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Merci, Dr. Xhaard

May 8, 2007 Leave a comment

There’s a saying among surfers — especially the older ones — in my home area of Santa Cruz, California (I don’t actually live in Santa Cruz, I live in the mountains in Santa Cruz County, hence the fact that I don’t end every sentence with “. . . dude.”). The saying is simple: “Old Guys Rule.” In the surf-mad area of the Central California coast, it just means that the kids can have the latest equipment — short boards and the like — but it’s the “old guys” — the old style longboarders who tend to be a generation older than the kids (at least) — that are still “top dogs” on the gnarliest of Santa Cruz’s waves.

What, you’re asking, does this have to do with Free/Open Source Software? Well, duuuuude (er, sorry), the Inquirer’s Fernando Cassia wrote an article last week about Dr. Michel Xhaard, who single-handedly wrote 235 USB webcam drivers for GNU/Linux on his own.

You would imagine that one who sits down and writes 235 drivers of any kind, let alone USB webcams, would be a younger man taking time from the rigors of Half-Life in order to complete this herculean task. If the recent Novell survey is any indication, one would expect most developers would be young males (despite the fact this this isn’t necessarily true).

But that’s where Xhaard, a French physician, breaks the mold. At nearly 60, this driver guru throws out all preconceived notions that developers have to be young guys.

In other words, “Old Guys Rule!”

Merci and salut, Dr. Xhaard and I lift a glass of Chardonnay to toast your achievement.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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