In 1977, a student in my Higher School Preparatory Class bought a electronic calculator, the TI-57
. I discovered on it the fascinating art of programming and spend a whole night coding a moon landing program. It was a true revelation of the digital world that changed my life forever and got me hooked on all things computer. I thus choosed my engineering school based on the quality of its computer courses and machines, not even bothering to attend the renowed ENS Ulm oral exam because they lacked a computer system.
In 1984, after my engineering degree at "X
", I made a PHD thesis in computer science under the direction of the insanely bright Gérard Berry
(I designed and implemented LEDA, a syntaxic editor build from a special graphic toolkit I designed on top of LeLisp
) at INRIA Sophia Antipolis - still on the French Riviera -, then, as a researcher in user interface technlogy at Bull
, in the Koala team created by Vania Joloboff
, a lisp-like language Wool
, an X window manager based on it GWM
, and many "bleeding edge" things in the brillant X Window System community. At home I invested myself on the Apple IIe, then the Atari ST, and the Commodore Amiga.
I also had other revelations in the form of Unix
and the GNU
manifesto, and was fortunate to meet extremely influential people such as Bob Scheifler
and Richard Stallmann
, and many others of these finest hours of the computing ecosystem, and especially the various industry-wide consortiums such as the MIT X Consortium
. Our small Koala team that I then led, part of Bull
but hosted inside INRIA
at Sophia Antipolis
, eagerly explored the new software technologies, the web, java... while contributing personally to lots of open source projects, mostly personal tools, but also TWiki
and then Foswiki
. We instantly drew close bounds to the W3C
and did a lot of things web-related. At home, I switched to PC hardware, with Linux for programming and DOS+Windows for games.
In 2000, myself and the remaining Koala team members (along the years, a lot of members have migrated to most major computer companies) went then to work at ILOG
an innovative French software company, where I worked on graphics and business rules, before designing an innovative intranet - based on wikis - and inventing and developing the usability team after being granted my latest revelation, Usability
(I am one of the co-founders of use-age
). Alas, I progressively stopped my open source work (and the maintainance of this site) as the increase of my work time (with this new job) and my surfing time (by discovering SUP
, I was more and more on the water).
Then, in 2009, ILOG was acquired by A Software Giant
, where I went on working on collaborative intranet tools and designed and implemented a system and an innovative language for Role-based access control (RBAC
). Since 2016, I have entered a semi-retirement mode, as by moving in the world-renowned surf village of Seignosse
(close to Hossegor), I can now surf in the mornings and (remote) work in the afternoons. And I should resume my open source work in March 2021, when I will fully retire, and then surf in the morning and code open source projects in the afternoons.
I fully retire in March 2021, with all my time devoted to SUP-surfing in the morning and coding open source projects in the afternoons.
In the summer of 1975, I discovered this new sport, Windsurfing, via Maurice Lejeune who had established in Fréjus
a Waterskiing and Parasailing school, and discovered Windsurfing at its world championships in 1975 in Bandol, and started a Windsurfing school. I loved Windsurfing, especially the excitement of being among the pionneers, inventing techniques, but I still remember the day when I was pushed by a mere 1 foot wave and had my first surfing sensation. I was instantly hooked for life, and Maurice Lejeune pushed me to go to Biarritz take some surfing lessons with his pal Jo Moraïz, one of the French surfing pioneers ("The Tonton Surfeurs" - "The surfing uncles"). In the meantime I cured my addiction to waves by Windsurfing in waves, as early as the fall of 1975 as you can see in this vintage video
. I was specially found of the board shapes by Barland and Marco Copello, and sails by David Ezzy.
After learning to surf in Biarritz, I discovered there were waves in the French Riviera, and pioneered a lot of surfing spots around Fréjus, with my brother Vincent. As I could see the spot from my parents house, I rarely missed a session. I ended up surfing mostly between Fréjus and Italy, with (not enough) trips to Biarritz at first, and then only Hossegor once I discovered these magic, but elusive and fickle waves in clean waters. I also discovered Gérard Dabbadie
("Superfrog"), and ended up with a quiver made only of his boards.
I was lucky to take up snowboarding when it started. Quite fun times! But I reckon water has less appeal for me in its solid form than the liquid one...
In the mid-2000s, I was surfing and windsurfing less and less. I was not motivated enough to get out in mediocre conditions, so I was less and less physically fit and ma technique regressed. An awful vicious circle. Then, I (re-)discovered strapless windsurfing, and in 2008 bought a board that was also a SUP hybrid. I was not really attracted by mere paddling on a board instead of using a sail, so I didn't think anymore or it. But in 2009 I saw a sale on SUP paddles, so I bought one to try. My first sessions were a disaster, as the board was too short to learn on, but my curiosity was awaken. On the summer of 2009, I bought a true 9'6" SUP, and was hooked for life. SUPing acted as a wave magnifier, so I could again experience the full surfing sensations even in crappy waves. I was on the water at least 2 days a week all year round, and became fit again, feeling younger by 20 years... I haven't touched windsurfing yet again, and only prone surfed a handful of times.
My first SUP board was a bit cumbersome, though, so I bought after 3 sessions with it a SUP by the French brand Gong
of Patrice Guénolé, and knew I have found my favorite shaper again. I am now and ambassador of the Gong brand, and have owned more than 50 Gong boards!
We finally moved in 2016 to Seignosse, my little surfing paradise, for a surfing retirememnt.
I started foiling in 2017 (reports in English
), a very technical and interesting new surfing/flying experience, altough I must say I still prefer surfing. I guess foiling for me reminds me too much of Windsurfing and it has a "déjà vu" flavor.