The mini-Debconf Lyon 2015, in addition to being a great meeting to meet both friendly and new faces, has been the occasion for me to update and enrich the GNOME for system administrators course.

For those who couldn’t be here, as well as those who were here and disappointed to see me cut through the last third for timing reasons, here are the slides:
18 November 2014 @ 01:00 pm
Disclaimer: I’m not used to writing personal stuff on Debian channels. However, there is nothing new here for those who know me from other public channels.

Yesterday, I received the weirdest email from well-known troll MikeeUSA. He thought I shared his views of a horrible world full of bloodthirsty feminists using systemd in their quest for domination over poor white male heterosexuals. The most nauseating paragraph was probably the one where he showed signs of the mentality of a pedocriminal.

At first, I shrugged it off and sent him an email explaining I didn’t want anything with his stinky white male supremacist theories, assorted with a bit of taunting. But after discovering all that stuff was actually sent to public mailing lists, I took the time for a second look and started a bit of introspection.

MikeeUSA thought I was a white male supremacist because of the so-called SmellyWerewolf incident, 6 years ago.
Oh boy, people change in six years. Upon re-reading that, I had trouble admitting I was the one to write it. Memory is selective, and with time, you tend not to remember some gruesome details, especially the ones that conflict most with your moral values.

I can assure every reader that the only people I intended to mock then were those who mistook Debian mailing lists for advertising channels; but I understand now that my message must have caused pain to a lot more people than that. So, it may come late, but let me take this opportunity to offer my sincerest apologies to anyone I may have hurt at that time.

It may seem strange for someone with deeply-rooted values of equality to have written that. To have considered that it was okay to stereotype people. And I think I found this okay because to me, those people were given equal rights, and were therefore equal. But the fight for equality is not over when everyone is given the same rights. Not until they are given the same opportunities to exert those rights. Which does not happen when they live in a society that likes to fit them in little archetypal peg holes, never giving you the chance to question where those stereotypes come from.

For me, that chance came from an unusual direction: the fight against prostitution. This goes way back for me. Since when I was a teenager, I have always been ticked off at the idea of nonconsensual sex that somehow evades criminal responsibility because of money compensation. I never understood why it wasn’t considered as rape. Yet it sounded weird that a male heterosexual would hold such opinions; after all, male heterosexuals should go to prostitutes as a kind of social ritual, right?

It was only three years ago that an organization of men against prostitution was founded in France. Not only did I find out that I was not alone with my progressive ideas, I was given the opportunity to exchange with many men and women who had studied prostitution: its effects on victims, its relationship to rape culture and more generally to the place men and women hold in society. Because eventually, it all boils down to little peg holes in which we expect people to fit: the virile man or the faggot, the whore or the mother. For me, it was liberating. I could finally get rid of the discomfort of being a white male heterosexual that didn’t enter the little peg holes that were made for me.

And now, after Sweden 15 years ago, a new group of countries are finally adopting laws to criminalize the act of paying for sex. Including France. That’s too bad for MikeeUSA, but this country is no longer the eldorado for white male supremacists. And I’m proud that our lobbying made a contribution, however small, to that change.
13 November 2014 @ 09:45 am
15 February 2013 @ 05:11 pm

Following the DPL game call for players, here are my nominations for the fantastic four (in alphabetical order) :

  1. Luca Falavigna
  2. Tollef Fog Heen
  3. Yves-Alexis Perez
  4. Christian Perrier

These are four randomly selected people among those who share an understanding of the Debian community, a sense of leadership, and the ability to drive people forward with solutions.

07 February 2013 @ 12:33 pm
22 January 2013 @ 03:33 pm

GNOME 3.4 for Debian wheezy is shaping up quite well. A handful of bugs remain to be fixed, but we are now in a polishing phase, as expected given the freeze status.

With upstream introducing heavy changes in new versions, it is time to think of what will happen with GNOME when we introduce version 3.8 in unstable. Namely, there are two categories of changes that have a heavy impact on Debian:

  • several components now heavily relying on systemd for components that interact with low-level parts of the system,
  • the fallback code (a.k.a “GNOME Classic”) being removed, causing problems for people without 3D support – for x86 this shouldn’t be a problem thanks to llvmpipe, but i386 and amd64 are not the only architectures we want to support.

Upstream is not hostile to people working on making their modules compatible with these setups (non-3D, non-systemd). However, there is a limit to what the Debian GNOME team can do, and people have to make choices.

