Thursday, September 25, 2008

Interview With TualatriX - Maker of Ubuntu Tweak!

Ubuntu has made the whole PC industry sit up and take notice. Even companies like DELL are shipping Ubuntu as an alternative to Windows. Ubuntu has made Linux as simple as Windows (if not more) to use. However making changes in Ubuntu still require some good old grease and some x-conf editing. Thankfully one software, Ubuntu Tweak, aims to make changes to Ubuntu very easy. Today we have TualatriX, the maker of UT. Lets ask him the secret of Ubuntu Tweak's phenomenal rise in the Linux world.
First of all, what does TualatriX mean? Is it a Chinese name?
No, TualatriX doesn't means anything. It is actually Tualatin + Cyrix. Tualatin and Cyrix are the names of my 2 CPU processors. I started using it because I needed an ID that could be used everywhere and wouldn't be already registered. So I create the TualatriX for my English ID. From there on, I never meet the thing that the ID has been registered.
Of course, TualatriX is hard to spell and remember, so you can call me TX for short, or my real name: Zhou Ding. Zhou is my surname and Ding is my name.

So Ding, tell us something about Ubuntu Tweak.
Ubuntu Tweak is a tool originally designed to help those who are new to Ubuntu. After several releases, I found that skilled people use it too. So now it's a setting tool for every Ubuntu user. It makes changing settings on Ubuntu very easy.

When and why did you set out to write Ubuntu Tweak?
Ubuntu Tweak's first version (0.1.2) was released in September 2007.It was during my first summer vacation (From July 2007 to August 2007) of my college, I decided to develop an application to help tweaking Ubuntu.
Every time I finished installing Ubuntu on my or others' computer, I had to do the same work again and again to make it do what I want. So I thought why don’t I write an application to help me avoid doing the same work again?

Did you have any previous coding experience?
I started learning programing since August 2006, but didn't wrote any application. Before programing for Ubuntu Tweak, I only had a little experience with writing simple programs. I like writing programs with Java, but now I chose Python. It was July 2007, when I finally started writing a real application, it was Ubuntu Tweak. I didn't have any experience with writing application , so I learnt GTK+ for developing Ubuntu Tweak.The beginning was difficult, fortunately, in the Opensource world, I can read other applications’ code to learn how to do programming. After more than one month, the first version of Ubuntu Tweak came out! Since version 0.2.4 I re-wrote Ubuntu Tweak with Python.
You can read more about it here.

Talking of other software, which is your favorite Ubuntu software?
My favorite software is Compiz Fusion. It's magical and powerful, that's why I like it.

You have been putting in cool new features in Ubuntu Tweak with every release, what is the secret of such rapid pace of development? What new features can we expect in Ubuntu Tweak?
The secret is: I always listen to the users, and make ideas every time.
Some new features you can expect are the Service control, Appearance settings (Theme install) and Tweaking the System Settings.

What is the current situation of Linux in China?
Linux useage in China is still in its infancy. Very few people here know about Linux. However the number of Linux users is increasing. Even in education field, various schools and colleges are starting an Linux course in addition to Windows.

Since when did you started using Linux, what has been your experience so far?
I started using Linux since November 2006, I was curious about it. Now I cannot live without Linux. I have used various Linux distributions right from Fedora to Ubuntu, and now I choose to use Gentoo.
My advice to Linux newcomers is: Never look at Linux as an Windows clone, regard Linux as a completely new thing.

When you started out, did you expect Ubuntu Tweak would become so famous?
No, I didn't. So it now becomes a responsibility (also power) to me, I need to make it better.

Are there any plans to include Ubuntu Tweak in the Ubuntu distribution?
I know many people want it to be included by default, but I feel it is more suitable for Tweak to be included in the repository.

Are you planning to fork UT into other releases.
I'll always work with Ubuntu Tweak, let other people do the fork.

Many users ( including me ) are complaining about the changed theme for the upcoming 3.6 release, what are you going to do about it?
Yeah, many people are also complaining about the big interface, their desktop's resolution is 1024*768 (or 1024*600 with EEE PC). So I'll have to change the theme to let more people play with it.

How has Ubuntu Tweak changed your life? Any special memories?
Many people start to know me because of Ubuntu Tweak, but it doesn't change my life at all. in other words, I make Ubuntu Tweak to make life more meaningful. I have known many people thanks to Ubuntu Tweak. Last month I received an email from a 72 yr old gentleman from India who congratulated me for making Ubuntu better. It was special!
Thank you Ding! For your wonderful service to Ubuntu and Linux in general. We are sure you will keep Ubuntu Tweak the best in its class.

"So, tell me momma why make Buffalo's biggest cookie?"


  1. Too good and i pay thanks to that guy for giving me inspiration. As he told that he was anormal programmer as i am in 2006 but he has developed Ubuntu tweak. I am XP user but now i want to use linux. Thanks again.

    Mail me at

  2. i like Ubuntu Tweak, and thanks, TX


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