Foresight Linux

Interview – BleachBit Developer

September 28th, 2009 - Categories: Interviews - Tags:

We interviewed BleachBit developer Andrew Ziem.

About BleachBit

BleachBit quickly frees disk space, removes hidden junk, and easily guards your privacy. Erase cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, remove unused localizations, shred logs, and delete temporary files.


Can you tell little about yourself?

When a young teenager I started programming for fun in Pascal. Before I ever heard of open source or GNU, I published my first open source software in 1996 in C for Windows and OS/2.

Programming is an great hobby: it costs nothing, allows creativity, requires problem solving like for puzzles, and can help other people.

I work in a technical role at a large non-profit organization that loves Microsoft. At home I use Linux, which I’ve used for about 9 years.

I’ve used Fedora since version 1, and before that Mandrake (before it was Mandriva).

How did you start with bleachbit, when did bleachbit get created?

Most of the software I had written was command line interface or web interface. Years ago I had used a GUI application in wxWidgets with C++, but since then, I learned Python.

When BleachBit started, I was interested in learning GTK+ using Python (PyGTK). One advantage of PyGTK is it is standard on all desktop Linux systems, and Python saves the programmer significant effort over older languages such as C++.

I combined the desire to learn PyGTK with a perceived vacuum in the Linux world for a safe, easy-to-use, powerful cleaning tool, so in a short time I released the first version of BleachBit 0.1.0 on December 24, 2008.

How many hours do you work on Bleachbit each day/week?

It varies but lately about one hour a day. Less than half the time is spent coding. Testing, packaging, advertising, managing translations, managing tickets (usually feature requests), and answering questions requires a lot of time.

Whats your main target for bleachbit, Windows or Linux users?

Each platform’s users offers something unique. BleachBit was originally written for Linux. By using PyGTK, BleachBit is better suited for Linux: Linux already has PyGTK, but the PyGTK dependencies add about 6MB to the Windows installer. On Linux, there is less competition from similar software, though some Linux power users are slow to accept BleachBit because they think they can achieve the same results with simple scripts. My challenge: run your script and then see what else BleachBit finds.

Though there is more competition from similar, well-established software on Windows, there are many more Windows users in the world:
even a small slice of a big pie represents many users. Windows users need more open source alternatives to proprietary software to open doors to Linux. Also Windows users are more likely to link to the BleachBit web site (which is appreciated) because many Linux users instead install BleachBit from a repository (using conary, APT, Yum, etc.) without visiting the web site.

BleachBit still lacks a few features and polish for Windows. For example, Windows users expect to see Windows file dialogs, but instead they see the GTK+ file dialogs.

Which dist do you think uses bleachbit most?

In a short time of the first BleachBit release, I quickly learned Ubuntu definitely exceeds all other Linux distributions and Windows
too. Ubuntu’s dominance is especially clear in the download statistics.

What makes Bleachbit so special?

BleachBit is free (as in speech), cross platform, safe, easy, quick, convenient, well translated, actively developed, and includes many advanced features such as free disk space wiping, CleanerML (an XML markup for writing your own cleaners), and vacuuming Firefox and Google Chrome.

Any big feature that’s coming to bleachbit in near future?

I’m planning the second generation of CleanerML and a generic feature to find a whole new category of junk files that no other software
finds. These features will help pave the foundation for BleachBit version 1.0.0.

Also, this week I’ll be releasing the first bonus cleaner package, which provides additional cleaners that were not yet eligible for
inclusion in the main package.

What do you know about Foresight Linux?

I first heard about Foresight Linux when I noticed BleachBit in its repository. I see Foresight uses a unique package manager and
provides fast updates.

Thank you for your time and good luck with BleachBit in the future.

And I wish you well for Foresight Linux.

Best regards, Tomas Forsman

3 Responses to “Interview – BleachBit Developer”

  1. [...] We interviewed Andrew Ziem, Developer and creator of BleachBit application. Whole interview here [...]

  2. fstephens says:

    Good interview. I am going to try it out and possibly include both the Linux and Windows versions on my custom rescue and data recovery live CD.

  3. Riki says:

    Unfortunately, Bleachbit is buggy. Please read my thread on the LinuxMint forum:


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