Archives par mot-clé : Bad manners

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 Nevermind it’s only a slightly less outdated phone, I am waiting again to get the Rogers Canada Android Revolution.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


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!


Following up with my last friendly reminder

I still can’t get around the fact my post about being respectful on Planet Ubuntu got so much attention and was hi-jacked for so many different purposes.

The next Community Council is on Aug. 5, however I doubt I’ll make it to present my specific complaint as I’ll be at Linux World Expo at that same exact time, in an event I can’t move or cancel. Someone suggested having a poll across members to settle the matter. I hope we don’t have to wait another month, unless another member wants to present the issue that day – let me know. Bottom line is I’d like to have a better Planet, hoping we can agree on what that is. And if we can’t, well, so be it.

Regarding all the technical explanations I saw for not categorizing posts, I’ve posted links and instructions for WordPress, Drupal and Blogger at the Planet Ubuntu page on the wiki. Something good has to come out of this 🙂

I got a few emails from friends that found it disturbing I don’t address each and every remark that followed. I don’t feel much of what’s been said has been helpful, in fact most of the comments have made the point for me by posting public personal, hateful attacks or by focusing on out of topic posts (which in fact I don’t mind much). What else can I add to that kind of response ?

I can’t convince everyone this is not my personal quest for morality and absolute rules accross all-things-Ubuntu. If you’ve seen unacceptable behavior (however you define it) from members and never brought it to our community lead’s attention or to the Community Council, I can’t do much about that either.

As a member I think it’s my duty to bring up issues in a helpful, courteous manner and be part of the solution but if I can’t even do that anymore, then I guess there is in fact « nothing to see, so move along ».


Have you noticed ?… A friendly reminder.

I can’t help but notice some posts in Planet Ubuntu are clearly out of line with our Code of Conduct.

I hardly take offense to anything I see on the Internet anymore, however this is Planet Ubuntu, not « the Internet ». If you’re posting on your blog and you are syndicated here, it means you are an Ubuntu Member and as such you have agreed to read and go along the lines of what our Code of Conduct says. Digitally signing it and actually going to the technical steps required to make your blog part of Planet are voluntary actions taken as an Ubuntu Member, so please remember that when you post.

I don’t expect anyone to change their « WTF » and « STFU » attitude, just leave it outside this project. Setting up a category to carry only Planet Ubuntu posts may help. If this means you have to take a break from Ubuntu for a while, please do. Between « great contributor with « STFU » attitude » and « No contributor », I’d rather have « No contributor ». Surely we can work out something in the middle 🙂


Live from UDS Sevilla – Tapas, Guadalinex, Specs and Great People

It’s 3:21 AM and the hotel lobby is dead quiet. Except for the occasional maintenance and reception staff steps, there’s hardly anything I hear.

I’m really happy to be here after a crazy week ! After a long plane trip from Montreal to Madrid, Etienne and I took the metro, then the AVE high speed train to Sevilla and finally arrived to kick start UDS with a talk at Ubucon. My talk in spanish about Canonical’s support services and how they relate to the community got good comments and went very well. Shouts to my colleagues in Montreal holding the fort!

It’s a great opportunity to meet many people I only know by their IRC nicknames 🙂 Unfortunately I am still unable to remember most names and I can just hope everyone remembers to have their badges on the right side ! Seriously, the friendly atmosphere, the fantastic location and the great people just make it impossible to feel anything but good.

Sevilla is not only home to an important history and architecture, and an amazing variety of bars and cafes, with excellent food – tapas anyone ? It’s also where Guadalinex rocks. It’s an Ubuntu-derived distribution that has been deployed to several hundred schools, totaling almost 400 thousand users! I had the opportunity to visit the Junta de Andalucía where the Centro de Gestión Avanzado de Centros TIC hosts a call center fielding technical support calls, remotely controls and monitors, but also provides hardware certification for all schools and educational organizations using Guadalinex. Oh, and hackers are officially part of the organization. During a presentation one slide specifically gave credit to student hackers for helping out with this massive deployment. Several local companies and freelancers, and also other coming from the Canary Islands partner with local governments to make all this possible. They are great local guides too 🙂

I am working on several specs at UDS, and my job as a support analyst is to attend and contribute to other’s work in easy X configuration tools, Ubuntu server tools, supported packages policy, and many others.

I was particularly both nervous and happy to attend the spec about Ubuntu Planet Editorial Policy. A few minutes after it started Mark Shuttleworth joined us and just as in other sessions it just felt as if he was « just another participant ». It’s nice to see many good things happening from a bad decision on my part when I disclosed information I shouldn’t have. Explaining all the bad consequences of such disclosures on a Planet site is really difficult, but there are many. I think the recent changes and this revised policy will help a lot the Ubuntu members that are Canonical employees (and of course those who are not) have guidelines to prevent futures mishaps.

Tonight we decided to stay close to the hotel, I went out with two colleagues for a good meal and nice walk. It still feels strange to be here and be surrounded by so many people that are working directly or indirectly on almost every piece of software I am using on my computer right now. I guess it’s time to go to bed now that the Bery/Compiz hackers have decided they would stop fine tuning features and building whatever code they were working on all night since I sat here 7 hours ago 🙂 Stay tuned for another update.

Here’s a few pictures I was able to upload tonight.