Ubuntu CE: Interview with the Developer

While writing this blog I have had the blessed opportunity to converse periodically with David Kuntadi, the current developer for Ubuntu CE (Christian Edition). Here are some posts I've written, most of which have comments from David:

Review #1
Review #2 (based on David's comments for Review #1)
Ubuntu CE and Church Management Software

You can also read more about my technology posts here.

I've learned a great deal about how Linux works in general, and specifically how the CE distro is put together, what it has to offer, etc. I like the distribution, and use it on one of my computers at home. I recommend it if you're a believer because it gives you ready-made support items at startup that other distros don't have.

Well, without further ado, here is my interview with David Kuntadi, the current developer at Ubuntu CE:
Note: I added links when appropriate to give you a chance to further research topics we covered in the interview.

DF: What drew you to Ubuntu Christian Edition since you aren't the original developer? What made you want to join?

David: Actually I joined ubuntuforums as normal Ubuntu user. I find that running Windows software in Linux is not easy and I managed to run e-Sword on Linux using WINE. I posted step-by-step instruction and one of the user informed me that I should post that instruction in Ubuntu Christian Edition instead. So, I follow the advice an ever since I am active in ubuntuforums christian edition, mainly to support running e-Sword on Linux.

DF: What is your story behind CE 5.0? What was your process?

David: Actualy Ubuntu CE was discontinued, it is only up to 4.0. Jereme has decided to stop its development due to his limited time.

In the mean time, I have converted the step-by-step instruction for e-Sword to an installer (a script, inspired by winetricks of Dan Kegel), and subsequently I converted the script to deb package. And when Jereme announce that Ubuntu CE is discontinued, I learned what software was in the Ubuntu CE, I had not even used Ubuntu CE before actually. I realized the main program is Dansguardian GUI, which was written by Jereme. After I studied the script, I was sure I could make a better script, except for the GUI.

I changed the GUI to Zenity, which was very easy to make, and then improved the script.

Another problem was the verse pop up using gdesklet. As gdesklets could not run easily in Jaunty, I created linbread and bible trivia to replace the bible verse pop up.

I also learn how to make repository to serve Ubuntu CE packages. The problem with previous release was there is no repository to host the software.

After completing the necessary deb packages and repository, the next step was not so complicated i.e. make ISO file. I studied to edit ISO file using reconstructor to make Ubuntu CE, which is not really difficult.

After releasing the 32 bit ISO, there was a request for 64 bit. After I checked, only Opensong does not support 64 bit. But the good news is that it could be done by adding compatibility library, which was needed by wine 64 bit version anyway. Soon I released the 64 bit version as well.

And other feedback is the necessity of church administration software. So far I could only find ChurchInfo, which is based on server. After studying it a while, I found it I could be released in server version using remastersys. The default greeter created by remastersys was ugly, although functional. So, I edited the greeter to make it look more professional.

DF: What formal training do you have in programming? How did you get started?

David: I do not have any formal training, except some introduction to basica when I was a university student. My background is Mechanical Engineering and International Management.

DF: What is your day job?

David: Currently I am a General Manager in a multinational company.

DF: You just released a server edition...so what's next for CE?

David: That would depend on the feedback. I would need feedback of what are needed by individual christian or churches that is not available yet in Ubuntu or other Linux distribution. Then I will study whether or not I have the capability to fulfill the need. But I expect more people would join the development so as to make it better.

DF: Anything else you think my readers should know?

David: As Linux is available for free, I just want to contribute a little bit by introducing it to Christians, which is a different segment. And I think Linux philosophy is also compatible with Christianity:

"Freely you received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)

That is why I am interested in Linux, to be able to receive and give freely.

DF: I have one final question: Are you a Christian, and if so, what tradition are you (Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, etc)?

David: Yes, I am a Christian. Previously I was a protestant (Presbyterian, Synodal). But recently I converted to Catholic. By the way, the baptism in my previous church is recognized by catholic church so as I  do not need to be baptized again when I converted to catholic.

DF: Thank you, David, for taking time out for this interview.

If you have any questions you'd like to ask David, please leave them in the comments section. Furthermore, if you would like to know how to help the Ubuntu CE project, you can leave a comment about that as well.

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