Entrevista a Tapani Räikkönen, hacker de los kernels de Musix 0.x y 1.x

15 03 2007 (entrevista restaurada desde Archive.org)

Linux Kernel: Tapani Räikkönen, the man behind the Musix’s kernel

Posted by: marcos, in English

Tapani Räikkönen is finnish, 52 years old man that collaborates with the Musix’s proyect by building its Linux kernels. So, many people could be thinking: who is this man? I made him an interview and here it is:


* Do you have family, woman, children? In that case, how is your family? Does they like what you do? I mean, development of free software? Does they matter at all?

Yes, wife and four children – two daugters and two sons. Hard to believe because I’m so young ;-) My family is doing fine.

My wife doesn’t care of my hobby and is not interested of computing at all. The same is with my daugters. But my sons are very skilled and sometimes I have to ask them for help in some matters.

* What is your main job?

I’m working as a warehouse manager in quite a big Finnish company.

* Which is your main vocation?

You mean my calling?

* Yes

I have always like to play guitar. I never even thought any other occupation as to play classical guitar and to teach others. And actually I teached some years in two Institutes of Music, but then I achieved a commercial education and have worked in business area. But inside of me I would like to be a musician.

* When and how it was the first time you heard about Free Software?

My elder son had friends (I think it was 1993) who used Linux. And a couple of years later we had a Linux server in our home. But free software… I have used PC since DOS 3.1 and had some good Freeware programs in my machine. I don’t know if there actually is a difference between ‘Freeware’ or ‘Free Software’ to the average computer user. The main thing is that you can use those programs freely. But I like ‘Free Software’ because I can get the source code and am allowed to develop programs further myself.

* Is it true that the climate there in Finland causes people to depress more than the usual?

I think it’s more the nature of Finnish people than climate. But of course dark winter time makes us feel sometimes melancholic :-(

* Why did you started SuomiKnoppix?

Conrad Newton from Norway maintained a derivate of Knoppix called ‘Nordisknoppix’. But software packaged grew too large to fit on a single CD, so there was no ‘Scandinavian version’ of Knoppix existing anymore. So I decided to study how to do a remastered version of Knoppix and being very enthusiast made soon ‘SuomiKnoppix‘ (meaning ‘Finnish Knoppix’) for Finnish, Swedish and English speaking people. It has been very popular in Finland.

* Is Linus Torvalds like a popular hero in your country, Finland?

Well, I would not say so. But of course, he is very famous and everytime he comes in Finland, press and TV wants to get some interviews.

* Have the figures of Linus Torvalds and Klaus Knopper influenced you to create your own GNU/Linux distribution based on Knoppix?

No, no. I appreciate Mr. Klaus Knopper very much and he has done a good job, but the reasons why I decided to do my distribution based on Knoppix are:

– Knoppix is debian based
– Knoppix boots fast from a CD
– Knoppix has a good hardware recognition
– Knoppix is easy to install to the hard disk

And Linus… he is from Finland and I think that Finland should therefore be the leading country concerning Linux in spite of Linux himself dwelling in USA now ;-)

* Free Software is something popular in Finland? I know that Firefox is very popular there.

Firefox is very popular also in Windows machines. The reason why it is popular is obvious. IE 6 had too many bugs and had security problems especially during last few yeard. I think that Windows Vista with IE 7 is much better and many people are going to use it in the future. But if we hear that IE 7 is unsecure, they come back to Firefox. In Linux environment Firefox (called ‘Iceweasel’ in Debian) is the best browser this time and I also use it. Before Firefox I used Mozilla.

* The people that you know (friends, family, at work, etc.) uses free software mainly?

Only Firefox and Thunderbird, not many other programs. I’m not speaking of Linux community now.

* What distros are the most used in Finland?

Ubuntu and Suse 10. The situation has changed much. Five years ago Red Hat was the most popular. Then came Suse, Mandrake and Debian, many also used Slackware. I used Red Hat and Suse myself (now Debian and Suse). Some developers seems to use Gentoo today, I prefer Debian.

