Jeroen Wijnhout, the current maintainer of the TeX/LaTeX editor and GnuPlot frontend Kile was interviewed for kde.de's monthly series "Application of the Month". The interview was conducted in English by Andreas C. Diekmann who kindly provided us with this English transcript. Read on for Jeroen's personal background, how he got involved and the upcoming features of Kile 1.6.
How did you get involved in this project? What's your job in this project?
After using Kile for a while, I decided that I would like to implement some features and fix some bugs. Therefore I contacted Pascal Brachet, the developer of Kile at that time, and offered him my help. It turned out that he wanted to stop the development of Kile. So I got more than I bargained for, the project was in my hands now. Since Pascal used to work alone, I had to take over all his jobs, which means that I'm project manager and developer at the same time. But, many developers of the KDE team have helped me since then. However, if anybody is interested in taking over some of the project management tasks I would be very pleased.
What was/is your motivation to work in such a project?
Well, programming is alot of fun and even more so if you can work on a program that is used by many people all over the world. Editing TeX/LaTeX source files can be a pain sometimes and, since I love KDE so much, it would be a pity if there wouldn't be a tool available for KDE.
As I could see the previous developer was Pascal Brachet. Who else should be mentioned when we talk about Kile?
The list is pretty long. There are translators, packagers and a few people who provide patches. Very helpful are some of the more experienced developers of the KDE team, such as Laurent Montel. They guard over the quality of the code.
I think the next version will be 1.6. Which new feature or changes may we
From the technical point of view, the difference will be huge. Many parts of the program are rewritten. But the most important change will be that the editor for Kile will be the same editor as is used for Kate. This editor is much more powerful than the current editor of Kile: flexible syntax highlighting, block selection, editing commands, to name just a few. A modest form of project management, a feature much wanted by the users, is also planned for version 1.6.
Is Kile sponsored in any way?
Kile is hosted on sourceforge.net. Sourceforge offers a location for a website, a download area, mailinglists and much more. The source code of Kile is located on a KDE CVS server. We do not receive any direct financial support, though.
Working with Kile requires knowledge in TeX/LaTeX thus it's not as easy to use as KWord for example. What would you say to convince someone to produce his documents with Kile? :-)
Certainly, it requires some time to learn TeX/LaTeX. But compared to KWord, for example, TeX/LaTeX is much more powerful. Some users do not need the power of TeX/LaTeX, they are invited to use KWord. If you do need these powerful tools, you want to make your life as easy as possible, by using tools that form a userfriendly shell around the command-line programs you need to prepare a
document with TeX/LaTeX. Kile offers such a shell, but it also helps you editing the TeX-source files. For example, it offers a way to insert LaTeX commands very easily, jump to lines with an error in it or view a graphical representation of the structure of your document (sections, chapters etc.).
What are your favorite tools under KDE (apart from Kile ;-) )?
Apart for the development tools, such as KDevelop & Cervisia, I am fond of KMail and KOrganizer, they help me a great deal to manage the Kileproject.
Kile is published under the GPL and also another example that great software doesn't have to be expensive and that it even could be offered for free. What do you think about Open Source?
Since I come from an academic background, it is very natural for me to share my results with others. Scientists are used to sharing their results, openly and freely. It allows other scientists to build upon the results of others and make progress more quickly. This is similar to the open source environment, sharing your code with others allows the community to develop software more efficiently. In other words, I think open software is a very valuable asset. It prevents developer from having to reinvent the wheel every time they start a new project.
Do you have a "vision" or wishes for the "Desktop Of the Future"?
Ideally, in the future desktops will be based on "Open Standards", not neccessarily open software, although that would be great. Suppose for example that the document formats for MS Office and KOffice would all be based on the same open standard. Users could then share their documents without any problems, it wouldn't matter if you are using KDE and the other person is working on a Windows box. There is a role for the government here, if they would be the first to use software based on open standards, the rest might follow. Fortunately several European governments are starting to support open
How does the hard- and software look like you're using?
I'm using SuSE 8.1 with the 2.4.20 kernel on a AMD Athlon XP 1800+. SuSE is great, because if comes with so many packages, just everything you need (and much more). For my work Mathematica is very helpful, but this program is not free and can be quite expensive if you don't work for a university.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? How do you spend your free time (if there's any ;-) )?
Well, I'm 26 years old and live in a small town nearby Amsterdam. The University of Amsterdam was so kind to offer me a PhD position a few years ago in the String Theory group of the Institute for Theoretical Physics. This leaves me little free time, and lately most of my free time was spent on the development of Kile. But if I'm not working on Kile I like to spend my free time on playing the guitar and cycling.