The consensus in the Debian GNOME team is to focus the extra amount of work we can provide to the fallback code. We are already in touch with other distributions and people who are interested in keeping the differences with upstream GNOME minimal. Our common goal is to be able to provide a GNOME installation for all Linux systems, with or without 3D.

However, none of us is willing to spend time on getting GNOME to work without systemd. We will not work actively against it either, but some components will certainly recommend systemd, and the functionality with other init systems will be degraded. So if people want to keep GNOME fully working on non-Linux systems, now is the time to start hacking on the missing pieces for this to work. For the time being, it does not look infeasible – although we don’t know what jessie will be made of.

30 November 2012 @ 12:48 pm

Have you ever wondered one of those?

  • How does this plumbing behind GNOME actually work?
  • What are all these processes on my system here for?
  • How can I manage user permissions for system actions?
  • How can I override or force user configurations?
  • How do I configure GDM?
  • What can I do with NetworkManager?

For those who weren’t at Mini-DebConf Paris 2012 last week, let me share here again the slides:

Large deployment of GNOME from the administrator’s perspective

These questions, and many others, will find the beginning of an answer here. At the very least, I hope to show people leads on where to find relevant information for their needs about administrating GNOME systems.

22 November 2012 @ 11:51 am

Today I tried to translate a German sentence posted by mistake on an English IRC channel.

For that, I used Google translation.

I think there is a message here about what country KDE comes from…


So, there is some history of organisations doing a poor job at managing security bugs.

We saw the “This is not really a security hole” jokes just to avoid having bad statistics in the front page. We saw the “OMFG you must update to the latest version RIGHT NOW and no I’m not telling why” panic.

We still frequently see security fixes hidden in unrelated public commits, just to make them harder to backport for distributors.

But really, there is absolutely no match for that. Kudos for setting a new standard in the worse way of dealing with security issues, guys.

Update: one of the developers has started insulting a pair of professional IT security experts who came and tried to educate him. Awesome reading, don’t forget the popcorn.

03 November 2011 @ 08:05 pm

When George Papandreou announced its will to submit the European “help“ program to the approbation of the Greek people, I don’t know whether he wanted to scare people, but man, he really achieved something. From Wall Street to the Bundestag, through the Élysée Palace, they are all in a state of advanced panic. There’s a joke that’s been circulating since: for next Hallowe’en, disguise yourself as a referendum.

Yes, these guys are afraid. Afraid of the people. They are afraid because it is now clear that their interests are not the same as the interests of the people. And what do you do when you are afraid? Well, you find yourself some way out, often by lying.

And indeed, Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy have been repeating over and over something that has been then repeated over and over by most so-called journalists: that Greeks can only choose between two endings:

  1. they pay their debts to banks and rich people, and stay in the Euro zone;
  2. they don’t pay their debts to banks and rich people, and find themselves another currency.

That’s it: Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy are outrageous liars.

There is another option for Greek people:

3. they don’t pay their debts to banks and rich people, and they stay in the Euro zone.
It’s as simple as that: nothing in European treaties can force a country to leave the Euro zone. And nothing in these treaties can force a country to honor their bonds. Greece is a sovereign state and, as such, can choose not to honor its sovereign debt. And choose to stay in the Euro zone: why would they want to go out? What does it have to do with the currency those bonds have been emitted in? If California were to cease payment of its public debt (something not likely to happen at all, hmm?), would it have to abandon the Dollar?

But here is a thing that has been forbidden for a long time in European treaties: for a country to help financially another one to pay its debts. This rule was introduced by Jacques Delors (a man who knows what being European means) precisely in order to avoid the contagion we are facing currently because of stupid “help” plans all across Europe. Yes: the whole idea of Merkozy’s grand plan to “save Euro” while “helping Greece” (a weird kind of help, starving people, really) is illegal. So in addition to being liars, Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy are delinquents.

So let Greece cease payment of its debt. A few banks will sink: so what? This will create less unemployment than letting our whole economy sink. European States will guarantee citizens’ savings up to 30 k€, that’s one of the other clever European rules (some countries guarantee more). Other people, rich people only, will lose their savings. Will that prevent you from sleeping? Not me. But that could prevent from sleeping a number of friends of Mrs Merkel’s and Mr Sarkozy’s.

And wouldn’t that be a good reason for lying and violating European treaties?