Five Questions For Peter Lundblad, Google Programmer
Lundblad is a leading contributor to the Subversion open source code project, which has produced a widely implemented code management system. He was among five leaders of open source code recognized in August at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference. Unlike the others, Lundblad is blind, a fact that didn't bother Google, Lundblad's new employer.
Interview by Charles Babcock
Photograph by Wiley Spiller/Getty Images
"I have no idea exactly what I'll be doing for Google, but I know they already employ another blind programmer." Google uses Subversion to manage open source projects that it hosts on its site. Lundblad works in Google's Zurich facility."
Open Source Guru
"My work on Subversion was really helpful. When you work for a private company, it's easy to just sit in a cave. You don't get feedback from other programmers because you're not allowed to show your code to anyone."
How He Does It
"I was trained as a finger typist. I know from the feel of the keys if I've made a mistake typing. When looking at code, I prefer Braille." Lundblad uses a device that presents each line of code on the screen in Braille for him to read by touch.
"I was 13 years old in 1989 when I got my first computer. Then a few years later, the Internet came along. It was a revolution. I could search for whatever I wanted, instead of going to the library to see what books they had in Braille."
"I've spent much time improving performance in various parts of Subversion, especially the working copy library, the Subversion component that manages the user's copy of files."
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