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Pieter Alexander Hintjens: 3 December 1962 – 4 October 2016

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After a long and painful illness, a battle with cancer over the last six years, my brother has died in Brussels, aged only 53.

My love for him has always been the adoring, muted kind that looked up to the light he shone, that basked in his enthusiasm and tried, and failed, to keep up with the thousand-and-one ideas he gave voice and form to. Many of his passions were beyond my comprehension but very real, nevertheless. As a computer programmer, writer of internet protocols and founder of on-line communities, his interests went way over my head. As an author, latterly, we connected and I was able to collaborate with him on one of his books – The Psychopath Code – an involvement for which I am profoundly grateful: Not only has this particular book helped me to navigate a few tricky moments in my own life, but the understanding we shared was like coming home.

I can’t begin to do justice to my brother’s legacy as a professional innovator, thinker, and networker. Pieter was one of these rare people totally unafraid to take chances, to think not just outside the box but into the next universe. How he maintained his enthusiasm and energy, where his inspiration came from, I shall not know in this lifetime.

His death last Tuesday has opened up a hole in my life, a tear in the fabric of my normal. Poignantly – and painfully – it is only as his legacy becomes clearer that I notice the loss of his quiet, determined contribution in my life. Always, in the background, he encouraged me, supporting my modest hopes for an ordinary life: my ambitions to study, to write, to marry and have a child. In all these attempts he was unwaveringly supportive, while seeking so little from me in return. Of course, elder brothers are looked up to, and often expected to take the lead. But lately, in these last few years, while he faced pain and uncertainty – about which he has written so candidly on his blog – while he battled fear and the shadows of disappointment with his trademark wry humour, he faced these challenges fearlessly and with a fiery determination that is frankly awe-inspiring.

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ZeroMQ founder Pieter Hintjens dies

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Pieter Hintjens, Belgian software developer and past president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), gave much of his time and effort to the open-source community.

He did so even up until the day he planned for his own death, which was today.

Hintjens, who chose euthanasia today after dealing with terminal cancer, was a writer and a programmer who spent much of his life building large software systems and online communities, which he described as “Living Systems.”

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Debian Project mourns the loss of Kristoffer H. Rose

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Kristoffer was a Debian contributor from the very early days of the project, and the upstream author of several packages that are still in the Debian archive nowadays, such as the LaTeX package Xy-pic and FlexML. On his return to the project after several years' absence, many of us had the pleasure of meeting Kristoffer during DebConf15 in Heidelberg.

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Remembering Vernon Adams

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Open-source font developer Vernon Adams has passed away in California at the age of 49. [Vernon Adams] In 2014, Adams was injured in an automobile collision, sustaining serious trauma from which he never fully recovered. Perhaps best known within the Linux community as the creator of KDE's user-interface font Oxygen, Adams created a total of 51 font families published through Google Fonts, all under open licenses. He was also active in a number of related free-software projects, including FontForge, Metapolator, and the Open Font Library. In 2012, he co-authored the user's guide for FontForge as part of Google's Summer of Code Documentation Camp, which we reported on at that time.

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In Memory of Jonathan “avenj” Portnoy

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The Gentoo project mourns the loss of Jonathan Portnoy, better known amongst us as Jon, or avenj.

Jon was an active member of the International Gentoo community, almost since its founding in 1999. He was still active until his last day.

His passing has struck us deeply and with disbelief. We all remember him as a vivid and enjoyable person, easy to reach out to and energetic in all his endeavors.

On behalf of the entire Gentoo Community, all over the world, we would like to convey our deepest sympathy for his family and friends. As per his wishes, the Gentoo Foundation has made a donation in his memory to the Perl Foundation.

Please join the community in remembering Jon on our forums.

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Gilles Chanteperdrix, 1975-2016

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It is with deep sorrow that I have to inform you that Gilles Chanteperdrix has passed away on Sunday 7th August. He now rests in the cemetery of Baillargues, in Southern France.

You can extend your sympathy to Gilles’s family by sending a message to

Gilles will forever be remembered as a true-hearted man, a brilliant mind always scratching beneath the surface, looking for elegance in the driest topics, never jaded from such accomplishment.

According to Paul Valéry, “death is a trick played by the inconceivable on the conceivable”. Gilles’s absence is inconceivable to me, I can only assume that for once, he just got rest from tirelessly helping all of us.

Repose en paix mon ami, l’éclat de ta mémoire dissipera ces heures sombres.


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Mourning Hans-Jürgen Koch

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Thomas Gleixner wrote the following to us: The Linux Kernel community is mourning the passing of Hans-Jürgen Koch. Hans was a free-software enthusiast and an active contributor. He worked on Radio Data System support both in kernel and user space and was the main author and maintainer of the UIO subsystem and contributed in various ways to the Linux kernel as a professional and hobbyist. He authored a UIO book, gave countless talks at various open-source conferences, and served as a member of the Linuxtag program committee.

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Remembering Thomas Wood

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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend, Thomas Wood. Commonly known as ‘thos’ on irc, Thomas was a long time contributor to the GNOME Art project, where he curated GTK+ Themes, backgrounds, login screens, and icons. In later years, he also worked on the control center and maintained the GNOME Backgrounds module. Outside of GNOME, he worked on the Moblin platform, which enabled various technologies key to GNOME 3, like GNOME Shell and Clutter.

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RIP Ian Murdock

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  • Ian Murdock has died
  • In Memoriam: Ian Murdock

    It is with great sadness that we inform you that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night. This is a tragic loss for his family, for the Docker community, and the broader open source world; we all mourn his passing. To Ian’s children, family and loved ones, we offer our full support and deepest sympathies.

