Linux and open source has a friend in the “Great White North,” and we don’t mean one of the McKenzie brothers. As an MP, this friend works to bring awareness of open source to Ottawa as he serves the interests of the people of his district in Quebec.
The FOSS Force Video Viewing Room
You didn’t know we had one? We do! Sort of. David Graham is the Member of Parliament for Laurentides—Labelle, which is in Quebec. He’s also a cofounder of the OFTC (Open and Free Technology) IRC network and for many years used the online handle “CDLU,” for “Confused Debian Linux User.” Confused or not, he got his start in politics running for (and becoming) Secretary of Software in the Public Interest, a non-profit group that helps develop and spread free and open source software, most notably Debian Linux. David was also the newsfeed editor for Linux.com for eight years (Disclosure: I was his boss). He’s also a licensed pilot, a rail fan and the father of a delightful little girl. Hey! I’d vote for him. Wouldn’t you? Assuming we lived in his district, that is.
One Member of Parliament can’t suddenly switch the Canadian government to open source software. David can, however, serve in the Digital Caucus (which he co-founded) and help raise awareness of FOSS in Canadian government circles. Rest assured, he does just that, but it’s only one of many priorities he has while representing his constituents. So does his presence in elected office do anything for Linux? Again, he raises awareness, but doesn’t directly negotiate IT contracts, so his influence is limited. But when he’s Prime Minister — which is no more unlikely today than some of us once considered the idea of David actually winning a seat in the House of Commons — things might suddenly change up there in the Northland, eh?
Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.