Rogers Canada: how NOT to sell Android

I love Android (the platform, as a colleague put it).

But I hate my cellphone provider, Rogers Canada. I hope that’s clear. Rogers CANADA.

Being a community, people-oriented person, free software activist and open source enthusiast, and on top of that a full time technical trainer and support analyst, last summer when I heard that Rogers Canada would be the first company to sell & support the mighty HTC Dream (known as G1 to T-Mobile customers), I decided I would trust them. In fact I got my HTC Dream the day it came out, on June 2nd. If Google trusted Rogers with their first Android deployment in Canada, I would be OK. Big mistake!

I’ve posted before that Rogers Canada sucks. I’ve thought about documenting my own problems, but it’s getting easier to just gather other similar experiences Android customers have at Rogers:

That’s right, there is a whole blog dedicated to document and share all the mistakes Rogers Canada has made and all the problems they have caused.

When I saw that I started my own group: RogersSucks (or !rs)

As I write this I am waiting for a replacement HTC Magic which was promised once, order « lost », promotion postponed, then secretly available again, then finally ordered on Sunday. I know, it’s Wednesday and we’re only a province away, but the phone hasn’t even shipped. Nevermind it’s only a slightly less outdated phone, I am waiting again to get the Rogers Canada Android Revolution.

Rogers Canada thinks it’s good business practice to suspend data service in order to force customers into upgrading to a firmware that basically locks down my phone. Why is it important it’s unlocked and rootable ? Because otherwise it’s very much useless, or should I say even less useful than a regular cell phone. At least regular cell phones behave well with BT headsets, don’t crash or reboot spontaneously, and don’t lag for >30 seconds when going from one application to the other. Among other things. It used to be possible to use Cyanogen Mod and other custom firmwares to make these phones somewhat usable. Not anymore.

How did Google let this happen ? I have no clue.

A lot of similar mistakes can be made by any company selling devices based on free, open-source software (and yes I know Android devices don’t come with 100% free software). I secretly hope some anonymous person inside such companies learns something from Rogers Canada mistakes. This is truly an example on how NOT to launch and service such a product.

Meanwhile I am gathering details on my own problems and getting all my services with Rogers cancelled without penalty for breach of contract. If that doesn’t happen, small claims court in Quebec should help, and I’ll document this in true free, open fashion so I can help as many people as I can do the same: vote with their money. I am angry such a great platform got such a bad start in Canada.

I guess the Revolution is not going to be available in Canada for some time.

How Rogers Ruined My HTC Dream


Reminder: Ubuntu Hour this Thursday Feb 11th in Montreal

I am gladly surprised the simple Ubuntu Hour concept I proposed a while ago is slowly picking up in a few places 🙂 14 cities already have someone proposing to meet & greet Ubuntu users on a regular basis.What are you waiting !?

Lunch & Ubuntu

Well, this is only a friendly reminder and invitation to come and join us at Café Suprême, (4190 Boulevard St-Laurent, Montreal – Plateau Mont-Royal) tomorrow Thursday at noon. We’ll have lunch and who knows, perhaps meet some new people. Or just have lunch.


Thank you Ubuntu Québec and Facebook

Télévision de Radio-Canada is a Canadian French language television network. It is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, known in French as Société Radio-Canada, or just « Radio-Canada », for the rest of us. – from Wikipedia

A couple of weeks ago they launched a new web site,, making « available » all their TV shows (or most of them)… in Flash 🙁

Never mind it’s 2010 and HTML5, Ogg Theora and in general open standards and formats are the talk of the day on most web development sites… Flash 10 is a bad enough choice as it is, but apparently’s team just forgot that Linux existed.

Within hours of the launch Ubuntu Québec team members started complaining on the mailing list and on’s Facebook group. We wrote to their admins, provided details, wrote to the ombudsman, got canned replies for all communications. We then put together a Facebook group, and started inviting people to join and we shared our findings (now all on a public wiki). 451 people joined the group which is an amazing number for Quebec province, given the context. I never ever thought I’d use Facebook for open formats and Linux support advocacy in such a way!

