Formation sur les wikis chez Koumbit

Anne Goldemberg donne sa formation sur les wikis à la Fourmilière de Koumbit… visiblement on a sous-estimé le nombre de participants! C’est un bon problème à gérer, bravo à Koumbit pour l’organisation de ces formations.

J’y suis avec un client dans le domaine de la production vidéo (mon frère!) pour un petit projet d’implantation wiki. Drôle de journée!


Dear Lazy web: anyone with a Dell XPS M1330 + Ubuntu out there ?

So tonight I was asked what I thought of the Dell XPS 1330 with Ubuntu pre-installed… not having seen one I took a few minutes to search on the vast cyberspace only to come back empty-handed.

So… can anyone of those lucky enough to have ordered one report their experience somewhere public ? Or just point my incompetent searching skills to any existing blog posts or reviews ? I can’t seem to find any! Thanks!


Fingerprint authentication in Ubuntu

It seems more and more laptops come equipped with fingerprint readers lately. If you want to see support for such readers officially rolled into Ubuntu 8.10 by all means click on that mean Brainstorm logo! Update: it seems the Brainstorm voting has closed, however the discussion that entry has about security is worth checking.

I recently got an HP Pavillion xt1000 series with such hardware and while researching its fingerprint support I came across Fprint.

From the project site:

The fprint project aims to plug a gap in the Linux desktop: support for consumer fingerprint reader devices.

Previously, Linux support for such devices has been scattered amongst different projects (many incomplete) and inconsistent in that application developers would have to implement support for each type of fingerprint reader separately.

The provided packages are:

  • libpam-fprint – PAM module allowing authentication (login, sudo, etc.) via fprint
  • libfprint-dev – fingerprint library of fprint project, development headers
  • libfprint0 – fingerprint library of fprint project, which allows using the fingerprint reader found of many of the more decent notebooks
  • fprint-demo – fingerprint scan and verification graphic utility

The packages that enable fprint functionality in Ubuntu are provided by Pavel Rojtberg, I’d like to invite anyone with fingerprint readers to try them. If you find any bugs I think they can be sent to the project’s mailing list, I couldn’t find an obvious link to any open bug trackers. Oh, and don’t miss the FAQ!

There is a lenghty discussion and interesting information on Pavel’s site. I contacted him personally and he setup a Personal Package Archive (PPA) to build the Ubuntu packages very quickly! Thanks for you work, Pavel! All the development work the Fprint project has achieved is made available very easily to us Ubuntu users via the PPA service in Launchpad. This will not make it in any official Ubuntu repositories just yet, but it’s very promising so far. Above all it should not be considered a replacement for other standard authentication and security measures. 🙂

libpam-fprint + libfprint + fprint-demo packages for Ubuntu 7.10 are available as an archive at:

Hardy Packages are available in this PPA:
deb hardy main restricted universe multiverse
(add that line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file and update your repositories: sudo apt-get update from comand line or just use Synaptic.

For other distributions see:

ScreenshotFPThe fprint-demo package provides a graphical application to enroll fingerprints and set different options. After installing that package, fprint-demo can be invoked from command line only (no menu entry yet) by issuing this command (notice the underscore instead of hyphen):
sudo fprint_demo

In order to enable fprint authentication on Ubuntu install the libpam and libfprint packages and then edit your /etc/pam.d/common-auth so it contains

auth sufficient
auth required nullok_secure

At your next login attempt or sudo command from terminal, this will first try to read your fingerprint before asking your password. For testing purposes, you can expire the sudo passowrd caching by issuing « sudo -k ». Do not try to disable password login completely; this is alpha software and you might lock out yourself.

Example of command-line fingerprint enrollment:
sudo pam_fprint_enroll --enroll-finger 7

For more information regarding the current (under consideration) integration of fingerprint readers support in Ubuntu, see:


Gnu/Linux integrator complains to supreme court about Quebec government illegaly upgrading to Vista without proper RFPs

Digg this story

This usually happens in other places, not in quiet, boring-without-any-tech-news Quebec province.

Apparently Montreal-based Savoir-faire Linux has had it, and have sent the Quebec Supreme Court a Motion for Declaratory Judgement. The Régie des Rentes du Québec wants to upgrade its desktops to Windows Vista from Windows 2000 without going through any RFPs, because, well, it is an upgrade.

The full documentation of the request (including emails exchanged between the RRQ and SFL), is available online at Cyrille Beraud’s (SFL’s CEO) blog. Cyrille has been blogging about the irregularities of Quebec’s government tech bidding processes for some time now. I’ve known him for some time and I actually almost worked at SFL at the time, but instead ended up at Canonical. If you know Cyrille at any level, you know he’s not joking about this.

This would be the first time (AFAIK) that a North-American company is taking legal action against the government by going to its highest legal instance and asking it to rule as illegal their ignoring of the bidding process of one of its own organizations. So, technically this is not suing our own government, but I hope this will bring some attention to the people and other levels of local government. Although there are some interesting efforts in our province, many government organizations in Quebec are stuck in stone-age procurement systems that leave them out of cash, paying what I call licensing taxes. I wanted to explain a bit how the software business works in Quebec, but quite frankly, I just had some food and it is so disgusting I’ll save it for another rant.

For more information about the Declaratory Judgement Motion legalese, see article #453 of Quebec’s Code of Civil Procedure. Such code is « …intended to render effective the substantive law and to ensure that it is carried out; and failing a provision to the contrary, failure to observe the rules which are not of public order can only affect a proceeding if the defect has not been remedied when it was possible to do so. The provisions of this Code must be interpreted the one by the other, and, so far as possible, in such a way as to facilitate rather than to delay or to end prematurely the normal advancement of cases. » In other words, we have a Code so the actual Code is respected. Pfew!

Update: An English press release is now available.


Noma RX4: la faillite pour tous les fabricants d’adaptateurs et chargeurs

Combien seriez-vous prêt à payer pour un bidule qui:

  • Permet de charger 4 piles AA (donc, chargeur)
  • Inclût ces 4 piles AA
  • Permet de brancher un fil usb normal, fournissant 5 V à 8 types de connecteurs pour étirer la charge d’un appareil « mort » (donc permet aussi d’y brancher tout autre bidule se chargeant sur une prise USB)
  • Se branche dans une prise murale (combiné à la fonction antérieure, devient essentiellement un convertisseur 120VAC -> 5V USB universel)
  • Inclût un file USB vers mini-USB (le fil mentionné auparavant, avec un des adaptateurs)

Combien ?

80 $ ?
50 $ ?

Mmmhhh… 24.95 $ chez Canadian Tire, ou chez tout vendeur de bidules utiles.

Plus d’information dans le manuel d’usager du Noma RX4:

Passez le mot, et pour la faillite des autres fabricants d’adaptateurs, je suis persuadé qu’on va attendre.