Welcome to OmarzBlog. Here you can find information about web sites I've worked on, art and other graphics I've produced, as well as upcoming events , ICT news , commentary about Drupal and other technological issues or projects that are changing the world around us. Take a moment to give me some feedback about these issues or about this site. You can also subscribe to my blog's XML feed feed.

Drupal Community Dynamics: The Emerging Politics of a Growing Meritocracy

... now wouldn't that be a great blog post!? Actually, it would probably take a dissertation to cover the topic adequately. For now, I decided that I might as well share/re-use/build-on a comment I just submitted in the g.d.o forum.

The informal "5 à 7" format of the last Drupal meetup in Montreal was really nice. I met new people and got to follow-up on some really interesting conversations with people I already knew and respected. Personally, the discussion that stands out was related to the dynamics surrounding the current patch review and the lack of a prioritisation process. Topic such as this are, IMO, ultimately political in nature and will be increasingly unavoidable in the context of a growing community.

Talk about pathetic blogging...

... the top headline on my blog is "A new series" which was a post from... ummm... 2006. Yikes!

It isn't as if I have had nothing to blog about. I could have gone on and on about all the stuff going on at Koumbit.org or I could have written volumes about all the happenings in the Drupal world. In fact, just covering the overlap between the two would have been enough for a PhD or two.

Not to mention all the stuff going on in my personal life. Such as a beautiful baby girl... a new apartment that I've spent the last year renovating... and ummm... well the list goes on and on.

Anyway, this is a pretty useless post, but I figured something was better than nothing.Let's just hope that it doesn't end up staying at the top of the front page for the *next* two years. :-/ Hopefully, that won't be the case.

A new series...

... actually, I did these about 6 months ago :-/ But it is a new technique for me.


My blogging todo list...

As I stated in my last post it has been a rediculously long time since I have written anything on my blog. This is particularly bothersome to me given the fact that there are many important issues that I feel I could contribute to. However, if I continue to wait until I have time to write up the whole shabang before I even start, I'll simply never do it. So I figured I should at least start by throwing together a list of things I would write about if I had the time. Who knows, perhaps you'll end up telling me what I should write about first.

Updgraded Drupal again, but still haven't posted though so...

This is rediculous; I upgrade more often than I post. My last post was over five months ago! Shame on me. I really need to tell people about all the amazing stuff that has been taking place with Koumbit... cause you can't even find out about this stuff on Koumbit's website.

Well, anyway, I should at least get *something* posted so I guess I'll take a few minutes to comment about the Drupal upgrading I have carried out... and all the stuff that is broken as a result. :-/

TouchTunes.com website re-launched with Drupal

i18n module will be supported by Drupal 4.7

According to this thread it appears as though the Drupal's i18n, or "internationalisation", module will no longer require patching of the core in the upcoming 4.7 release. This is great news for the Drupal community!

While Drupal has long supported localisation (i.e. translation of the interface) it has always been a struggle to enable support for multi-lingual content. Until now, in order to have the engine keep track of the language of articles, thereby enabling functionality such as "view this article in [another language]" or "please help us translate this article into [another language]", one had to patch the core Drupal files.

Not only was this difficult (in fact, in Windows people often found themselves patching the files manually!) it resulted in incompatibility issues with other contributed modules.

I have been using Drupal since fall 2001 (for the cmaq.net) and the innaquate management of multi-lingual content has for a long time been the most prominently recognised limitation remaining with Drupal. Hopefully this will all be a thing of the past.

I can R.I.P. now. ;-)

A long overdue update....

So, apparently, I've been a little lazy with respect to my blog. It's not as though I haven't been busy though. Anyway, I'm about to go on a little vacation so I thought I'd bundle up a little news...

1) The Koumbit project is really picking up steam now even if the current website still really sucks. A whole series of contracts have come through and we have half a dozen geeks working near-fulltime at the moment. We are working on a new site too. It'll be a multilingual Drupal site using the internationalisation (i18n) module. It had been a long time since I had tried the i18n module... things are coming together nicely... except that it still requires patches to the core files. WTF!? I don't get why the Drupal community hasn't rallied around this module. In my circles, the innaquate management of multilingual content is the most prominently recognised limitation remaining with Drupal. Anyway, Koumbit is going strong and the contrats are pilling up. It is just a matter of time before we upgrade our infrastructure from a one-server to a four-server configuration and get in touch with the other principal players in the Drupal sphere to figure out how we can all collaborate more effectively.

2) We have started work on a voting module for Drupal that will enable groups to take decisions via the web and evaluate the representativity/validity of these decisions. I have been talking about this idea for years now and it is finally getting underway. While we are still at a very preliminary stage, i.e. we have almost no code to speak of, the idea has matured through a series of discussions and planning exercises. You can find out (a little) more about this project at voting.gnuvernment.org. The coolest thing is that Koumbit now has some $$ to reinvest into R&D and this project is likely to get a piece of the pie.

3) And finally I'll mention that I have been working on tons of Drupal sites even if I haven't yet listed any of the recent ones in the "websites section" of my blog. Probably the proudest moment recently was successfully upgrading a site from Drupal 4.2 to 4.6. This is pretty key as a whole bunch of my/our older clients are going to be needing this very soon... especially with the recent security holes found in Drupal and the fact that the older versions are no longer being supported.

Anyway, that's all for now... not because I don't have more news to share... I just need to get some real work done before I leave. :-)

July 3rd 2005 in Montreal: Copyright and you

July 3rd 2005 in Montreal: Copyright and you -

Copyright 2005: Sunday afternoon, July 3rd 2005. A presentation of FACIL, Koumbit and LabCMO.

About fifteen kiosks hosted by local and not so local Free Culture enthusiasts such as Debian, FreeCulture, KDE, île sans fil, Savoir Faire Linux; a press conference announcing the Semaine québécoise de l'informatique libre, a Free Software week; a Richard Stallman presentation on copyright; and finally, the answers to all your questions with Russell McOrmond (Flora), Daniel Pascot (Laval University) and Marcus Bornfreund (Ottawa University), responsible for the canadian adaptation of the Creative Commons licenses.

[Digital Copyright Canada]

A highly recommended article: "The Politics of Open Source Adoption, NGO's in the Developing World"

I highly recommend that anybody working with technology and NGOs take a moment to read this SSRC Report by Gabriella Coleman from University of Chicago.

Here is the brief...

NGO and non-profit sector interest in FOSS began to emerge roughly three years ago, in step with the maturation of a number of prominent FOSS solutions, the growth of private sector and government-sponsored adoption, and the general—and widely publicized—perception that FOSS constituted a viable, non-commercial alternative to Microsoft domination of the software market. Online literature, journalistic coverage and (limited) scholarship on the topic reveals palpable excitement about FOSS's potential—often in ways that express and pull together both pragmatic and political motivations. A number of prominent NGO-based FOSS success stories (both inside and outside the U.S.) have played a large role in widening FOSS enthusiasm in the sector.

[Tactical Tech]