Konstantin Klyagin, Programmer at the WEBSCI company in Iasi
Romania, the place to be
Konstantin Klyagin, a Russian guy of 21 years old has already graduated from the university and has 4 years of professional experience in Kharkov, Ukraine. He wrote two programs which are already well known to our readers being shipped on the CD which comes with PC Magazine: centericq (issue 5/2002) and motor (issue 8/2001). The former is a program for communication through Internet, the sole one which works in text mode making it possible to use different IM protocols at once, and the latter is a complete IDE for software development in UNIX. Accidentally he's been living in our country for about a year and already learned our language.
PC Magazine: It's not a secret that your program is very popular among UNIX users. How did you decide to write it?
Konstantin Klyagin: When it happened, there were very few programs for Linux which allowed to chat through the ICQ protocol. Those with friendly user interface were made for X, but others were too ascetic. In the beginning I used micq, then I found zicq and even started to fix some bugs in it and also imroved it. But then I realized that I wasn't happy with that one either. So, I decided to write a proggy which would satisfy my own needs with a good interface in text mode.
PC Magazine: What didn't you like at other ICQ programs? Are you an adept of the principle: if you need something which doesn't exist, write it yourself?
Konstantin Klyagin: All of them were made for X or had a very minimalistic interface. I wanted to have more, because I used various instant messaging systems. As to the principle, I can say that it's not the first time when I write something because I wasn't happy with something existing. Usually I create programs for myself personally, but then it turns out that there are other people who would use them with pleasure. That's how it happened with another program of mine, Tornado, made for bulletin board systems (BBS) back when I was 15 years old, and now it's the same with centericq.
PC Magazine: I assume that at the very beginning centericq was made only for ICQ. How did you decide to add support for the Yahoo!, MSN, AIM and IRC protocols?
Konstantin Klyagin: You're right, I was very happy only with ICQ until Mirabilis (or AOL already) added several "bugs" to its old protocol and all the programs that used it, including their own icq99b started to work wrong. It was a real catastrophy - all the client programs for UNIX systems weren't working. There was a need for an updated library for the new ICQ protocol, and it appeared soon. But in order to talk to my friends and partners I restructured the program code so that the new protocols can be added easily. Then an Open Source library for icq2000 appeared, and I integrated it into centericq. Recently I also added support for IRC, because it seemed to be that the protocol was very popular at Internet caffes in Romania and I also wanted to communicate easily on the respective network.
PC Magazine: Why didn't you change the program name to something more corresponding to its current facilities?
Konstantin Klyagin: The original name was kept due to the historical motives. BTW, "icq" can be interpreted not only as "I seek you". Think further and you'll have more variants, like "Instant messaging queue" or "Internet managed quarrel", you see :).
PC Magazine: What future do you think the Internet Messaging area will have?
Konstantin Klyagin: I think the progress in the area won't stop anyway, since people do need to communicate and will communicate definitely.
Probably other messaging systems will apear, faster ones, and also with more facilities. Even though centericq don't have support for Jabber yet, I think it will become a very popular protocol in the future.
PC Magazine: Good programmers are looked for in the whole the World. How did it happen that you came exactly to our country? Why didn't you chose the United States or Western Europe?
Konstantin Klyagin: I don't like the idea that everyone must leave for "good" and "rich" countries like the ones you mentioned. Unfortunatelly, despite our countries are neighbours, where I come from there is nothing known about Romania which was a real white space on the map for me. That's why I found Websci's offer interesting.
PC Magazine: In which countries would you like to work in order to know them better?
Konstantin Klyagin: Now I'd like to stay in Romania for some time. In future, I cannot know yet; everything depends on what kind of variants I have in those countries. I'd prefer something absolutely unknown for me, maybe South Africa or New Zealand, but others I haven't seen yet would be ok as well.
PC Magazine: Anyway, how did you manage to graduate from university at 20 years?
Konstantin Klyagin: It's simple. Until the European educational system was introduced in our country (a stupid system, in my opinion), which means 12 years of study at school, we had only 10. Also, I entered the school a year earlier than others. After a simple calculation it comes out that having 6 I started school, at 16 was admitted to the uni and at 20 I graduated.
PC Magazine: It's clear you are a communicative person (otherwise you wouldn't have written centericq ;)). That's why you learned Romanian? As far as I understand, you could easily use only English, since WebSci is an American company and English is a must for all of its employees.
Konstantin Klyagin: I like to communicate, and what really shocked me when I came was the fact that noone of my non-Romanian colleagues working here even didn't think of learning the language.
PC Magazine: Now tell me about Motor. I understand what you wrote centericq for, but which was the reason for writing Motor? Have you heard of Kdevelop, Code-Forge and other IDEs for UNIX?
Konstantin Klyagin: Of course I heard of it. But then there were no IDEs for console other than RHIDE which was working slowly and actually was ported from MS-DOS. I didn't like it and then I decided to change the situation by writing an IDE for console with more useful facilities. Obviously, I personally had a need for such a program.
PC Magazine: What OS do you use? Console or X? Which window manager? Text editor? What kind of PC do you use for development? People like to know such details, you know.
Konstantin Klyagin: I use Linux at work and at home. The majority of things I do in console, but also have X-Window running in order to be able to navigate the web (using Mozilla for it), to see Word documents and other things which I cannot do in console. In X I use GNOME and Enlightement. Among editors, I prefer mcedit and the one integrated into motor for development.
PC Magazine: Why exactly Linux? What does attract you in it at most?
Konstantin Klyagin: I like two things about it. First is the fact that you can easily access sources of all of its programs. And the second is that the whole the system is made for programmer. I mean, I feel comfortable with it.
PC Magazine: Could you tell us how many users your programs have?
Konstantin Klyagin: It's not that easy to count them. I can only tell what I see from the site statistics; for example, during June, centericq was downloaded 6000 times and motor for about 1000. I think it's quite enough.
PC Magazine: What do you enjoy doing apart from programming? What do you do on your leisure?
Konstantin Klyagin: Sometimes, when I find interesting topics, I write articles for various sites and magazines. Usually I write about programming, but also sometimes there are exceptions: recently in the "argc & argv" magazine edited in Russian I published an article about Romania from the programmer's point of view. Also I write various observations on my site (http://konst.org.ua/), almost every week in Russian and in English. If I have enough free time, we are travelling with my colleagues; here in Romania you've got some nice mountains, I like them a lot.
PC Magazine: Thank you for your answers, Konstantin. I wish you luck and every success.
Konstantin Klyagin: Thank you, it was a pleasure for me.