pre-history (Jobs vs Gates)

The former is certainly a visionary, he has started Apple, NeXT (besides other companies), and more recently has launched the iPod and iTunes, making Apple back to success. The latter has built Microsoft and he certainly knows how to make business. Both of them are very rich, and are 50 or so. While I’ve always been fascinated by Jobs and what he’s done, I’ve never liked Gates that much since the first time I heard from him in 1983. Anyway, for me both of them represent the past of the computing industry. We can love them or not, that’s not the question. They are unlikely to spark any new technology revolution but they certainly can be respected for what they have done (in good or… bad!), which is basically: bring computers and software to the masses. Will you like it or not, they recently met in a show and where asked some question between their relationship since… 1977. Interesting links also include: the full transcript and video extracts of older Jobs/Gates meetings.

Favorite PDA?

110119011023.jpgRecently, I have been looking around for a PDA. Not that I really need it: it’s been so many years I’ve kept on using paper for my agenda, or to take notes and maitain my todo list… Anyway, although I never had a PDA so far, I always loved them. So I started to wonder why I don’t a PDA yet, and while at the same time I love them!? I think I love them because it’s kind of an ideal device. It brings the concept of *personal* computer to its highest. You can bring a PDA everywhere you go, and now it’s even supposed to have the capability to communicate with the rest of the computer world. So why the hell I still don’t have a PDA!!? Actually, I think I had already two “ideal PDAs”… Once was a Toshiba Libretto 100CT that I used at the early Mandrakesoft times, because I spent much time travelling on train between my home and Mandrakesoft’s headquarters. The 100CT is a marvelous machine, very outdate though. I could run Mandrake Linux on it, and catch emails (and even browse the web a little) by connecting it to my cell-phone. It was very small so I could just put it inside my document bag. But I had to abandon it because it was too limited in performance and it’s been harder and harder to load it with an up to date Linux system. One year ago, I  was eventually seduced by a small “ultra-portable” ASUS laptop that I can still carry with me everywhere I have to go to meet people for the Ulteo project. It’s very nice, has wifi and is very fast. I couldn’t find an easy way to connect it to the net through my cell though. Which is kind a regression compared to my Tosh. But still it is not *really* what I would imagine as an ideal  Personal Digital Assistant. So I started to look around for an ideal PDA. And I discovered a strange world where I couldn’t really find what I need. First deception was that most of these PDAs are now provided with the Microsoft Windows Mobile OS, which is something I obviously can’t support. Some others are provided by other proprietary OSes but seem to rather limited as well (or did I miss something?).  I could find a few appliances that run Linux (such as a Nokia…) but as far as I understand, most of the time it is loaded with a limited version of Linux that can run their exotic processor. Of course I heard of the Yopy a few years ago, and I put great hopes in it. But it turned to be rather deceptive. Another aspect of the PDA world is that nowadays the frontier is thin between the ones that do only agenda, the ones that are a real PC, the ones that can communicate through wifi and or gsm/gprs/umts, the ones that provide a GPS and a map, the ones that can take pictures or videos. Sometimes they provide several of these options at the same time, but I’m not sure I even saw any that offers *all* the options at the same time. So I’m really stuck at a point where I couldn’t choose what fits my needs: a PDA that would be not too big (I could bring it in my coat), that would offer a small keyboard (or virtual keyboard on the screen), that would offer wifi access, that could connect to gsm/gprs(/umts) directly or through a cell-phone, that would have a camera, and that would offer me a real (preferably Linux) OS where I could run a real webbrowser (even with java plugin), a VNC viewer and a ssh client.  And that could play ogg/mp3 files of course. So if you have a PDA to recommend or share you experience with a Linux PDA, just tell me! 🙂

Linex, the success of a regional policy

Linex, a version of Linux, has been successfully developed and deployed in the educational field by the regional government of Extremadura, Spain, Europe. Discover how this project, by getting rid of the Microsoft dead end, has made Extremadura one of the most equipped region in computers and Internet access : watch this Euronews video (English) (French version).

