In case you need motivation...
a slightly off-topic post for a while. I thought sharing the following thoughts could be motivating for some of you.
It may happen that, like me, you sometimes lack motivation and wonder what you are doing in this "community" around this curious idea of "free software". The software works well, but now whether it's just a hobby thing or an influential societal project is another story... Microsoft has just announced that it sold 88 million copies of Vista.
So, here is an encouraging picture that keeps me going:
The context is that this happens in Douentza in Mali. It's one of the poorest regions in the world and nine computers have recently been delivered in the region's highschool, with Ubuntu installed on them.
The two guys dressed in white there are part of a small non-profit organization registered in France called LeÃ¯dimen, and part of a team of a dozen who managed to send the computers there. To give you an idea of how much work this is: the time interval between the moment they got the PCs from a company in Paris, and the moment the PCs were delivered, is a little over one year. It's all voluntary work, organizing, installing free software, packing, shipping to the capital, Bamako, then driving very long distances to the highschool, communicating with all parties involved, etc.
Well, this is really fantastic work, and I'm happy that free software plays a part in that. So yes, talking about GNU/Linux and free software, developing it, spreading the message, it makes a difference. In this case, Windows just wouldn't have done it (because of license restrictions).
One of these two guys happens to be a close friend, a major inspiration for me; he also generously has been hosting me near Paris for the last eight months now, allowing me to devote most of my time and meager budget to GNU/Linux Matters. Living close to people who achieve that sort of thing (I suppose a look at google maps is revealing as to how big a difference things can make over there) is really encouraging.
Much more modestly I share a couple more pictures, from the last talk I gave:
They both happened at an install-party in a French university this month, where I talked (in French) about how to misunderstand free software. The first one is the audience laughing (zoom in, many happy faces!) in the middle of the talk, during which I tackle "piracy" and there is a pirate flag on the screen. There was a piano in the room, so I had a friend play a menacing tone upon display of the flag =)
The second, blurry pic is yours truly during the talk. Being French I tend to move and wave a lot when I talk ;-)
That's it! By now if you're still lacking motivation or entertainment there is nothing more I can think of, hu-huh ;-)