Interview with Paulo José O. Amaro

By: Clóvis Tristão
Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Web Designer and Computer Science Student in the Federal University of São João del-Rei, Paulo José. He has been outstanding with his work in LibreOffice, specially in the Design Team. Hope you enjoy the interview with this promising Artist.
Now, tell us a bit about yourself:
It’s a bit weird to talk about myself in a interview, since I’m just a student. But first all, I want to thank you and the BrOffice Magazine for this invitation. I’m very glad in taking part on it.
I’m a 20 year old Brazilian guy. I’m becoming a programmer now, but I’ve always worked with Blender, GIMP, Inkscape and many other open-source and proprietary graphic apps. Since my childhood, I love to draw, read about design and computer related things, so the university course’s choice was an actual challenge.
Since I began Computer Science, I tried to join these two universes – sometimes too diverse – on my curriculum. Among my projects, I helped on the redesign of the faculty’s website, took place on an usability and accessibility research group, and created the visual identify for a national Bio-Engineering congress. On a personal note, I’m a huge fan of the singer Shania Twain, so most of my high-school artwork is Shania-related. I love music and science too.
What do you do when you’re not hacking on LibreOffice ?
I became a LibreOffice member just one month ago, so in our (southern hemisphere) summer break, I just stayed with friends and family enjoying this moment. Now I’m back in class, so in my “spare time” from LibreOffice, I study, trying to finish my research with my class colleagues, having fun with my room mates, and even running or biking some kilometers to try to thwart the almost inevitable sedentary inherent to the full time computer driven life style.
When do you usually spend time on the project ?
Some times during the day I read and send some emails and before sleep. On the hollidays, I could dedicate much more time to this project, and I did, since I really enjoyed to work on this team.
Being a student, how do you reconcile this with your classes?
Well, actually I realize now this is not a trivial task… I think it is not a question of just correctly managing how much time you spend on each task, but actually manage how you spend your time every day. Spending 10 minutes effectively on a less important task is much better than spending some really unproductive 60 minutes on a important task. Start with the easy tasks, be productive on this time and you’ll be calm to totally complete the harder things. And probably you’ll get even some spare time for an ice cream after work.
Which is your preferred design program? And why?
Hard question… For 3D creation, video edition or graphic post-production tasks, Blender with no doubt. For vector graphics, web design and text-related stuff, Inkscape for sure! And I’m not talking about open-source software, but on general software. I’ve used Photoshop, Corel Draw, Adobe Premiere and such for years. All these are great pieces of software, except by Corel Draw of course. But the true seems to be: today, the open-source software are equal or better than theirs proprietaries alternatives. Not just in functionality, but usability, flexibility and constant updating.
But if it’s an one-answer question, I’d say I prefer Blender, because its fast in development and it has some awesome features.
About GIMP: I don’t like the program by itself – mainly because the lack of updates and its no-answer policy to user feedback. But its third part plug-ins like GIMP Registry or G’MIC are incredible and very professional. They made me an ex-user of Adobe Photoshop a long time ago.
How to get involved with the LibreOffice, tell us a little about that?
I was a little bored in my summer vacations and also trying to find some nice computer-related project to join, for personal reasons. Then I saw the Microsoft’s ribbon mock-ups to LibreOffice on OMG Ubuntu and WebUpl8 blogs. They caused many waves on the user sea and I just thought “Well, maybe I can do something like that, but not taking the whole idea from a particular app. So I did some Blender UI-based mock-ups for LibreOffice and they were posted in OMG Ubuntu, WebUpl8 and other places and the feedback was so cool that I felt the urge to join the LibreOffice team and maybe help/be helped in someway. But I’m learning much more than I could imagine!
What was your first contribution to LibreOffice ? Tell us your impressions about the feedbacks?
My first “actual” contribution to LibreOffice was the 256px version for the mimetype icons, now they are called the file type icons (Open Text Document, Open Presentation Document and so). The icons up to 128px already had been done, mainly by Christoph Noack, with additions from the hole community. When I joined the team, Christoph and Bernhard Dippold helped me so much, guiding my eyes and focus on what I should do. I perceived the mimetype icons deadline was coming close and so tried to finish the 256px icons.
When I presented they to community, the feedback was great. When Christoph Noack said he didn’t think the icons could not look so good at 256px, It made my day. Now the icons are basically a finished work for the current branding and I’m very glad I took part on it. I actually never thought it could happen to me. But as everything in my life, I’m trying to do my best and enjoy each second of this awesome experience.
Paul, thank you for sharing some of this brilliant work in Art Work. You are one of those that can contribute greatly to the community, and we are proud to have a Brazilian as a part of this team.


  1. By Marcos F