Archive for Jonathan

Jumping in on the deep side

// September 20th, 2010 // 6 Comments » // Free Software, Jonathan

Jumping In

I’ve had too much to blog about and not quite the time to do so! So I’ll just do a bunch of entries that combines a bunch of them.

When I was around 4 years old, I was at my cousins’ house and they were all swimming. I couldn’t swim yet but I thought something along the lines of “Hey! They’re all doing it, how hard can it be!” so I just jumped in at the deep side of the pool and tried to swim. I didn’t quite get a hang of it, and my cousins panicked and yelled that I was drowning, so my father ran to the pool and jumped in with all his clothes on to get me out of there. He said that I shouldn’t do that again. About 10 minutes later when I was dry again I did it again and managed to get it right. Since then I’ve always loved swimming. Jumping in on the deep side didn’t stop there either…

Moving to Canada

I’ve been meaning to blog about this properly for the last 3 months. A little more than 9 months ago I started working for Révolution Linux, a company that does large-scale Linux deployments around the world. I still do my work in South Africa (which has recently expanded to Uganda) and the combination of being almost-full time employed while also doing my own thing is working *great*.

Révolution Linux had a requirement that I go to Canada and work there for 2 months for integration and to get to know everyone properly. I was initially going to come over around the end of 2009, but my work permit took way longer than expected and I only ended up getting it in June. Initially, while deciding what I’ll need to take over for 2 months (that’s very long for me to be away from home), I wondered whether I shouldn’t perhaps go over for 6 months instead. Then I could sell my car, get something cheap and nasty on the other side, cancel a bunch of stuff that I wouldn’t need anymore like gym membership, etc. I started wondering what actually stops me from doing a complete move, and then I just decided on a whim to pack up everything and move.

Lots of people asked me why I’m gone, how long I’ll be gone, when I’ll be back (especially on Facebook) and I just haven’t had a time to answer everywhere properly. In short, I love Cape Town and I want to live there again. However, I’m not sure when that will be, I decided when I came over here to split my long-term future plans in 2 year periods (almost like the Ubuntu LTS releases), so I’ll be staying here in Sherbrooke for the next 2 years and decide somewhere in between what will happen next. Maybe I’ll move to Brazil then, maybe Spain, maybe back to Cape Town, we’ll see how it goes :)

So far Sherbrooke has been quite good. It’s certainly a mixed bag. It’s nice and small and quiet but it’s also very old fashioned and the food here is horrible, but I have uncapped Internet now which kind of makes up for it! The people at work though are awesome, there’s a real sense of community between a lot of people at work, we see each other a lot outside of work hours too which is quite nice, I haven’t had that much with other places I’ve worked. I also have a flatmate for the first time ever. I’ve known Stéphane for a while know since we worked together in the Ubuntu community before, and we both work for Révolution Linux so it turned out to be very convenient, so far it’s been working out great. There’s also a big bunch of other people from work living in a 2km radius around us, which is quite cool.

My New Gym Buddies

I’ve gone to gym before, but it was mostly cardio and even when I’ve done weights, I’ve done it completely wrong (or so I recently learned). Max and Simon from work signed up recently and it inspired me to do so too and go work out with them every day. It’s the first time I’ve ever had gym buddies. It helps a lot and Max is an awesome “coach” who does a good job of telling me what I do wrong and how I can improve. It’s not even been two weeks and I can already feel the results (yesterday I couldn’t even lift my arms!).

I initially thought that I’d be at least better than Simon with the weights since he’s deceptively thin, but I learned quickly that I completely suck when it comes to doing exercise properly! The great thing is that now that I can learn from their experiences I’m actually learning and improving my physical health much better and faster than before. It kind of feels dumb not always being able to keep up with them, but jumping in the deep side with this definitely helps!

French Lessons

About two weeks ago I started taking French lessons. In Québec, around 90% speak French as their first language, which means that it isn’t really optional!

Some people I’ve met there didn’t know that these classes existed and some of those people have been here for nearly two years already, so if you’re ever in Sherbrooke and need French Lessons, contact Denis Charest at 819-823-8853 for more information.

There were about 50 people there the day I signed up, we’re divided in to classes of around 6-8 people. All the other people in my class are from Columbia. Now and again when I get stuck with French I just blurt out one of the Spanish sentences I learned while in Spain and they think it’s really funny. They’ve been really nice and I already consider them my friends. Columbians are officially awesome. I think most of them did French as second language in school or something because their French is *way* better than mine. It’s kind of hard starting a class when you start being behind everyone else, but they’ve done a great job at helping me when I get stuck and it certainly helps that they have a sense of humour. It makes jumping in on the deep side just so much easier if you have a great support network, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to gain that in the short time I’ve been here!

