The Document Foundation Blog

December 8, 2010

Developer interview: Vajna Miklos

Filed under: Interviews — Tags: — The Document Foundation @ 13:03

The next in the series of our interviews with LibreOffice contributors features Miklos, who was one of our successful Google Summer of Code 2010 student. He worked on rewriting and improving the RTF export filter and now he agreed to take the risk to answer our questions.

Photo of Miklos

Vajna Miklos

Programming is about people: so please ! tell us a bit about yourself:

Hi, I’m Miklos Vajna, you can usually find me as vmiklos on the Freenode IRC network. I’m Hungarian, and I love this country a lot – I live here in Hungary since I born. I live at Budapest, the capital of Hungary – where this year’s OOoCon2010 was organized. I’m a Christian, right now I’m completing an M.Sc. degree in Computer Engineering at Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Occasionally I blog here about what I’m currently involved in.

Any chance you can remember what was your very first program ?

I think it was a simple problem solver for some math homework we got in late elementary school. It was on DOS 6.22 in BASIC, if I recall correctly.

What do you do when you’re not hacking on LibreOffice ?

I spend a lot of my computer-related free time on maintaining the Frugalware Linux distribution. In short: it’s a Slackware-related distribution with a tarball-based package manager, curses-based installer and sysvinit (thought we’re sooner or later seem to switch to systemd). There are a lot of cool hacks there, some of them are:

  • A really nice and simple packaging system – for an autotools-based standard project the whole buildscript is about 11 lines.
  • You can learn a lot there – I came to LibreOffice from Frugalware as well.
  • A lovely community – all our infrastructure (hardware, hosting) is donated, we were not forced to buy or pay anything for years now.

Apart from that, I constantly meet new interesting projects here and there, in the past I contributed to Git, SWIG and BitlBee for example. The most recent project I was hacking is rejourn, a git+asciidoc-based blog engine.

When do you usually spend time on the project ?

When I have free time and motivation for it. :) That usually means a 2 hour break between two lessons at the university, or during weekends.

Which is your preferred text editor? And why?

I’m a VIM user – I believe most C++ programmers use Emacs or VIM in the UNIX world and VIM is what I learned deeply enough to be productive with it.

How did you hear about LibreOffice ?

I was contributing to Go-OO and it was mentioned in the topic of its IRC channel. :)

Why did you get involved ?

I packaged for Frugalware since years, and this year I was accepted to
work on Go-OO
in the GSoC program.

What was your first contribution to LibreOffice ?

git log points out this commit. It was a trivial build fix to not apply a patch when building some pre-3.1 developer snapshot, if I’m not mistaken.

What was your initial experience of contributing to LibreOffice like ?

Hard to find the proper word – a typical project where you are motivated to contribute, as in case you have patches or problems, usually you’re not pissed off.

What have you done since then ?

As mentioned above, I contributed a brand new RTF export filter in Writer. Other than that, you may like the german comment or the undocumented classes finder script.

What do you think was your most important contribution to LibreOffice so far ?

The RTF export filter, definitely. The others are just easy hacks I could complete in a few hours.

How will that improve things for users?

There was a blogpost about that: for example now math expressions or drawings are exported in RTF.

What is your vision for the future and/or what would you most like to see improved ?

When people hear / LibreOffice – my experience is that they usually complain about (the lack of) MSO interoperability. My RTF export work was a small part of improving that area: there are still a lot of tasks to do.

Anything else interesting you get up to when not hacking ?

I prefer bike over public transport or car during (almost) the whole year. I also play in a Christian guitar band on a weekly basis.

This is very interesting! Would you mind to develop a bit more about the band: What kind of music do you play? Is there a web-site with your production?

Most of the music we play are authored by other Hungarian Christian music authors. We have a CD with our own songs, though as well. Needless to say that I myself just play the guitar and sing – I’m not a music author.
As for the website, there is none – you can imagine in case the scope of our band is to serve at the local church, and we meet two times a week, a single mailing list is enough. Nonetheless, the contents of the CD can be accessed freely here. I you want to pick something, for example I can recommend the first and the 18th piece.

For sure our readers can try check it out and in the same token to learn some Hungarian ;).

Miklos, thanks for sharing with us and we wish you a lot and lot more of interesting hacking time with LibreOffice.


  1. Really nice interview, and above all, by your work on better interoperability, you steal my heart for ever ;-)

    Comment by Cor Nouws — December 10, 2010 @ 17:33

  2. [...] Az interjú (eredetileg) angolul van, s elérhető a TDF blogon. [...]

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