Welcome! You've arrived at award-winning author Marcel Gagné's personal Website. I am the author of the "Moving to Linux" series of books, a regular columnist for several tech magazines, a public speaker, radio and television personality, and a well known voice in the Linux and open source universe. I created the famous (perhaps infamous) Cooking With Linux which ran for ten years in the Linux Journal. I'm also a published science fiction author and editor, a onetime Editor in Chief, a pilot, a former Top 40 disc jockey, and I fold a mean origami T-Rex.  This site is home to my insights, opinions, gripes, brags, tech stuff, and whatever else comes to mind when I have the time or the inclination to publish it. 

20
Aug

Canadian Muslims Oppose Ground Zero Mosque

Unless you have been off-planet recently, you know that there are plans afoot to build a mosque in New York City, two blocks from Ground Zero. This would be no simple place of prayer but a $100 million, 13 storey structure that would be nothing short of impressive. Many Americans have, understandably, voiced their outrage. Much of it is reasoned if emotional in nature, but there are also predictable rants coming from the hard right and, of course, FOX News. Other Americans, meanwhile, have voiced tolerance and even support. U.S.

13
Aug

Too Much For Oracle?

It has been an exciting day for Oracle. First, they sued Google. Then, the killed OpenSolaris. 

They say that there's no such thing as bad press, but perhaps even Oracle's mighty databases can't handle this much excitement.

It is Friday the 13th, after all

13
Aug

Waiting For Facebook Alternatives

Remember back a few months ago? The Internet was abuzz with talk about the evils of Facebook, many of which were true and several that still are. Major celebrities made public pronouncements that they were leaving Facebook. People published information on how to delete your Facebook account. Radio and television spots had experts talking about these evils and society's blind trust in all things networked. The social networking world was failing us. Our privacy had been sold out.

03
Jun

The Death of the Desktop (a video panel discussion)

In the last couple of years, I find myself returning time and again to discussions about cloud computing, what it means, where it's going, and what the implications are for both business and end users. Meanwhile, many of you reading this have happily upgraded your Ubuntu Linux systems to release 10.04 (aka the Lucid Lynx) complete with what some argue is the best Linux desktop ever.

25
May

Happy Towel Day!

DON'T PANIC!

Today, being the 25th of May, is also Towel Day, a mostly harmless holiday in which fans of the late great author, Douglas Adams, carry a towel to recognize the man who brought us the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and introduced us to Vogon Poetry (described in the Hitchhiker's Guide as "the third worst poetry in the universe").

towelday_2010.jpg

25
May

Bad Stuff About Facebook, But Not What You Think

I'm going to start this Ubuntu-User blog entry with an apology combined with a bit of an explanation. I'm going to talk about Facebook.

17
May

Copyrights, Copywrongs, and Copyconfusion

Last week, I received a call from Erin Anderssen, a writer and reporter from the Globe and Mail, Canada's great national newspaper. She was directed to me by a colleague of mine who suggested that I might just be the sort of person she wanted to talk to. Specifically, she wanted tech-savvy parents so she could find out how they explain copyright violations to their children. 

My children are a little young yet (not quite 3 and not quite 6) so that discussion is a few years away. Nevertheless, as those of you who know me will not find surprising, I did have some opinions on the subject.  So for the next 20 or 30 minutes, we talked about this very issue. I probably asked Erin more questions than she asked me because I'm like that. If you ask for my opinion, I'm infinitely curious as to what your opinion on the same matter might be. I may not agree with you, but I'm still curious. So we talked . . . and on Sunday, the article was published. under the title, "Illegal downloading: How do you explain it to the kids?

I am sure you can appreciate that what you get from the Globe and Mail article is a handful of words from yours truly, hardly enough to make any sense of what I might actually believe when it comes to this subject. Other than, perhaps, my belief that the issue is far from cut and dry. 

27
Apr

Right Brain and Left Brain. What is Brain?

The whole left brain, right brain thing came up again today. I was asked whether I was predominantly right or left brained; my friend suggested I was a right-brain kind of guy. Sadly, and I blame lack of sleep for this, I could not remember what one side or the other signified. So I decided to Google "right brain left brain quiz" and take the first thing that popped up in the Firefox search bar. The results of my impromptu test are below. Those of you who know me, and those of you who don't but think you do, are free to make your own judgement. [ insert appropriate smiley here ]

COSSFEST-logo_medium.pngOkay, I might be exaggerating about the whole betrayal and murder thing. But this story is about FOSS in Calgary. And it is about COSSFEST 2010. We did, however, kill a few beer. Does that count? And we did have a panel about the death of somebody . . . or something. Muah hah hah!

Sorry, I'll come in again . . .

This past weekend (April 9th and 10th), I had the great pleasure to attend COSSFEST 2010 in Calgary. COSSFEST is the Calgary Open Source Systems Festival, a gathering of people whose passion is free and open source software, coming together to share information, exchange ideas, and otherwise talk about all things FOSS. Oh, and drink beer. And eat, too. Yeah, right . . . there's that karaoke thing we'd rather not talk about.

For me, this was a sort of Calgary Linuxfest v 2.0 since I gave the keynote at the first every COSSFEST back in 2006, then called (you guessed it) Calgary Linuxfest. This year's COSSFEST featured some great speakers including Aaron Seigo, Adam McDaniel, Adam Tindale & Jordan Tate, Brad "Renderman" Haines, Bruce Byfield, Dafydd Crosby, Joshua Schroeder, Kenton Smith, Martin Glazer, Richard P.W. Stobbe, Richard Weait, Stefan Steiniger, and Timothy Griffin.

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