Margarita Manterola

Margarita Manterola URL:

How long have you been using Debian?

I've been using Debian since 2000. At first I was just a simple user, but with time I grew more involved, first reporting bugs, then submitting patches, and by 2004 I started maintaining packages.

A turning point in my life was the DebConf4 in Brazil, where I was able to meet a lot of Debian Developers, put faces to names and learn a lot about how Debian works. I highly recommend that people attend DebConf and meet people there. It's been a long time, and by this time I have the feeling that Debian people are part of my extended family.

Are you a Debian Developer?

Yes. I became a Debian Developer on November 13th, 2005.

What areas of Debian are you involved in?

I maintain some packages but not too many, the biggest thing regarding packaging that I do is participate in the team that maintains the Cinnamon Desktop Environment.

Also, I've been very actively involved in the organization of several DebConfs, particularly for DebConf8, which took place in my country, Argentina. Later on I moved to Germany and also took an active part of the organization of DebConf15, in Heidelberg. On top of this, I particularly enjoy doing QA: I've done quite a lot of NMUs to fix RC bugs in packages that were not fit for a release, and I usually have a lot of fun participating on Bug Squashing Parties. I am part of the anti-harassment team, trying to make Debian a safe place where everyone is welcome and can express themselves. I am also part of the Technical Committee, which is the body that helps make difficult technical decisions.

What got you interested in working with Debian?

The free software philosophy. I liked that it was developed by a community instead of a company, and that my contributions could be accepted if they were worthy.

Also, the magic of apt-get and the immense repository. I usually have this perception that if something is not in Debian, it's not worth using it (and if it is, then I can make it my responsibility to make sure that it's packaged and uploaded). What has kept me interested in working in Debian over the years is that there's always more work to be done, more software to get into Debian, more bugs to fix, more new ideas to try out.

Do you have any tips for women interested in getting more involved with Debian?

There are many things to do in Debian, and usually the hardest part is to find where you will fit. For example, if you are into programming, look for a team that maintains packages in a programming language that you like and join them. If you are like me and like to fix many small bugs, look at the list of bugs and try to find the fix for one. There are lots of easy ones, and people will be really grateful that you took the time to fix the bugs. But even if you are not into code or bug fixing, there are many things to do. We need better graphical design, we need better documentation, we need translations, and many many more things.

A bit more about you...

I've been mostly a Python Programmer for more than 10 years. I lived in Argentina until 2012, and then moved to Munich, Germany to work for Google as a Site Reliability Engineer.

I've been married to Maximiliano Curia (another DD) since 2004 (DebConf4 was our honeymoon trip!)