Friday 26 December 2008

Helping out others in time of crisis

Well, last night was an "interesting" night. I guess it's one way to put it.

I was with girlfriend, in her family. A fire started in the house immediately next to the one we were in -- a duplex. We evacuated.

Fortunately, everyone in our family got out, and it looks like the family in the other house got out safely too. However, it brought me to notice how nice it is to have friendly neighbors who are ready to give you a hand in those sad moments. A lot of neighbors kindly offered their help, invited us in to get warm. That was really the spirit of Christmas, helping out those in need and getting to know people you maybe see everyday, but probably only say hi to every once in a while.

For me, it wasn't too bad a night -- I mean we only moved to car to let the firefighters have some room to work, and then we had to wait about four hours for them to finish up, move the trucks and remove the safety perimeter before my girlfriend could get her boots from the house, and we could go home. However, I can imagine the distress of the occupants, who either lost everything, or came very close to.

Good news, my girlfriend's family's house had very minimal damage to the roof, and maybe to slight water issues because of the work that was done on the other side. Still, all the best for them. They've gone through a lot, and they have all our support.

Thing is, from now on I'm guessing we'll be carrying a few little supplies in the trunk of the car... A warm blanket comes to mind, and well as a first aid kit.

Monday 22 December 2008

Why Ubuntu is important to me

Well, maybe I'm a little late with all of this, but I do invite you to read Jono Bacon's great post "The Ubuntu Ethos", as well as Daniel Holbach's take on the subject: "Why I believe in Ubuntu".

As for my part, I'll have to go with the same answers as them. It's just really stimulating to see all the work that we can put together when working as a community. Sure, there is room for improvement, sometimes things are a little ugly, but overall everybody does a great job. In Ubuntu-QC for example, there is a clear motivation to help out people, and that's nice to see. Just about everywhere else, I see the same drive to make a difference, to help out those who hope for something better (by showing them about our wonderful distro!) and to support those who are just having trouble with one or two little details on their system.

I also feel that drive, and it's great to see that people are recognizing it and are happy to see our interest in their software, in Ubuntu, and in free software in general.

And even more importantly, it's nice to have a nice community you can go have a beer with every once in a while, and talk about those weird computer things that interest us.

As David Thomas so nicely put it in his post on the subject, learning about Ubuntu has been the catalyst to doing more, or at least finding out where to start. I had been wanting to participate more in free software, and as I learned about Ubuntu I also learned how I could make a difference, and found a great opportunity to contribute where it matters, where you've got a friendly atmosphere to work in, and where what you can do to help is clear and goals are attainable.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

De vieilles nouvelles, mais quand même...

Bon, j'avoue, c'est pas du nouveau. J'ai juste pas entendu parler de ca auparavant, et je pense que c'est quand même un bon truc à savoir.

Ici, au Québec, le gouvernement accordait directement à Microsoft, sans appel d'offres, des contrats logiciels. Deux organismes/entreprises se sont réveillés, soit l'organisme FACIL et l'entreprise Savoir-Faire Linux, pour amener un cour le gouvernement sur ce point et les réveiller un peu.

Je n'irai pas dans les détails puisqu'ils sont lisibles dans les liens ci-haut, mais c'est un excellent point à apporter, d'autant plus que le gouvernement devrait encourager l'industrie informatique locale...

Sur un autre point tout aussi "vieux" comme nouvelles, il existe un pacte signée par les députés de différents partis sur le support du logiciel libre. D'un certain côté, c'est très bien que plusieurs députés l'aient déjà signée, mais c'est quand même triste de constater que la majorités sont soit du Parti Vert, soit de Québec Solidaire. Les autres devraient peut-être se réveiller un peu... Le lien est ici:

Il y a également une pétition, accessible à tous, pour l'utilisation du logiciel libre par le gouvernement du Québec.

Ceci dit, visitez le site de la pétition, signez-là, et tentez d'en parler avec votre député et de l'amener à la signer, ainsi que le Pacte du Logiciel Libre!

Tuesday 2 December 2008

A coalition?

Politics here in Canada are just really fucked up -- sorry for the wording, I can't find any better way to explain it.

So what's gotten to people and wanting to just replace the government like that? What about those who are somewhat happy with the outcome? Yes, maybe they hoped for something else, better, but the votes have brought this result.

At the same time, the Conservatives are not the actual majority: Harper was named PM because his party had more elected MPs than the other parties, but on the whole, they are still fewer than the sum of the opposition MPs if you put them all together. As such, I am supporting the coalition idea because it stands as an effort to keep the MPs representing the majority in the position of power. It's not things to be taken lightly, certainly not something that should happen too often, but it currently seems like the right thing to do. Some of the horrible, horrible moral views of the Conservatives will be kept away, and if given a chance, maybe a coalition will be able to change things for the better -- and not only economically.

And no, I certainly don't prefer Dion to Harper. The mix of ideas and views is what I'm looking for, rather than a specific party or leader. All the parties have some good ideas... just like they all have some horribly flawed views too.

Oh and please, PLEASE! Stop this madness of elections almost every year. The X just gets harder to draw every time.