Only one programmer from the’s team first acknowledged the problem, then asked for testers. That’s it, total silence from the tax-payers-funded TV network and website.

Within hours of the initial launch people on the mailing list had analyzed the streaming protocol, the Javascript code, etc. and ruled out problems there. To our amazement, a single commented line was preventing any shows to be displayed. Someone put together a GreaseMonkey script, someone else tested it… we went online on IRC to coordinate testing + blogging. Bottom line is we came up with a workaround. A week later finally applied minimal fixes to unblock the Flash display on Linux systems.

The site is not perfect and now other minor issues subsist, and yes, I wish open formats were an option. For now I just wanted to thank Ubuntu for providing not only an incredible operating system but also an amazing community that made all this possible 🙂 I also wanted to thank the Free Software Foundation as we used several resources from them such as the Defective by Design web site to explain the problems associated to using DRM-like implementations of web TV sites, and the problems of not using open formats, such as Flash.

I also wanted to send a big FAIL to Radio-Canada and’s team. To this day they don’t even mention Linux on their FAQ.

You can also find more details about this little victory of ours in my original blog post in French.

Your taxes at work!


Gobby server in 3 steps

I was tasked to examine different options for internal collaborative editing in a small project, for only a few documents and even fewer people.

I knew there was a Gobby server in Ubuntu but didn’t know it was this easy to setup. I quickly found out about Gobby-Infinote (Gobby using the new Infinote protocol) and Infinoted (server). It was really nice to be able to go to the #infinote channel on Freenode and ask questions one-on-one to the actual developpers and validate my tests! Thank you!

From Gobby’s website:

Gobby is a free collaborative editor supporting multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other Unix-like platforms.

I performed my tests on an Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit desktop.

  1. On all client systems, install the gobby-infinote package
  2. Then on the server system, install the infinoted package
  3. Once the server is installed, either:
  • If you trust your local network and don’t want any security, launch the server using:
    infinoted --security-policy=no-tls


  • If you’d rather have encryption, TLS is available. Use:
    infinoted --create-key --create-certificate -k key.pem  -c cert.pem

The keys creation is automatic, and you can launch the server just using:

infinoted -k key.pem  -c cert.pem

You can also specify such options in ~/.config/infinoted.conf as noted on Infinoted’s wiki (which I plan to update with some of my notes). I am not sure yet what’s best to start the server automatically at system’s startup, I am told upstart should handle this. I’ll probably file a bug or investigate that further later.

Of course your server system can be a desktop, and you can run Gobby from that same system. Once installed clients should go to Accessories > Internet > Gobby Collaborative Editor (0.5).

You will also need to install avahi-daemon so the Infinote Gobby server availability is advertised through your local network and it’s shown among possible choices in your Gobby clients.

If you have setup TLS and you double click one of the available servers that use it, you will be presented a warning as you have a self-signed certificate:

The « other » Gobby in Ubuntu is a previous, stable version (package: gobby). Its server companion, sobby, is not the focus of current development efforts.

The main differences I found are:

  • Optional TLS encryption
  • Undo ability (which required rewriting the sync protocol)
  • Interface improvements
  • Ability to delete files
  • Folder hierarchy creation now possible
  • Graceful recovery & offer to save when the server « disappears » or when someone deletes a file
  • Zeroconf support – so the server « advertises » itself on a LAN, no more IP/port info needed

The current client version in Karmic is 0.4.92 but 0.4.93 is already in Lucid and 0.4.94 is looing up.

Find out more here:


Rogers Canada sucks

What can I say.

Rogers Canada really sucks. It’s really a pitty they were the first to introduce Android devices in Canada. Fortunately now other companies also offer them. I hope Rogers never sells Android devices anymore to anyone.

I just found out 85% of online users agree with me. Now I feel like I am part of a big dysfunctional family.

I am doing my best so 100% of possible Rogers customers (and others too) all know their rates, customer service and technical service suck to no end.

I am so fed up with them I won’t bother explaining why they suck. The above links should provide ample accurate, complete historical data.

Of course there’s a dedicated Rogers Sucks Facebook group.