Lately I have been seeing the name of Frank Karlitschek popping up, so I thought I would contact him and ask him about his role in the KDE project. The following is an interview conducted by email.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Frank Karlitschek. I'm 30 years old and live in Stuttgart, Germany.
What's your position within the KDE project?
I build and run KDE-Look.org
and KDE-Apps.org. I also work on the
Crystal icons, help
to polish KDE for the 3.2 release and do a few smaller things like writing bug reports
and trying to help organizing the 2004 KDE conference.
How long has KDE-Look.org existed?
The idea and the first version are from the summer of 2001, but I try to improve the
Do you work alone on those websites or is there some kind of team involved?
At the beginning it was only me, but now I get a lot of help from the
community. People send me bug reports and suggestions to improve the system. I
also have a few users with editors' rights who help me to write news and polls.
If you want to help drop me a line. :-)
And of course there are the thousands of contributors who develop themes, icons and
applications -- they do the main work. :-)
How do you pay for these services you provide to the KDE community?
I have to finance the servers/hosting on my own, so the web sites rely on
sponsorship and advertising for support.
KDE-Look was in trouble at the end of 2002. The ISP who housed my server for
one year had quit the sponsorship because of the huge amount of traffic that KDE-Look
generates. Lindows approached me after an announcement that KDE-Look.org was
looking for a sponsor. There aren't any special terms; they just want
a small banner on the site. Lindows has no influence on the development of
KDE-Look.org. One month ago Lindows agreed to sponsor the new project
KDE-Apps.org as well. I'm very grateful for the great support from Lindows.
When did you first hear about KDE? When did you start using it?
I think it was in 1998. A friend showed me an early beta of KDE 1.0 -- it was
amazing. It was the first time I realized that one day Open Source Software
could conquer the Desktop. I've been using KDE as my main desktop at work since
Can you tell us a bit about how many visitors and submissions KDE.Look.org
and kde-apps.org has?
At the moment the two sites have about 65,000,000 hits and 13,000,000 page
views a month, 7,500 active submissions and 13,500 registered users. The server
creates over one terabyte of traffic a month.
Is there a difference between KDE-Apps.org and apps.kde.com?
I'm not sure because I don't know the internals of apps.kde.com, but I think
the main difference is that apps.kde.com has a more closed, editor centric
concept. KDE-Apps.org/KDE-Look.org are more open and community driven systems. The idea
is to create the rules for the base system with the user registration,
content voting, content filtering, comments system, et cetera and in that way
a community can evolve which is self-adjusting. If it works the
right way you don't need an editor in chief or and administrator controlling
the websites all the time.
Is there something the comunity can do to support kde-apps.org and
Upload your work or write constructive comments. You can also donate a little
money for the hosting of course. :-)
How much time does KDE consume in your day?
It depends. Normally 4-8 hours a week.
I understand you work also on the icons in KDE. Does there exist some kind of icon-design team?
There is no official team at the moment, but there are of course a few
people who work on the icons.
Who are these people?
I think in the last few months the most active ones are Ken Wimer from SUSE,
Everaldo from Lindows and myself, but there are a lot more artists contributing of course -- for example the
people on the revived kde-artists mailinglist
and the KDE-Look community.
What should users do when they find an application has missing icons?
Write a bug report on bugs.kde.org.
What do you like most about KDE?
It is a very active and very open world-wide family of talented and motivated
developers improving this great desktop. It is an honor to be part of this
What do you like least about KDE?
I think developers should pay a bit more attention to usability and the visual
appearance of the applications. There are really great
applications that an unskilled user can't understand.
What other stuff do you do beside this KDE stuff?
I work as the head of engineering in a multimedia company in Germany. This
consumes most of my time. On vacation I like to travel and do scuba diving.