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If I were superstitious…

// July 28th, 2010 // 6 Comments » // Free Software, Jonathan

A few weeks ago I moved to Québec, Canada. Today I bought this car from a colleague at Révolution Linux, he doesn’t need it anymore since he’s moving to Montréal. He bough it just a few months ago from another colleague who moved to France.

It doesn’t have a CD player, instead, it has a tape deck, which plays analogue magnetic tapes. They’re horribly obsolete now but this was how I listened to music way back when I was a kid. Another college that lives down the street from me has a hi-fi with a CD player AND a tape deck. I was planning to go there to write the Offspring Smash album to tape, it’s one of my favourite driving albums and I never tire from it.

All the tapes from 2 owners back was still in the car. I decided to remove them when I got home this afternoon. The *first* tape I took out happened to be this one:

I was amazed and delighted! Then I removed the next tape:

It had “High voltage” written on it, which is very close to my IRC/Identica/Twitter nickname, “highvoltage”. If I were at all superstitious, I’d take it as a very good sign that this car will serve me very well!

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// July 4th, 2010 // 5 Comments » // Free Software, Jonathan

After a long wait for my travel documents I finally arrived in Montréal, Canada on Friday afternoon!

Sherbrooke will be my new home from now on. I have lots to say but if I do that now this blog entry will never get finished, I’ll do some subsequent posts instead ;)

So far everyone I’ve met here have been super nice, I’ve met quite a few of my colleges at Revolution Linux over the weekend and tomorrow is my first day actually at the office (already had a tour yesterday :) ). It’s certainly taking some adjustment being here but I’ve already had Poutine and learned some important local words so I’m already on my way to becoming an official Québécois!

I’ve been more or less absent from everything the last two weeks, but that should also be better now. Have a good week!

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Then and Now Meme

// April 24th, 2010 // 9 Comments » // Free Software, Humour, Jonathan

Maybe it didn’t exactly start out as a meme, that doesn’t mean I can’t make it into one :)

My Very First Time

My first GNU/Linux desktop was installed in 1999 on a 486DX4-100 with 16MB RAM. It was Red Hat Linux 6 (Hedwig). I still have the CD, it has “Linux 6.0″ written on it which sounds extremely futuristic considering I’m on Linux 2.6.32 now in 2010. I don’t have any of my original screenshots, but I found this one which is a typical RHL 6.0 desktop:

Today I run Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on my desktop, laptop and netbook:

Not too much to see though since I generally keep my desktop clean. I usually use my desktop to store some files temporarily while I work on a task, afterwards they are stored somewhere safe just in case I need them again. I also keep my window list on the top panel, it saves some screen space especially since I only have 2-3 windows open on a desktop space. The space saving is also great on my netbook, since I don’t use the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on there.

Then and Now Edubuntu Edition

Earlier this week, I posted about new futures available in Edubuntu 10.04. This evening I put together a wiki page showing some of the artwork differences in Edubuntu between Karmic and Lucid. I also added some additional information that might be useful to the website and marketing teams similar to what the Ubuntu branding page has done. It’s still early work but I’ll copy and paste it in a page for Maverick and continue to improve on it there. For now I’m getting some sleep since I have a CTWUG meeting early in the morning, seems like blogging just before 2am is becoming a habit :)

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Happy 2010

// January 4th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Free Software, Jonathan, Motorbiking

Happy 2010 everyone!

I’m not sure how I’ll ever top the 2000’s, it was quite an action packed decade for me, it’s sometimes hard to believe that in 2000 I was still in school :)

I haven’t made any big goals or plans for 2010 yet, I guess I’m happy with the direction things are going at the moment,  in short I plan to:

  • Stay in Canada for a few months (probably over 2 visits)
  • Get my motorbike license (appointment is for 1 March)
  • Up my Ubuntu involvement more. Revolution Linux gives me at least a full workday a week for Ubuntu related stuff so this shouldn’t be hard :)
  • Continue getting fitter- been doing great at the gym recently and I’ve been going 3-4 times a week for the last 2 months

I feel very good about this year, hope it turns out great for everyone!

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// November 2nd, 2009 // 6 Comments » // Free Software, Jonathan

One Year of Independence


A little more than a year ago I wasn’t very happy, I managed to get myself stuck in a job I didn’t like working for a company I didn’t like in a city I didn’t like. It had compound effects that caused me more problems, I decided to take the plunge and start my own company, giving me the freedom to work on the things that I want to work where I want to and when it makes sense to do so. Yesterday it was exactly a year since I’ve done that when I founded Zanix, and looking back it’s been the single best decision I’ve ever made so far. I won’t deny that it was incredibly risky, but I don’t have any dependents or very big responsibilities (well, beseides perhaps my homeloan) so it turned out a good time in my life to do so. There’s been some rough spots especially with the accounting side and in some cases payments taking long to get to me, but I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a great experience so far, so far 2009 has been one of the best years I’ve ever had.