* Does Ubuntu take away the use of Knoppix based distros in Finland?

No, they are not competing distros. Many Ubuntu users has Knoppix CD or SuomiKnoppix CD also for rescue and hardware testing purposes.

* Do you like Ubuntu more than Knoppix?

No. I have never understood why Ubuntu is so popular. I like Debian (Knoppix) more and think that scanty resources should be mainly used for Debian development than to some derivate of Debian. Anyhow, Ubuntu
communion makes some good and necessary packages also to Debian APT repositories.

* Why do you develop free software instead of proprietary software?

Because I’m not a professional. This is only a hobby for me and I think to be and stay as amateur ;-)

* How much of the day you dedicate to the development of free software?

One, two, tree hours, sometimes I don’t even touch to the computer at all in two weeks. It depends ;-)

* Did you use free software to play with your acoustic guitar, record it, etc.?

I would like to but have not had time enough to do anything like that. I have been too busy the last two years. But in the future, I’ll at least do some recordings.

* What kind of studies do you have on acoustic guitar?

I took private lessons in my younghood and studied classical guitar myself in an equally manner as Andrés Segovia :-)

* Why do you like to compile and use new kernels?

Knoppix versions comes so rarely nowadays and I would like to do some versions in the meantime. So the kernel must be updated for my new version, too.

* Do you think that free software usage will expand enough to replace the use of propietary software completely?

No, I don’t think so.

* Do you think that people uses free software because of the freedom it gives us, or mainly because of the technical benefits? Here in Argentina, it’s mainly because of the technical benefits.

Developers likes the freedom, of course, but ordinary people uses Free Software because the software is usually very good e.g. Firefox or SuomiKnoppix :-)

* Well… Thanks Tapsa: take you time! :-)

You are welcome!

More info:

SuomiKnoppix can be downloaded from here:

To test a new kernel, see: ftp://musix.ourproject.org/pub/musix/deb/kernel/


This entry was posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2007 at 6:45 pm and is filed under English. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Linux Kernel: Tapani Räikkönen, the man behind the Musix’s kernel”

  1. Tuomas Helin says:
    June 1st, 2007 at 2:23 pm Hello!I’m writing the rest of this message in Finnish, but first; good work, Tapani. Debian is IMHO the way to go, although Ubuntu has done a lot in terms of usability to the average user.

    Siis: käytätkö Musixin kernelissä realtime-lsm -modulia?
    Jos käytät, niin onko se sourceforgelta peräisin?

    Itse käytän Fedoraa ja PlanetCCRMA -paketteja, joissa realtime-moduli tiputettiin Core4 -versiossa. Sen sijaan alettiin käyttää PAM:in konfigurointia reaaliaikaisen kernelin aikaansaamiseksi.

    Mikä äänikortti sinulla on käytössä? Itselläni on sekaisin “rautamiksereitä”, efektejä ja kitaraa/bassoa. Teen yhdellä koneella perusrytmit Hydrogenilla ja äänitän toisella koneella M-Audion Audiophile 24/96 kortin läpi Ardouriin. Zynaddsubfx toimii mukavana ambienssiäänien tuottajana.

  2. Tapani Räikkönen says:
    June 2nd, 2007 at 9:28 am Hi Tuomas!Thank you for your very good questions. But because finnish is not so widely used all over the world as spanish or english I’ll reply you in english ;)

    Yes, I have compiled ‘Default Linux Capbilites’ as a module, see http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Jack#Configuring_JACK. Then I have builded also realtime-lsm module from Debian source (realtime-source) As you said, libpam-modules should be used now instead of realtime-lsm, but some Musix users still wants to use realtime-lsm. So I builded realtime-lsm module for them :)

    To your question of sound cards I don’t want to say very much. If you or someone else is satisfied with Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! (as I am), there’s no need to buy a new one. If you want a better one, make sure it is supported http://bugtrack.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Matrix:Main.


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