Wines… (really not Emulators!)

vin_477.jpgIt’s quite unusual to talk about Wines on a blog which is mostly dedicated to the computer/software/IT world, but I wanted to share some of my best and most recent experiences with wines. Especially French wines indeed. I won’t talk here about Bordeaux, Grands Crus and Grands Crus Classés. You know them, we like them, and they are expensive. But besides the worldide Wine “revolution” that is making some nice (but too much formatted) wines all other the world (California, South Africa, Chile, Australia), France is entering a new area about wines, that you may not be yet aware of. In particular, several (small) wine producers – “vignerons” – often young and newly installed on a domain, have started for 10 years to focus on quality in regions that were not well considered until now. They are using a real terroir, and try to produce only quality wines from many different cepages (Sirah, Carignan, Grenache…) that make them different from the well-known Merlot, Cabernet or Sauvignon that are present in most Bordeaux wines. These quality wines that often benefit from great “terroirs”, often offer a great and complex taste experience, and most of the time quite low-cost (at least for now), which makes them *very* interesting for people who are interested in tasting wines. In particular, there are many interesting “new” wines in the Languedoc-Roussillon area, including Coteaux du Languedoc, Terrasses du Larzac, Saint-Chinian, Cabardes… But even in other “not so famous” regions, such as the Loire area, I’ve been very surprised to find some great stuff that I wouldn’t exchange for a great Bordeaux (see after: “L’enfant terrible”). I’ll try to post regularly some interesting wines I’ve found. For now, I would recommend : “Mas de la Serrane : Le Clos des Immortelles 2003” (Terrasse du Larzac), “Le Clos des Treilles : L’enfant terrible 2004” (Anjou). “Chemin des Olivettes 2002 (Roquebrun)” (Languedoc). Back to the Bordeaux area, my two preferences for a while, at an affordable price (about 12euro) have gone to “Chateau La Vieille Cure 2002″ (Fronsac) and “Chateau Musset Chevalier 2003” (Saint Emilion Grand Cru). Last is an interesting initiative “web vignerons“, which lets you participate to the whole wine process, from the grapevine to the degustation! And that’s not only a virtual activity 🙂

Classmate PC: 400USD laptop for education by Intel

Classmate PCEquipped with a Celeron M 900 MHz, 256 Mb DDR2, 1-2 Go Flash memory, Intel 915GMS video chipset, a 7″ screen (800×480), a waterproof keyboard, Wi-Fi 802.11g and Eth ports, the Classmate PC weights 1.3 Kg and costs 400USD, more than the OLPC’s XO. Anyway, this is a major initiative, espcially because Intel is behind it and because it’s targetted to the south-American education sector which should allow an easier access to computing for millions of students and teachers. What else? It’s preloaded with XP and/or Mandriva Linux and/or Metasys Classmate. The choice apparently depends on needs and region. I can just hope that the price varies depending on the installed OS.

Music author association closes down

French SACEM, the music author association in France, once again showed his overretro and brutal face by closing down is a nice music streaming service that lets you play and listen the music you choose in a streaming mode. was negociating with the SACEM for several months to find a balanced agreement but the latter choose to just ask the server hosting company to close the service. The SACEM, which is protecting only French songs, were asking for 8% of’s total income while French songs are only 16% of searches on the website and while 70% of users aren’t French. It seems that is planning to move the servers somewhere else. Good luck to French SACEM, the music author association in France, once again showed his real face by closing down is a nice music streaming service that lets you play and listen the music you choose in a streaming mode. was negociating with the SACEM for several months but the latter choose to just ask the server hosting company to close the service. The SACEM, which is protecting only French songs, were asking for 8% of income while French songs are only 16% of searches on the website and while 70% of users aren’t French. It seems that is planning to move the servers somewhere else. Good luck to Benoît Tersiguel and all the team. Be back soon!

Zooop EV electric car by Coqueline Courrèges

The “Maison de Courrèges” is well-known as a French fashion institutionZooop EV electric car that notably invented the miniskirt in the 60’s. But what is less known, is that Coqueline Courrèges, André Courrèges’s wife, has been building electric cars for years! She believes that electric cars are an efficient way to clean the atmosphaeric air. Coqueline’s latest car, that she’s degigned in her house’s garden near Paris is called the “Zooop EV”. It’s very impressive for two reasons: you haven’t seen such a car design so far, but in sci-fi movies or comics, and because of its performances: the Zooop weights only around 100kg, and with its Lithium Polymer batteries it can go for 450 kilometers, with a top speed of 180 km/h! Another interesting fact is the acceleration, similar to a sport-car, around 6s only for 0-100km/h. Surprinsingly, I haven’t found any official website dedicated to the Zooop, nor could I find more than 9 occurences of “Zooop EV” in… French (in English you’ll find about 10,000).