  • Debian founder and Docker employee Ian Murdock has died at 42

    Docker today announced that Ian Murdock, a member of the startup’s technical staff and a former Sun and Salesforce employee known for founding the Debian Linux operating system, has passed away. He was 42.

    A cause of death was not provided in the blog post announcing the news. Docker declined to comment. The San Francisco Police Department did not immediately have information on Murdock’s cause of death.

    Murdock’s Twitter account posted several tweets (PDF) on Monday that suggested he had been involved in an incident involving police, and one tweet said that he would commit suicide that night. Some people speculated that his account had been hacked. It has since been deleted.

  • APT 1.1.8 to 1.1.10 – going “faster”

    APT 1.1.10 also switches the cache’s hash function to the DJB hash function and increases the default hash table sizes to the smallest prime larger than 15000, namely 15013. This reduces the average bucket size from 6.5 to 4.5. We might increase this further in the future.

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Linux 4.8.4

I'm announcing the release of the 4.8.4 kernel. And yeah, sorry about the quicker releases, I'll be away tomorrow and as they seem to have passed all of the normal testing, I figured it would be better to get them out earlier instead of later. And I like releasing stuff on this date every year... All users of the 4.8 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 4.8.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-4.8.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser: Read more Also: Linux 4.7.10 Linux 4.4.27

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Security News

  • Free tool protects PCs from master boot record attacks [Ed: UEFI has repeatedly been found to be both a detriment to security and enabler of Microsoft lock-in]
    Cisco's Talos team has developed an open-source tool that can protect the master boot record of Windows computers from modification by ransomware and other malicious attacks. The tool, called MBRFilter, functions as a signed system driver and puts the disk's sector 0 into a read-only state. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions and its source code has been published on GitHub. The master boot record (MBR) consists of executable code that's stored in the first sector (sector 0) of a hard disk drive and launches the operating system's boot loader. The MBR also contains information about the disk's partitions and their file systems. Since the MBR code is executed before the OS itself, it can be abused by malware programs to increase their persistence and gain a head start before antivirus programs. Malware programs that infect the MBR to hide from antivirus programs have historically been known as bootkits -- boot-level rootkits. Microsoft attempted to solve the bootkit problem by implementing cryptographic verification of the bootloader in Windows 8 and later. This feature is known as Secure Boot and is based on the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) -- the modern BIOS.
  • DDOS Attack On Internet Infrastructure
    I hope somebody's paying attention. There's been another big DDOS attack, this time against the infrastructure of the Internet. It began at 7:10 a.m. EDT today against Dyn, a major DNS host, and was brought under control at 9:36 a.m. According to Gizmodo, which was the first to report the story, at least 40 sites were made unreachable to users on the US East Coast. Many of the sites affected are among the most trafficed on the web, and included CNN, Twitter, PayPal, Pinterest and Reddit to name a few. The developer community was also touched, as GitHub was also made unreachable. This event comes on the heels of a record breaking 620 Gbps DDOS attack about a month ago that brought down security expert Brian Krebs' website, KrebsonSecurity. In that attack, Krebs determined the attack had been launched by botnets that primarily utilized compromised IoT devices, and was seen by some as ushering in a new era of Internet security woes.
  • This Is Why Half the Internet Shut Down Today [Update: It’s Getting Worse]
    Twitter, Spotify and Reddit, and a huge swath of other websites were down or screwed up this morning. This was happening as hackers unleashed a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the servers of Dyn, a major DNS host. It’s probably safe to assume that the two situations are related.
  • Major DNS provider Dyn hit with DDoS attack
    Attacks against DNS provider Dyn continued into Friday afternoon. Shortly before noon, the company said it began "monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack" against its Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. The attack may also have impacted Managed DNS advanced service "with possible delays in monitoring."
  • What We Know About Friday’s Massive East Coast Internet Outage
    Friday morning is prime time for some casual news reading, tweeting, and general Internet browsing, but you may have had some trouble accessing your usual sites and services this morning and throughout the day, from Spotify and Reddit to the New York Times and even good ol’ For that, you can thank a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that took down a big chunk of the Internet for most of the Eastern seaboard. This morning’s attack started around 7 am ET and was aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. That first bout was resolved after about two hours; a second attack began just before noon. Dyn reported a third wave of attacks a little after 4 pm ET. In all cases, traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers throughout the US—primarily on the East Coast but later on the opposite end of the country as well—was stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system. Late in the day, Dyn described the events as a “very sophisticated and complex attack.” Still ongoing, the situation is a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it.
  • Either IoT will be secure or the internet will be crippled forever
    First things first a disclaimer. I neither like nor trust the National Security Agency (NSA). I believe them to be mainly engaged in economic spying for the corporate American empire. Glenn Greenwald has clearly proven that in his book No Place to Hide. At the NSA, profit and power come first and I have no fucking clue as to how high they prioritize national security. Having said that, the NSA should hack the Internet of (insecure) Things (IoT) to death. I know Homeland Security and the FBI are investigating where the DDoS of doomsday proportions is coming from and the commentariat is already screaming RUSSIA! But it is really no secret what is enabling this clusterfuck. It’s the Mirai botnet. If you buy a “smart camera” from the Chinese company Hangzhou XiongMai Technologies and do not change the default password, it will be part of a botnet five minutes after you connect it to the internet. We were promised a future where we would have flying cars but we’re living in a future where camera’s, light-bulbs, doorbells and fridges can get you in serious trouble because your home appliances are breaking the law.
  • IoT at the Network Edge
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  • Canonical now offers live kernel patching for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users
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  • ​The Dirty Cow Linux bug: A silly name for a serious problem
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