2015-03-23

This and That

I haven't blogged anything in months and figured that now might be a good time to get around that. Here it goes:


Free Software


While I occasionally upgrade the packaging of the software I maintain at Debian to keep up with best practices, my activity downsizing goes on. Simply put: I never had any ambition to become a Debian Developer. My involvement has always remained pragmatic and mostly from the perspective of packaging software that I found useful. Even then, my motivation for doing that keeps on dwindling into nothingness, because key pieces of software keep on breaking, whenever someone upstream decides to reinvent the wheel.


For instance, GNOME no longer works at all on Geode chipsets and it barely works on Nouveau chipsets. This happened as soon as GNOME 3.14 was uploaded into unstable, right before the freeze started. Then again, I wouldn't jump to a conclusion that GNOME itself might be at fault, since Plymouth also stopped working on the same two video platforms at the same time. For all we know, this could be caused by some changes in the X.Org server code. Bugs were filed, additional information was provided, but no fix has taken place.


Given how Geode and Nouveau represent 80% of my hardware investment (my Intel laptop being the sole exception), it essentially means that the upcoming Debian "stable" is useless for me. Now try and remain motivated, even just as a mere Free Software end-user. At this point, I'm done.


Politics


Finland is holding national elections this April. I still have no idea who I'll vote for this time. The guy I voted for last time has become a career politician with an inflated ego and zero connection to the average Finn's aspirations and worries. Meanwhile, two friends are standing as candidates: one who is a razor-sharp fact finder and who is a proven pragmatic decision-maker, but whose values are slightly off with mine, and one whose actions come straight from the heart but whose concept of today's Finnish reality leaves a lot to be desired.


National Defence


There's been a lot of recent articles about how former hardware and locations of the Finnish defence forces and border guards have been sold, often for peanuts, to Russian interests. In some cases, we're only talking about buildings formerly used for on-site staff accommodations. In other cases, former patrol boats and navy harbours changed hands. Now, to top it all, it appears that our north-western neighbour, Norway, has sold a former submarine base to German investors who, in turn, leased it to – you guessed it – Russian interests.


Looking at Russian actions in Ukraine, I cannot help but feel great concern that strategic locations are falling into potentially dangerous hands. Just seeing the picture of a former navy harbour with a handful of patrol boats on standby, right on the Finnish coastline, half-way between Helsinki and Turku, was a sobering experience. While the whole idea of shooting at people – even invading armies – gives me the creeps, at this point, I cannot help but start pondering whether defending this country might in fact be an occupation worth training for.


Employment


It has now been 6 years since I held my last dayjob. Since then, the only thing I've found is an unpaid training in the national bureaucracy. I've also freelanced as an actor and model, but that barely brought me pocket change, if even that. Seeing my face on posters advertising a movie I participated in last year was indeed nice, getting some media attention in connection to that too, but it hasn't lead to additional gigs. As far as I can tell, this was just my Warholian 15 minutes of fame.


However, there's a larger issue at stake. Newspapers recently published an employment statistics map for Nordic countries and the truth couldn't be more bleak: while Norway and Sweden's employment figures are nearly spotless for almost every province, those of Finland are – save for a couple of mildly successful provinces – outright catastrophic. Given this and despite feeling relatively happy living in Finland and having developed a will to defend this country from an eventual Russian assault, I've come to the conclusion that I would be better off going West, with a strong preference for Norway.


Now, the main question is, doing what? 6 years later, I have strong doubts that I would be remotely considered for any high-tech job. Besides, come to think of it, I wouldn't want any new office job. Off the top of my head, my idea of a cool job that would allow me to stay physically fit would be working as a tourist guide in Lapland. However, if Norway is anything like Finland, someone probably needs a dozen of permits of all sorts (first aid certification, C or even D class driving license, college degree in tourism, etc.) that I cannot afford. What then?

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