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. 


Superior OpenOffice.org advice

Every few days, I take a little trip to Solveig Haugland's OpenOffice.org Training, Tips, and Ideas blog and I tell myself, "This woman is a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Somebody should really make a nice blog post to that effect and let people know there's a place they can go for superior, and free, OpenOffice.org information." Well, today, I'm finally listening to myself. Solveig is the author of several books including the OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook and she knows her OpenOffice.org stuff. (If you would like to buy a copy of the OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook, click here. Even if you don't go for the book, you should keep an eye on Solveig's blog for a regular dose of great OpenOffice.org tips. And it's all free!


Sue Me First, Microsoft!

Want to get sued by Microsoft? Then read on. At the end of this post, you'll have your opportunity. By now, you've no doubt heard the story that Microsoft claims that Linux and FOSS violates at least 235 of their patents. Once again, Microsoft innnovates through intimidation and litigation.  Does anyone really think they'll come clean as to which patents Linux supposedly violates? To quote Ballmer, "What's fair is fair." Well, fair comes with a price, even for the mega-rich like Mr. Ballmer. If he honestly means what he says, that is. In that corner wherein our wildest imagination wanders about, can we even begin to conceive that Microsoft might allow their closed source to be examined for the patents it might violate?



In May 2006, the BBC aired a documentary it called "The Codebreakers". This two-part series looked into the adoption of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and its impact on the so-called digital divide. Some nice history and interesting interviews make this worth watching. Enjoy!


Microsoft to Begin Shipping Windows Linux Ubuntu

Yes, that title made me jump back a step or two as well, but this article from the "Postcards From the Pug Bus" Website and its report from Redmond makes a strangely twisted kind of sense.

"Since Linux operating systems run on open-source code, anybody is free to adapt and use that code," said Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. "Therefore, we took the things that Linux is good at, coming up with catchy names and creating a virus-resistant operating kernel, and combined them with things that Windows is good at, like recognizing common software applications and getting a printer to work, and voila—Windows Linux Ubuntu."

To read the entire article, click here.

During my keynote at the fifth annual Free Software and Open Source Symposium at Seneca College, York University, I suggested the creation of something I called "The Linux and Open Source Marketing Board". I envisioned it as an industry umbrella organization whose purpose it is to send a consistent, positive message, about FOSS (of which Linux is the poster child) to both the public and other members of industry.

The following clip highlights that section of the talk.


Free Long Distance . . . Really!

If you are still recovering from the last time you paid your long-distance bill, Chef Marcel may be able to offer some relief. How? By using your Linux system and a Voice over IP program, of course. That just happens to be the focus of this edition of Cooking with Linux, posted for your free reading pleasure on LinuxJournal.com. In that article, I cover some great applications including one that might just be the perfect VoIP client, one you may never even have heard of, the amazing Wengophone!



Kurt Vonnegut Jr. dies

A giant in the world of literature, some of it science-fiction, has just passed away. Kurt Vonnegut Jr., whose works include Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champtions, and many others. I attended a lecture by Vonnegut a number of years ago (in Stratford, Ontario). In trying to explain what he (and other writers) did for a living, he pointed to another legend, Robertson Davies, who was sitting just a few seats from the front. How cool is that, I thought. Sitting in the same room with Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Robertson Davies.

Smoking is not what killed Vonnegut, but I remember him explaining why he believed people smoke. "It was," he said, "one of the few socially acceptable ways to commit suicide." I remember thinking how sad a statement that was, coming from such a human being. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was 84. CBC News has coverage here.


Just don't get it!

This is what happens when you decide to make a video first thing in the morning. Maybe it's the lack of sleep. Maybe it's because I have a cold. Whatever the reason, I decided to express my confusion regarding free software vs expensive, commercial software in the following video clip (and not too cleverly concealed promo for my new book). Check out the YouTube version below.


Fly The Flyer

This morning, a representative from Addison Wesley (my publisher) contacted me regarding promotion for Moving to Ubuntu Linux.

I won't bore you with everything that transpired, but she did send me a cool flyer in PDF format. Download a copy, print it out, email it, or pass it around.

Visit your local bookstore, hand them a copy, and tell them to order it.


I Need A New Notebook, Captain!

Two long years! That's how long I've put up with my current notebook, a Compaq Presario 2500. To be fair, it's has everything I wanted and it has worked (almost) perfectly with Linux since I first installed Mandrake on it (before ever allowing it to boot into Windows [ insert maniacal laugh here). In two years, it has run Mandrake (later Mandriva), SUSE, Fedora, and now Kubuntu. Nevertheless, the old notebook has been getting flaky these last few months and it's time to move on. This is why I now need your help.


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