LQ) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, where did you go to school and the other basics. Also, what car(s) do you like to drive fast?
RF) I'm currently 24 years old. I grew up in North Carolina, though I have lived in a few places (California, Alabama, and Georgia). I haven't tried my hand at the whole "college experience" yet. Not long after I graduated High School, I received a job offer in California and decided to move and accept the offer. I plan on going back to school at some point, though. As for the cars, when I wrote that description, I owned two twin turboed Mitsubishi 3000GTs. One was stock and was my daily driver and the other one was modified and was my weekend car. I put down somewhere around 410 horse power. Before I sold it, I checked the 0-60 time and it was in the low 4 second range. I miss those cars sometimes.
LQ) What OS(s) do you use? What is your preferred Linux distro and why?
RF) I use Windows, OSX, and Linux. WindowsXP at work, and OSX and LInux at home. My favorite distro is probably debian, as it's the only one I've used for some time now. I prefer it because it's more flexible than the others that I've used, and I don't have to worry about RPM hell.
LQ) What's the hostname of your favorite linux box and why is it named that?
RF) Papouli! My girlfriend I were very delerious at 5.30a once and Full House was on TV. There was an old man on there named Papouli and we thought that was really funny for some reason.
LQ) What was your first introduction to Linux? What was the reason behind you using Linux and was anyone in particular responsible for turning you on to Linux?
RF) I believe it was back when I had a 386. I was probably around 12 years old. The computer was a hand-me-down and I couldn't get Windows to run very well on the machine, so, instead, I spent about a million years downloading some slackware disks and installed it. That's also when I taught myself how to program in C.
LQ) How did you get involved with the gaim project? How does it feel to be the Maintainer of the most active project on SourceForge?
RF) It was November of 1998 and Mark Spencer had just started the project. I had met a girl at the beach that used AIM, and I had no way to talk to her, so, I joined the project to help development. I eventually just took over maintainership. It's a pretty good feeling, and has given me a lot of experience. I still like hearing from the various users of the project, even though the experience can be unpleasent at times. This usually happens from people that feel that I do the work as a paid job and complain when things aren't implemented as quickly as they'd like.
LQ) What do you see in store for the future of gaim? In what direction would you like to see the project go, now that you've hit v1.0? We see a lot of calls on LQ for a webcam enabled chat feature (and Video/Audio integration in general) and VoIP/Skype functionality would be potentially useful.
RF) I'd like to see the Core/UI separate move further so that other interfaces can be slapped on to the core. There's already a fork of the project on sourceforge (http://gaim-vv.sf.net/
) that aims to add webcam/voice support and Linspire has developed a VoIP solution for Gaim (http://www.phonegaim.com/
LQ) As multi-protocol applications such as gaim gain in popularity, what do you see for the future of dedicated single-protocol applications?
RF) I think a lot of the single protocol applications will eventually lose their popularity as people search for a more efficient solution to chatting on the various platforms. I think it will be some time before a wide adoption of Jabber, so until then, multiprotocol applications will be the way to go.
LQ) Does gaim's coming of age with v1.0 change the way you view the project or is it nothing more than a statement of its stability?
RF) Really, we just felt like now was a good time to change our versioning system, and after much discussion, 1.0.0 seemed like the best choice. I don't think there'll every be a time when we just say it's "finished". 1.0 is kind of a mental thing, as well, and helps curb some questions we've had from people over the past five years regarding when we will ever reach 1.0, etc.
LQ) From a technical and implementation standpoint, which of the supported protocols do you feel is the best? the worst?
RF) From a technical perspective, I like Jabber a lot. It's open source and the protocol is fairly well documented. We don't have to deal with any of the issues related to protocol changes that we have to reverse engineer, etc. As far as the worst, I really don't like the way MSN was designed. I think it's just a bad design in general.
LQ) Having gone through the licensing ordeal with Trillian, do you have any comments on some of the recent GPL-related incidents?
RF) We're just trying ot handle them as we find out about them. We try to be upfront with the offenders and hope that they "do the right thing" so that we don't have to take more extreme measures. This usually works pretty well.
LQ) How's the current funding situation for gaim? Any plans for another set of auctions, or any other creative funding attempts?
RF) We don't really seek out funding. We're poor kids and it's worked well that way for a while. Someone did donate some beer to us once, which was nice. As far as the auctions, they were just an April Fool's joke. We never bothered to collect any money from people.
LQ) Are you sometimes surprised that Yahoo! and others purposely attempt to shut out 3rd party clients? Is there are valid reason for this from your point of view? Have you ever attempted to contact anyone at Yahoo! (or anywhere else) to see if an understanding could be worked out, with respect to the protocol?
RF) I'm not particularly surprised by it. It can be annoying, but I know that they're just trying to "protect what is theirs." I try not to let such things bother me, and just know that eventually someone on my team will figure out the issue and have the problem solved.