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Jean-Baptiste Kempf

President of VideoLAN, lead developer (VLC)

in developer, linux

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jean-Baptiste Kempf, I'm the president of the VideoLAN non-profit organization and one of the lead developer of VLC.

I'm a French geek, born and raised in Paris, and I've been active on the VideoLAN project since 2005, when I was in university. I started investing more time on VLC during a few boring internships.

When I started being more active on the coding side, I barely knew how to code, but the project was in dire need of help, so I learned coding while working on VLC 0.9.x. At that time the project was still a student project, but no students were very active anymore. So I spent a lot of time recruiting new students and we created the VideoLAN non-profit, to free the project from the university.

Since then, I've spent most of my time on VLC and VideoLAN and related projects. I've been doing most of the non-coding tasks for VideoLAN and I've coded quite a bit on VLC (I'm probably the second larger contributor since the beginning of the project).

At that time I was working for a couple of startups, but I finally created my company around VideoLAN, in 2013, to spend most of my days on VLC and VideoLAN.

Those days, I code a lot less, but spend a lot of my time on code review, and on other tasks.

What hardware do you use?

I currently spend my days with a Thinkpad X1 Carbon, 6th generation, i7-8550U and 16GB of RAM, with a large SSD and a 1440p screen.

I used to work on an XPS 13, but when it died, I needed a good CPU and a good matte screen, and the latest XPS did not provide that.

When I'm not moving, I usually plug in a mouse, but I don't plug in an external screen anymore since the X1 has a very nice screen with a good resolution.

I change phones often, mostly to test VLC. I usually have a Samsung Note 8 phone, but lately I've been using an iPhone XS.

I don't own any other laptop/desktop. I don't have the need for any more than my laptop.

And what software?

I'm back to Debian. In my life, I've tested a lot of distributions, including Mandrake, Gentoo, and Arch, but in the end I always come back to a Debian/Sid. And this has been my distribution for the last 3 years now.

My desktop is KDE/Plasma, tweaked to a minimal state, with very few widgets. Most of my time is spent in Konsole and Firefox. I use vim, Dolphin and LibreOffice daily. The rest, notably IRC, is done inside a screen on a server.

On the web, I use Fastmail and DDG, as the 2 websites I use the most.

And I use VLC :)

What would be your dream setup?

The one I have :)

Jokes asides, the Thinkpad I have is really cool, but a few things could be better. I would love a 4K screen, but I do not want gloss nor a touchscreen, which is a combination that does not exist. I would love more USB ports, more RAM and a larger touchpad, similar to the one we have on MacBook Pros.

On phone, I'd love the Note 8 running a Linux desktop based on Plasma mobile. Librem is a very small step in that direction, I would say, but not enough.

Then, I would love new open source software, notably to replace Google Drive and Google Maps, which are probably the last 2 services I use from Google.