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Benjamin Barenblat

Account namebbaren
OpenPGP fingerprint7B6E E2ED A35C 3212 164B 1B64 D981 7E8F DF69 C32E
StatusDebian Developer, uploading since 2016-12-24

Short Biography

I’m Benjamin Barenblat, and I started using bits and pieces of free software starting in 1999 or so. I wanted to learn C++ at the time, so I picked up the friendliest-looking C++ book I could find (‘C++ for Dummies’, if you must know) and installed DJGPP and RHIDE off the included CD-ROM. I ran into references to free software during my C++ tutorial, but I didn’t really stop to think about what it meant – ‘free’ sounded an awful lot like ‘gratis’, and I was just glad I’d found a hobby I didn’t have to spend any real money on.

About 2003, though, I ran out of programming projects, and I needed a new computer hobby. So I picked up the next friendliest-looking computer book I could find (‘Fedora Core 1 for Dummies’) and installed Fedora. During the next couple of years, I did most of my homework with OpenOffice.org, browsed the web with the nascent Firefox, and eventually got quite comfortable with bash and Emacs. At some point in there, I ran into an explanation of what free software actually is, but even if I’d disagreed with the philosophy, I wouldn’t have switched back to Windows; I’d become far too addicted to installing whatever software I wanted with a single command, rather than buying install media and clicking through cumbersome wizards.

Attracted by Debian’s reputations for security, rigorous attention to license compliance, and massive community, I switched in 2011. I first encountered unpackaged software I really wanted to use (transmission-remote-gtk) a couple years later, and I wound up learning to package so I could install it through dpkg. Since then, I’ve packaged a good amount of software for personal use, and when confident that my packages are stable and high-quality, I’ve asked Debian Developers to upload them. Today, I maintain boogie, dafny, transmission-remote-gtk, and urweb, and I’m working on getting deadbeef through the NEW queue. I now encounter software I’d like to see packaged on a regular basis, and I’m excited about the prospect of being able to upload without bothering mentors.

As you may guess, I’m a bit of a programming languages nerd. I’m excited about packaging new and underutilized languages – it’s a lot easier to try out a new programming language if you can just aptitude install it, rather than locating and compiling a tarball. I also enjoy embedded systems, classic video games, and basketball.

Personal history

Applicant From To Applying for Progress AM Advocate(s)
bbaren 18 Apr 2016 24 Dec 2016 Debian Developer, uploading (done) Completed pjb achernya