I’ll be contacting ‘the Bacon Community’ in the near future, once I get some spare cycles.

What are you going to focus on in Jaunty and Jaunty+1?
Well, right now I have been working on packaging KDE 4.2.1, and will also assist in KDE 4.2.2 packaging. Outside of that, there are improvements to KPackageKit I have implemented, and still some additional things to come.

For Jaunty+1 (Karmic), I have a couple of packages I am developing myself, which I would like to see make it into Universe and/or main. There are two applications, which are security related (ufw-kde and clamav-kde) as well as a new card game written in PyQt.

Additionally, I have been thinking about some work in the server-team, and would like to help them develop a package that would help new admins setup a server with proper TCP wrappers, fire-walling, logging, root-kit checking and log analysis. Currently, these tools exist, but you have to install each one and configure separately. I’d like to bundle a set of these apps (meta package) and help the user configure some sane choices. At this point it’s only an idea, but with UDS looming ahead, who knows where it might lead.

What do you do in your other spare time?
Spare time? Oh, you mean IF I had a personal life outside Ubuntu…

Well, I am an amateur photographer. I have a Canon Rebel XT, and a few lenses. I am mostly interested in scenic/landscape photography, but I also dabble in portraits shots.

I also love to read. I have hundreds of books in my personal library, mostly Sci-Fi and fantasy. I am a real big fan of Star Trek, Star Gate, and Forgotten Realms. My collection also includes a substantial number of technical books on programming and networking.

Outside of that, I spend time with my Wife and dog Jewel, and hang with my friends playing Mario Cart (baby Luigi/quacker) and Settlers of Catan (“monopoly wheat”).

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  1. Lure
    March 16th, 2009 at 12:16 | #1

    Nice interview with a great guy!

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