Archives par mot-clé : Politique

Welcome to Dallas, Tejaztlán

Like many of my colleagues at Canonical and Ubuntu community members, I’ve arrived to the Ubuntu Developer Summit for Ubuntu Lucid (9.10) planning. Did you know to many Chicanos this place is not Texas, but Tejaztlán ? The word Texas comes from « Friends » or « Allies », but there’s a lot more in common with this UDS venue with Ubuntu than you’d think. Or so I’ve felt so far.


Yesterday my pre-UDS day kicked off at the Festival del Tamal that was happening right across our hotel. From Wikipedia,

« The terms Chicano and Chicana (also spelled Xicana) were originally used by, and in reference to U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. The term began to be widely used during the Chicano Movement mainly amongst Mexican Americans, especially in the movement’s peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The self-identify term Chicano is still of popular usage today. [1]« 

IMG_0473.resizedI initially thought « mhh Latinos… there must be food ». I knew tamales where a key component of Latin American food but I’ve never ever seen so many people lined up to get their piece of it! There must have been a few thousand people and I truly felt I was in Mejico, not in the U.S. as I typically imagine them and see them in the news. But as we cruised the venue I also noticed a lot of stands and kiosks offering help & services for landing immigrants, and NGOs of all types and origins. We felt the strange contrast of a huge happy family reunion and people struggling to just make it– while keeping a huge smile.

Going into my third year at Canonical in a few days, I still feel the same excitement and anticipation about spending a whole week (and then a bit more) having 100% one-to-one bandwidth with many of the essential individuals that are the driving force behind our favorite operating system – and freedom culture evangelization tool. After a few tamales and being immersed in this huge latino crowd I couldn’t help but see some parallels between the Chicano social liberation struggle and the Free Software movement.

IMG_0483.resizedI even got a TShirt from this nice gentleman who kindly explained to me why there was a Chicano Activist Convention a few months ago right here in Tejaztlán. They have these student groups called Mechas who meet regularly and discuss and further issues they face daily (and have for a few decades now). « Wow, » I thought to myself.. »this is kinda like our LoCo teams and Bug#1! ». Except on a very different social (and technical) scale, of course. Here, meet the Mecha of Tejaztlán group.

Aztlán, by the way, « is the legendary ancestral home of the Nahua peoples, one of the main cultural groups in Mesoamerica. « Aztec » is the Nahuatl word for « people from Aztlan. »[2].  So you can see a bit of where the Tejaztlán word came from.

He looked at me with a « where the hell have you been » face, but was nice anyways, as my Latino looks couldn’t get him through the notion I was completely ignorant of the Chicano movement to the extent I still thought yesterday it meant « any Mexican in the US » when in fact it means a lot more. I remembered how patient and welcoming we must be to every person that is new to Ubuntu and I felt welcome to further my knowledge and fix their Bug #1.

Going back to the hotel I thought I’d wear the Tshirt on my first day at UDS, if only to honor this land that welcomes us, and in a way, knows what we are up to this week. I am hoping to meet members of the Ubuntu Texas Team and perhaps they’ll help me better understand their very own ecosystem, and if I was wrong in any of my first impressions at my pre-UDS kickoff day, it wouldn’t be my first time. I love being in that position, and having the ensuing discussions, specially when they revolve about Freedom.

Oh, and if you have any Apple hardware, please know I will be nice to you anyways, I don’t hate Apple or you – buy me a beer and we can have that discussion too 🙂


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.


Free software Colombian legislation project gets good support at first hearing

Yesterday the « Proyecto de Ley del Software Libre » was presented at the Colombian House of Representatives for a first public hearing with great success, according to this news article on their site.

This is one of many steps to get any legislation in place, so it’s an important day in Free Software history for Colombia ! This is the second time after 1992 that such legislation is attempted, and I consider this to be great news, although the general intent of this legislation is presented as letting free software co-exist with proprietary software.

I wish I could have been there, this is truly a time for changes and progress in Colombia and I am excited about all the opportunities opening there. Apparently the session was recorded and is available on video, it will be interesting to watch it and see how this project was presented.