Revolution Linux

Révolution Linux

Over the next year I think things will be even better, over the last few months I’ve been talking to the nice people at Revolution Linux, and we worked out something that will allow me to run my current business and work for them almost-full-time. From my perspective I think it’s a best-of-both-worlds scenario, I don’t have to drop any of my projects and have a steady job working on things I really enjoy at the same time. My job title is literally “Ubuntu Developer/Analyst”, and I’ll be working on all kinds of Ubuntu and LTSP related things. Their head office is in Sherbrooke, QC which is close to where the LTSP hackfests happen so I’ll be spending lots of time up there. You don’t have to live long in Canada to be able to apply for a residency, so I might even go live there for a while, it will certainly make traveling around easier than on a South African passport. Sherbrooke is also driving distance from NYC so perhaps I might even go to Debconf next year. I’m not sure exactly how much time I’ll be spending everywhere yet, but I’ll know more myself once I stay there a few weeks after my work visa is approved.

Changes in involvement in CLUG and Ubuntu-ZA

I’m stepping down from the CLUG committee and also as co-leader of the Ubuntu-ZA loco team, since I’ll be traveling a lot next year and probably won’t be around that much, I’ll still be around virtually on the lists and on IRC and contribute here and there, but I’d rather leave the leadership roles to people who are active locally. Ubuntu-ZA elections are currently taking place on Launchpad and the CLUG AGM is taking place later this month where a new committee will be elected.

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Some Updates

// August 21st, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Education, Free Software, Jonathan

  • Had flu the last month or so, finally been getting over it this week, starting to feel human again. I thought I had H1N1, but I had it checked and it turns out it was just a nasty flu. My concentration was just gone the last month so I ended up watching a lot of old Star Trek Voyager and Third Rock From the Sun episodes.
  • Kind of bummed that the rest of the world gets to see District 9 already, and in South Africa, where the story actually plays off, we only get to see it in a week from now on the 28th of August.
  • Attended the Obstreperous Olive Geekdinner at the Pasta Factory. Staff was very friendly, food could have been better for the price. Talks were a bit too markety and “done”, as a result I’m volunteering for a more geeky talk next month. Overall it was very good and I got to catch up with a few people I haven’t seen in way too long.
  • I got my first few packages in Ubuntu, I’ve been working on LTSP cluster ( seems to have some trouble currently) packaging and 5 out of the 6 packages are currently in the archives. ltsp-cluster-pxeconfig is next, it’s in REVU at the moment, it should make it in before feature freeze next week. Thank you to Stéphane Graber who has been mentoring me on this, he’s also the upstream for LTSP Cluster and sponsoring my packages. Also thanks to Jordan, Oliver and Anthony for reviewing my packages on REVU.
  • Ubuntu-ZA is having monthly meetings now, I was kind of dazed at the last one due to flu and medicine, but it’s refreshing to see the energy and enthusiasm, we’ll have the first of our monthly reports ready within the next week or so.
  • Edubuntu is in a bit of a squeeze. The good news is that a DVD install disc and enabling universe packages for the builds have been approved, unfortunately the Edubuntu seeds need work and need to be finalised within the next week or so, and our two core-devs have had other urgent issues to tend to. If there’s a core-dev available to give some guidance and sponsorship over the next week, it would be much appreciated.
  • Some other nice things in my feed reader from the Ubuntu world:
    • 100 Paper cuts is at round 7, I think David Siegel is really cool for taking it on and sticking in there with it.
    • Daniel Holbach blogged about the Ubuntu Global Jam, some of us in CLUG considered doing a package jam for a CLUG talk, but due to time limitations and the recent threads on the CLUG lists where users are requesting more intro-level talks, I’m wondering whether we should have a kind of tips-and-tricks jam, where a bunch of us show how we use Ubuntu to be more productive.
    • Ubuntu Developer Week is kicking off in a bit more than a week, be sure to be there if you’re interested in contributing to Ubuntu!
  • botonbrown
  • Free Ubuntu Books for approved loco teams, also a copy of Art of Community. Ubuntu-ZA applied for the first 2 books that will be hosted at AIMS in Cape Town and available for anyone who wants to drop by and read it. We’ll probably keep the Art of Community book in Johannesburg somewhere under a similar arrangement.
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