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. 

sm_ubuntu_user_logo.pngThere's a provocatively titled article by Robert Strohmeyer over at PC World that professes "The Future of Linux is Google". It waxes prophetically about how Google will eventually dominate all that is Linux and Open Source, and that "it's time for the Linux world to rally".

18
Nov

Doctors All, Car Crashes, and Insurance

sm_ubuntu_user_logo.pngA few days have passed since the big exciting release of the Karmic Koala. Reviews are mixed with people claiming it's the greatest Ubuntu release of all time, and others saying it's an utter disappointment. That's to be expected, of course. People focus on different things and some people will find themselves running a trouble free release. Others will notice weird video problems, flickering screens, and application crashes.

30
Oct

Give Me The Dang Button!

I should probably start out by letting you know that it's now official! Yes, Ubuntu/Kubuntu and all the other *buntus are out in release 9.10, the very Karmic Koala. After months of running 9.10 alphas, followed by betas, I am now running the official Karmic release. Feels good to be official for a change.

22
Oct

Penguicon, and a GoH, no less!

I am excited, and honored, to report that I've been asked to be a Guest of Honor at the 2010 Penguicon, a combination science fiction convention and Linux and open source get-together all rolled into one. This isn't as strange as it sounds. Linux, including free and open source software, tends to be quite popular with the science fiction crowd. Conversely, it isn't hard to find a Linux user who digs science fiction.

Did I mention I'm going to be Guest of Honor? :-)

20
Oct

Karmic Koala: Ubuntu Gets The "K"

Hear that clock ticking? There are only nine days left to the release of Ubuntu 9.10. It's all very exciting and that excitement was bouncing about inside my brain as I drove my son to school this morning. A little ditty was echoing in my mind along with what I might write about the big event, when suddenly it hit me. No, not another car. I was paying attention. What hit me was a fully formed vision of the future, nine days hence. Sort of like what happens on FlashForward, the series based on Robert J. Sawyer's book.

15
Oct

Cloudy Days On Planet *buntu

I'd like to begin by apologizing for the complete lack of controversy in today's post. I appreciate your understanding in this difficult time when I am finding it hard to really get upset about anything. But I digress.

07
Oct

Sex, Live, and Virtualization

Much has been made of Mark Shuttleworth's keynote speech at Linuxcon as to whether his speech was sexist, demeaning to women, and whether it was a reflection of the man. Last week, I said Mark was a cool billionaire based on my own personal definition of 'cool billionaire'.

29
Sep

New monthly column. New blog.

Today, I start with yet another online presence. I have a new blog over at Ubuntu-User.com, a companion site to the new Ubuntu User magazine by the fine people who bring you the slick, shiny LinuxPro Magazine. The second issue of the quarterly Ubuntu User magazine, in which another new column of mine appears, is on store shelves now.

24
Sep

FlashForward. Television SF Hits The Mainstream

Cover of Flash ForwardThis is a great time to be a fan of science fiction and fantasy. Tonight (September 24, 2009), on ABC television, a new series called FlashForward will be broadcast to a waiting world. The series is based on the 1999 novel of the same name by my great friend, Robert J. Sawyer. Here's the quick intro: for mysterious reasons (aren't they always), everyone in the entire world, all 7 billions human beings, suddenly black out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. During this blackout, they see visions of themselves and others, one year into the future. 

Of course, the blackout brings unimaginable disaster as planes crash, multi-car pileups occur, people die on the operating table, and accidents of every kind take place as everyone loses consciousness. So beings FlashForward, a series that ABC is promoting as the successor to the immensely popular, LOST. If you can't wait for FlashForward to air tonight, you can check out this 18 minute sneak peak, which contains just enough to get you totally and utterly hooked.

FlashForward is the latest of reasons why it's great to be a science fiction fan in today's world. When I was 9 years old (in 1969), shortly after my family moved to Ontario, I discovered a show that blew me away. That was Star Trek. I have to tell you, at 9, I had already started the march toward science and technology geek. To my young mind, the idea of spaceships and travelling to other worlds only made sense, having watched the march of the space program on television, but Star Trek was something else. This was entertainment that seem made for me! It was different, painting a future that I assumed was just a matter of time, probably somewhere around the time I would reach my parents' age.

From up here in the Great White North -- that would be Canada, eh! -- we watch with some bewilderment as president Barack Obama struggles to get his floundering health care reform bill passed. Truth is, Americans have an amazingly crappy health care system . . . okay, let me rephrase that . . . Americans have a health care system that could be really great were it not subject to the power of the Dark Side. Yes, I'm talking about good old fashioned corporate greed. That would be the kind of greed that tries to make sure every American pays through the nose for the privilege of surviving should some health issue arise, while the companies who insure them try to make sure they never have to pay out.

Meanwhile, the right wing (mostly) in the States is going nuts talking about Obama's plan to kill old people should they fall ill, with mysterious star chambers scattered hither and yon makind decisions as to how many babies will fall under the knife of Obama's evil plan. It's all very surreal.

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