An open palette: Tux Paint's Bill Kendrick

Bill Kendrick on Tux Paint, Tux4Kids, the GSoC, computer games, KDE, Debian, the spread of Linux and open source software in education

Kendrick on kids, Debian, computer games, shells and Linux

Has having children changed your approach to developing software and your perception on the role open source software can play in education?

Yes. A friend with young kids and I are finding that Open Source is lacking in the pre-school department. Some people have suggested ways to make Tux Paint usable for even younger users (3 and under), but I think a new, simple, single-purpose app for that age range would make the most sense.

I see no reason to bloat and convolute Tux Paint's home-grown user interface code when a from-scratch app, that wouldn't really need the long-term maintenance that Tux Paint has, would do precisely the same thing.

Do you still play any computer games? Which ones/platforms?

I was never really into "computer" games. I've always been more of a console gamer. Of course, computers allow me to write my own games, but that's a completely different activity. With a baby and a busy work life, these days I don't get much time for anything except Scrabble on my cellphone, and a certain well-known Scrabble clone on Facebook.

When I get more time (i.e., our son grows up a bit), and more space, I'll once again have all of my game systems hooked up and ready to play at any time: PlayStation 2, Sega Dreamcast, Atari Jaguar, Nintendo NES, Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit computer. I eagerly await the day that a Nintendo Wii, a Nintendo DS and perhaps even an XBox360 can enter the family.

Are you still a Debian devotee? If not, what distro are you using and why?

I'm a Debian supporter, but after falling in love with KDE, and being disappointed at how 'far behind' Debian was getting, I decided to switch to Ubuntu once Kubuntu came out and was fully supported.

What is your favourite editor and shell and why? vim or Emacs? zsh or bash?

I don't answer religious questions. Seriously, though, my skill level in both bash and csh, and both Emacs and VI, are so low, that I seem to easily switch back and forth. Of course, as a KDE devotee, I'm writing this response offline in Kate.

What do you think about the increasing spread of Linux across multimedia platforms?

I think it's great, especially as developer of games for Linux. Virgin Airlines created their "Red" in-flight entertainment system. One of my games is included: Mad Bomber of all things. (Why didn't they re-skin it and change the title!?)

As Linux, and to even a greater degree, Open Source libraries like libSDL, get ported to more devices, more of those devices are suddenly able to play a plethora of great games.

What projects are you working on at New Breed SW at the moment?

My wife and I were discussing game ideas one night, and she came up with an interesting puzzle game that I've begun working on. I'm fairly confident it will be fun, and has a ton of room for great art, re-skinning, game variations, etc. I finally spent an hour adding a little bit of menuing UI to it the other day so we can try out different game options and difficulty levels without editing and recompiling the source.

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