Development:Interviews:Smokey Ardisson

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Originally published by Ludovic Hirlimann on janvier 2, 2007 9:13 PM at

Camino Interview #7 : Smokey Ardisson

This interview as been sitting on my HD since 2006-09-28. Sorry for the delay.

Ludovic Hirlimann: Would you please introduce yourself ?

Smokey Ardission: I'm Smokey Ardisson and I'm one of Camino's catch-all people. I currently live in Washington, DC, across the street from the Vice President of the US.

LH: How old are you ? what is your normal daily occupation besides Camino ?

SA: I'm 29 years old and I've been a doctoral student in Middle Eastern and African History. I also moonlight doing various tasks for my family's businesses.

LH: Can you define your catch-all role ?

SA: Officially, I'm the co-lead of the Bug Triage team and of the Website and Documentation team, so I filter through all the bug reports that come in each day, reproducing and prioritizing them, and I'm involved in stuff like writing the release notes and updating the Support section of the website.

SA: In addition to that, I test patches, occasionally make patches, help maintain Camino's ad-blocking rule set, keep an eye on our Mac OS X 10.3 compatibility, answer questions on irc, and generally do whatever other little tasks come up and need attention.

LH: Is 10.3 important for you if so why ?

SA: Well, I'm still running 10.3.9, partially because I typically skip every other major OS revision, and partially because Camino and other open source projects I work with needed someone to keep testing things on their lowest supported OS version. (Most bugs aren't specific to OS versions, but every once in a while you'll run across one, and it's very hard to decipher until you realize everyone who sees the problem is on one version of the OS.)

LH: Good, so can you tell us what your Hardware/Software setup looks like ?

SA: I've got a 17" Aluminum PowerBook G4, 1.33 GHz, from fall 2003. No upgrades to it other than I now have 1.5 GB of RAM.

LH: And what are the other projects you are working on ?

SA: I'm mainly involved with NeoOffice, the Mac-native version of, and libwpd, which is the open source library for reading WordPerfect documents, but I've also submitted some small patches and a couple of bug reports for AbiWord as a result of my libwpd testing (NeoOffice,, AbiWord, KOffice, and a couple of commercial Mac apps all use libwpd for their WordPerfect and WordPerfect for Mac import filter).

LH: How long have you been a member of the Camino community ? why did you join ? was it difficult to become a "member" ?

SA: I didn't have a Mac running Mac OS X until I got this PowerBook, so I'm relatively late to the game. I vaguely remember installing Camino after I got the PowerBook because I had heard so many good things about Chimera in the early days of Mac OS X (and had briefly played with whatever version of Chimera was current in spring 2002 on my brother's iMac), but I didn't use Camino much.

SA: I started using Camino a bit in the summer of 2004 (0.8b), and when I got to play with test builds with the "new" tabs that fall, I started using Camino more. Shortly after the tabs landed in the nightly builds, I started using nightly builds and started filing bugs and hanging out in the forum.

SA: In mid-2005 Samuel Sidler asked me officially to join the Camino team as co-lead of the bug triage team, and it went from there. I didn't actually show up on irc until December 2005. In spite of not being on irc, it was easy to join the team, but I've discovered it's easier to be more involved if you stop by irc at least a few times a week.

LH: How long have you been using Macs ? computers ?

SA: I've been using Macs since the summer of 1993, when I first experienced them at a summer program (I took a mini-class on HyperCard!); we got our first Mac, a used SE/30, that fall. I really can't remember when I first actually *used* a computer, but I've been around them since I was very young; I remember my dad had a terminal at home and a modem where you actually put the phone headset into the modem, and I remember playing simple games on the VAX system at his office (which used reel tapes!).

LH: Anything you would like to add ?

SA: One of the best things about working on open source software has been the international flavour, meeting and working together with people from all around the world. Open source software is a good thing for the world politically as well as socially and economically. And of course as Triage co-lead I must remind all the Camino users reading this to be good nightly build users: file bugs on problems you find and help make Camino even better ;)

LH: ok thanks you for your time

SA: np; thanks for doing this series :)