Spotlight: Volker Quetschke
From time to time, we run short interviews--spotlights--of important contributors to the OpenOffice.org community. Volker Quetschke has been important in helping the Windows build process, among other things. He is also member of the Engineering Steering Committee, which advises the Community Council in technical areas, among other things. This brief interview was conducted via email in May 2005.
Tell us about yourself and what you do besides OpenOffice.org.
I'm working at the University of Florida as a Research Scientist for the LIGO project. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project is a pioneering effort that aims at the direct detection of gravitational waves. (See the PR on LIGO.) I came here after finishing my Ph.D. in physics at the University of Hannover in Germany.
How did you get involved in OpenOffice.org?
In the first place I got curious about this new free and open source project called OpenOffice.org a few years ago. I tried to build it from source and realized that the build tools required to build it for Windows required a mixture of antiquated (obsolete) free posix tools and a non-free command line tool. I thought that this conflicts with the open source idea and started to work on it in my spare time.
What do you do for OpenOffice.org?
Thanks to the massive help of Hans-Joachim Lankenau of Sun in the beginning we managed to modernize the build system of OpenOffice.org for W32 to use mainly the Cygwin environment (www.cygwin.com) and remove the need of other proprietary tools beside the Compiler.
Even though this work was finished the build system as used by the OpenOffice.org community http://tools.openoffice.org/#Build needs ongoing maintenance because the developers of our main sponsor unfortunately use a different build environment and this sometimes leads to problems when new features are implemented. As a member of the ESC I am well aware that there is room for improvements in the coordination with other developers.
Where & how would you recommend others to contribute?
I cannot really recommend specific tasks, each person has his/her own fields of expertise. A good start is to go to /contributing/index.html and look for the area you would have the most fun when contributing to our project and help there.
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