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Bristol, broken dictaphones, and billionaires

Here at LXF Towers, we let no geographical boundaries get in the way of our reporting. Be it Barcelona, Paris or San Francisco, when there's an interview to be done, Team LXF scurries around the globe like a crazy Linux-using ferret holding a tape recorder. On Tuesday, I took the long trek to Bristol to chat with Kristian Van Der Vliet (aka Vanders), the lead developer behind Syllable.

Despite the overcast weather conditions, photographer Rob managed to get some good snaps of Vanders in Castle Park and by the river; for the interview itself, we retreated to a nearby pub which had just enough lighting for a few more photos. Unfortunately, the well-travelled LXF tape recorder, which regular readers will occasionally spot in the corner of interview pics, pretty much gave up the ghost -- even after replacing the batteries. Despite all our advanced attempts to fix it (such as prodding the buttons randomly), it looks like it's off to the big dictaphone in the sky.

Nil desperandum, though: Graham had lent me his MP3 player with its tiny but surprisingly good built-in microphone, which did the trick. Vanders is highly passionate about his project, and open source on the desktop in general, especially when discussing the well-debated topic of Linux's small home-user market share. Even near-lethal doses of salt from a few packs of pork scratchings didn't take him off-topic, and on the whole it was a great interview.

(At one point, when Vanders had left the pub for a few minutes, a girl nearby asked me if he was famous, what with all the photos and recording. I said "Maybe one day." So Vanders, if you're reading, don't forget Team LXF when Syllable Support Inc has IPO'd and you can't move for dollar bills, OK? :-) )


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