First post on my new blog!

In year 2000, I created my first blog [en fr], which I called an “agenda” at this time. Since then, I haven’t improved it – technically speaking – and each time I added an entry I had to deal with HTML and PHP. Times have changed! Now there are wonderful blog engines such as DotClear (but I couldn’t install it) and WordPress, which provide an easy way to add new entries, and even other features. I felt the need for a new blog for a long time, now it’s there! I’m going to update it often (since now it’s soo easy), so check it regularly if you want to get latest news from Ulteo and also my new projects on the pipe, especially an ecology-related project (non profit) that I’m setting up with my wife (and possibly other) and that is going to be available soon. Addtionally, this blog will be free speech. There is so much to be said (and to be done), that it’s time for me to talk. The world is moving fast and we need great hopes. Stay tuned. (Note that a RSS feed is now available)


About me (cliquer ici pour la version Française)

Gaël DuvalI was born in 1973 and got my Master’s degree in Computer Sciences (Systems & Networks) at University of Caen, Normandy in 1997.

In 1998 I created the popular Mandrake-Linux system which was the first Linux distribution to care about ease of use (6 years before Ubuntu actually). Then I co-founded MandrakeSoft which went public in 2001. Mandrake-Linux later became Mandriva Linux with the aquisition of Conectiva in Brazil, it was acquired in 2010 by a Russian Investment fund.

There is a chapter about the early story of Mandrake-Linux and Mandrakesoft, and how we took part of the Linux & Open Source revolution, in this excellent book “Rebel Code” by Glyn Moody (here at Amazon, here at Google Books for a preview). I was also interviewed about Mandrake more recently, at FOSSForce.

Starting from 2007, I’ve developed the Ulteo project, a multi-platform application and desktop delivery solution for corporates, with partners. The project was aquired in 2014 by AZNetwork SAS.

In 2015 I’m working on building a “Startup Factory” with partners, called “NFactory”, launching September 2016. I also have new projects linked to mobile development, Artifical Intelligence and chatbots in my spare time.

I’m generally performant at envisioning and bootstraping new projects from mostly nothing. I’m especially interested in participating in potentially disruptive projects in the software industry (AI…) and/or in the “energy field” (photovoltaics, electricity storage, electric cars).

Since 2016 I’m an Advisor for the CommonSearch: project, a radically transparent search engine for the web.

In 2017 I started /e/, a mobile phone OS and associated web-services with respect of user’s privacy. /e/OS is a fully “unGoogled” Android from the core OS to online services. This is a non-profit project, in the public interest (see the crowdfunding campaign here). Then I created Murena, the company that sells smartphones with /e/OS and the Murena private cloud.

I’m defending the idea that a “Sovereign operating system” is a non-sense in 2019. Instead, all the “digital chain” must be considered, and Open Source is key in those matters. I developed these ideas in a chapter writen for a Springer Book: “Reflections on Operating Systems” (ISBN 978-3-319-97226-8).

Recent press review:

  • a video discussion at the 2022 Nextcloud Conference

  • my presentation of /e/OS at the 2022 Nextcloud Conference

  • article about /e/OS at ZDNet
  • a video interview at Coder Stories

Contact: Please feel free to contact me by email at gaelduval at indidea dot org, if you want to discuss something or just say hello! 🙂

Find me on:

– LinkedIn:

– Twitter:

– Facebook (pro):

– And on Wikipedia (yes!)

Personal interests:

– Music (listening, playing guitar, piano & drums, recording/producing) & Arts
– Wine (tasting, producing)
– Physics/Astronomy…
– many others actually 🙂

Official pictures of Gaël Duval ! (images licence: CC BY-SA 4.0)gael_duval_officiel

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