Thursday 27 November 2008

The year is almost over...

I read Stephan Hermann's post today on his blog, that I saw on Planet Ubuntu. I think he pretty much hit the nail right on the head, especially with his quotes from Tom Limoncelli's excellent book: Time Management for System Administrators (ISBN-10: 0-596-00783-3 / ISBN-13: 978-0-596-00783-6)

I won't re-copy the excerpts he quoted, but it essentially stood for saying that system administrators, at least in the majority, are tinkerers, and have a hard time separating work from personal life -- everything seems to blur into one major problem-solving challenge, just endless puzzles from the point you wake up until when you go to sleep. In any case, it is the case for me. I'll just work my full day, solving different usual or just completely new problems, only to come back home to tackle on some open source project that fascinates me, or to play on my computer. I've even witnessed the same kind of thing happening when some friends come over with laptops, or when me and my SO just sit in bed with our netbooks, chatting or, in my case, working away at something that caught my attention on that day.

Anyway, I already started, last year, to pay more attention to time management, and having read the book, there's many tricks I still haven't applied to my life. It's great because each work independently, but I'm still going to give it more effort and integrate some of the really nifty little ideas to managing my time more effectively for the upcoming year.

As for giving out details on my other plans for 2009:

In company life, I've been at my current workplace for nearly 4 years now. I still very much enjoy everything I do, especially when I consider that not all places are necessarily as open, as stimulating and interesting to work in, and always full of totally new projects to tackle. It seems like here, things are ever-changing and there's always something new to learn. That's great: I love to learn. For the upcoming year, looks like there are still more new interesting projects to come, and I also have ideas of my own. I want to improve the network in a large scale, especially from the aspects of monitoring and administration tools.

In terms of my personal life, little has changed for a while now -- things are going on just fine, and it's especially great to have been able to re-unite with an old friend, and learn that he's a hardcore geek too ;)

In opensource, thanks to this "new" old friend, I'm planning on spending a lot of time on various little projects. One that should take a good amount of my time is to build a point-of-sales system for the KDE platform -- the details aren't set in stone yet, we're still looking at bringing in ideas, finding out what are the best tools for the job, etc.

I'm also still spending a good amount of time on NetworkManager, and I like to play around with Terminator too. Terminator was a fun little project to look into, and as I stated in a previous post, I was able to adapt a cool feature from a previous version in someone's Bazaar branch, bring it in my own, and make it work with Terminator's latest source (again from bazaar). That was a great new crutch for improving my understanding and skills in Python.

From reading Stephan's blog post, it seems I may need to look into Leonov as well. Looks like a very nice tool, also in Python, so I will definitely at least give it a test run. Maybe I can even find some cool ways to contribute to it too, even with my somewhat limited knowledge of Python.

Ah, and thanks to Fabian Rodriguez for creating a new team specifically for the Ubuntu Quebec Launchpad Answers contacts. It's true that we were getting a lot of messages from Launchpad Answers, and I'm guessing that not everyone wanted to have to deal with this. Anyway, I've already applied and I've been accepted to join that team, and I'll still do my best at answering any questions that come up. So if you're using Ubuntu, have questions about a feature, or how to do something (especially if you want to ask it in French!), drop by Launchpad and ask away! There's lots of very talented and understanding people ready to help you out.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Un nouveau blog?

Intéressant. Le CTO de la compagnie où je travaille vient de lancer un nouveau blog. C'est pas mal, reste à voir si il y aura des mises à jour...

En tout cas, c'est certainement un pas dans la bonne direction, si on peut avoir davantage de détails sur les idées des hauts dirigeants de l'entreprise, sur leurs perspectives de la situation économique, et de ce qui se passe du côté de la direction générale que prend l'entreprise. Le blog n'est pas public, seulement accessible (du moins pour le moment), aux employés via un site Intranet. Ca m'a fait un peu penser aux weblogs, par exemple, de Mark Shuttleworth (CEO de Canonical) ou Jonathan Schwarz (CEO de Sun), qui ont aussi des weblogs, pour ne nommer que ceux que j'ai bel et bien lus.

Ce qui me surprendrais, mais me donnerais vraiment un boost de motivation par contre, ce serait de voir qu'on a un "militant" du logiciel libre parmis la direction, ou la haute direction... Ceci dit, je suis pratiquement certain que ce n'est pas le cas. :)

Friday 14 November 2008

Status update

Not much to say here. I've been working for some time at the adaptation of a patch to Terminator (a GNOME terminal wrapper that supports panning), and quite a lot of time on NetworkManager's VPNC plugin still, which seems to still give me some issues. The goal is mostly to adapt the plugin to mimic some of the features of the OpenVPN plugin, where the auth dialog goes to read some GConf keys, but so far I seem to run into ugly SegFaults, or other errors, and I'm still kind of tracking them down, although I haven't spent too much time on that, since I've bought an Xbox. Fixing those should be done fairly soon, and there should be a nice update to network-manager-vpnc on my PPA (and some of the still-broken code is already on my Bazaar branch). As for Terminator, my bazaar branch already has the fix committed, and my PPA has it packaged:

terminator - 0.11-2ubuntu2~ppaintrepid1

Assassin's Creed and Crackdown do seem to steal quite a lot of time from me, but it's a fun way to finish a forced vacation from work ;)

Monday 3 November 2008

Intrepid OpenWeek day 1

This OpenWeek started off really well. An incredible amount of really interesting information, supplemented with very good questions from the audience -- truly stimulating.

I especially liked the Reporting and Fixing Kernel Bugs, Report bugs about Ubuntu, and Bazaar: Beyond The Basics talks. Not that the others didn't contain useful information: they did, and I still learned quite a lot, but the kernel, bugs, and bazaar stuff was just closer to what I had been doing recently, and answered my questions. Anyone wanting to join the MOTU team and missing these would probably look at the IRC meeting logs at

Given that I've started to push my work to Launchpad, for the packaging efforts and soon my patches to Network Manager, the Bazaar tips and tricks really filled a hole in my understanding of the tool, especially the difference between some of the commands I was using. I only wish there had been more information about how it ties in to packaging specifically, like more about using bzr-buildpackage, keeping debian directories or full packages in Launchpad bazaar trees, etc. I've read the documentation, but there's nothing like getting feedback from other's experiences.

Thanks to Jorge Castro and Jono Bacon, and all of the others who participated so far to realizing this great first day of OpenWeek. I can't wait for the next sessions!

Saturday 1 November 2008

MOTU bookmarks

Just because it's there and really useful, here's a great page that was put together by Tiago Faria, who is also the mastermind behind a list of links to interest to anyone wishing to join MOTU, develop on Ubuntu, or help out with triaging, testing, or confirming bugs: