Acum ceva timp l-am contactat pe Matias A. Fonzo, dezvoltatorul sistemului de operare liber Dragora GNU/Linux-libre, pentru a face un interviu. A fost de acord, i-am trimis întrebările și astăzi ( în sfârșit ) mi-a răspuns. Ideea interviului a fost a lui Tiberiu Turbureanu, care discutase în prealabil pe IRC cu Matias. Mai jos puteți citi discuția în limba engleză.
1. Hello Matias, thank you for accepting to do this interview.
2. First tell us a few words about you.
My name is Matías Fonzo; I'm 28 years old, I live in the north of Argentina with a beautiful family: my wife and daughter. I'm the creator of the Dragora GNU/Linux-Libre project: a distribution recognized by the Free Software Foundation that's based on concepts of simplicity.
3. What does Free Software mean to you and what motivates you to develop Free Software?
For me, the essence of free software is sharing and solidarity. It also means to respect your own freedom and others freedom, which means progress in modern times. What led me to develop free software has to do with a learning process, the fact that it was for the greater good. I like thinking that with free software it is possible to have a better world, because with a single drop, you can change the world.
4. When did you start working on the Dragora project?
I started in 2007. The first testing version was released on June 13th 2008 and the first stable version 1.0 was released on March 13th 2009.
5. Are you the only developer or is there a team behind the project?
Currently I'm the only developer, even though there are official members like Hercules Koroneos, who's in charge of the website, and Lucas Sköldqvist and Diego Ramírez, who with their unconditional support provide all their help to those interested in Dragora.
6. What made you start such a project?
I was researching free software, particularly the FSF's definition. That is how I discovered that most distributions and some operating systems are only partially free software. What I was using wasn't good, wasn't right. I mean, there is no real commitment towards free software from those behind a project, as is the case of many GNU/Linux distributions. They include applications that deprive the users of their freedom; the developer imposes upon the user the rules of the game, either to make the users happy or to be more commercially successful or popular. If that wasn't enough, they advertise themselves as true free software projects. I believe that it's better to look for the best of both worlds: something that is both ethical and practical.
My brother encouraged me to get into the IT field. I was unemployed, so I decided to use my skills to start my own project. Since then, the Dragora distribution has been my future.
7. Dragora is an independent distribution. What are the advantages of developing an independent distribution?
The advantage of being independent is having complete control of the project, where the objective is not to be tied to purely commercial interests where the userbase can be negatively affected. Another advantage is that bugs and ethical issues of other distributions are avoided.
8. Don't you think it would have been easier to develop a distribution that is based on another one?
Most likely. Sometimes it's not good to duplicate efforts. My main motivation was learning and having more control over what's built and included. I also knew that if I used another distributionas upstream I'd depend on it for a very long time. Besides inheriting the issues mentioned above, the truth is that there are very few distributions that are based on others that manage to become independent. It is common for that kind of distribution to carry a direct or indirect reference to upstream and for a distribution that’s 100% free that might not be a good idea.
9. What package manager does Dragora use? Can you give us more details?
I should note that most Dragora tools were inspired by the Slackware GNU/Linux distribution, of which I was a user and to which I made contributions several times. A function that I originally wrote for the package remove from Dragora (dragout) can be found in Slackware (removepkg). Since everything needs a base, I thought it was logical to start from there and code what I consider to be better tools.
The package system is called "pkg", which is also the command to install, remove, and update software packages. It includes an utility to build packages as well. The packages are basically tar archives compressed with the best LZMA compression tool, lzip.
It works the same way as in Slackware, except that the package manager was written using BASH extensions, which results in shorter, faster and leaner programs.
10. Besides the package manager, does Dragora have other specific software ?
Yes, of course. There are text-driven tools to configure the time zone, the keyboard mapping and the mouse type. Additionally, there is a tool to select the window manager.
To those interested in knowing more, I invite you to visit the userguide on our website.
11. What can you tell us about the community around Dragora?
Let's not forget that the distribution was started from scratch, which means that the community needed to be established. I feel that the community has been growing lately, now that the project is getting more exposure.
I'd like to leave a footnote here and say that I'd like the project to start growing stronger with the advertising, usage, help of the community, the donations, etc. with the purpose of finally establishing Dragora as a distribution for every-day use.
12. What are your plans regarding the future of Dragora, are there going to be changes ?
With the experience gained from previous versions of the project, I'm working on a better development version that will have a different layout compared to current distributions. For example, the system can now be built from scratch, which provides great flexibility for learning. With a friend, a GNU developer and the author of lzip, we're working on a build system based on recipes, which will aide the packaging process.
All the programs and libraries will be statically linked against the "musl" C library, which eliminates runtime dependencies of applications. Additionally, as already happened in previous releases, there will be a new init system. That, and more, is in the future.
13. Thank you again Matias and good luck.
Thanks, it was my pleasure.
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