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Obits

RIP Robin "Roblimo" Miller

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Obits

Linux Journal has learned fellow journalist and long-time voice of the Linux community Robin "Roblimo" Miller has passed away. Miller was perhaps best known by the community for his roll as Editor in Chief of Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned Slashdot, SourceForge.net, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, and ThinkGeek from 2000 to 2008. He went on to write and do video interviews for FOSS Force, penned articles for several publications, and authored three books, The Online Rules of Successful Companies, Point & Click Linux!, and Point & Click OpenOffice.org, all published by Prentice Hall.

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Remembering Tom Wallis, The System Administrator That Made The World Better

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Debian
Obits

So it was a shock to get an email this week that Tom had married for the first time at age 54, and passed away four days later due to a boating accident while on his honeymoon.

Tom was a man with a big laugh and an even bigger heart. When I started a Linux Users Group (LUG) on campus, there was Tom – helping to arrange a place to meet, Internet access when we needed it, and gave his evenings to simply be present and a supporter.

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Debian: Staszek Wawrykiewicz (TeX Live Team) Dies and Other DD News

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Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil Remembered

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Bassel Khartabil, In Memoriam

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  • Report: Syrian-Palestinian Open Internet Advocate Bassel Khartabil Has Been Executed

    Bassel Khartabil, a Syrian-Palestinian open-source developer credited with helping to bring a free internet to Syria, was confirmed dead today by Creative Commons, the open internet non-profit Khartabil volunteered with. He was 36.

  • Bassel Khartabil, In Memoriam

    Bassel Khartabil, the Syrian open source developer, blogger, entrepreneur, hackerspace founder, and free culture advocate, has been executed by the Syrian authorities. Noura Ghazi Safadi, his wife, received confirmation of her husband's death by the Assad-led Syrian government yesterday. The execution took place in secret in November 2015. It has taken the Syrian government nearly two years to officially communicate that fact to his friends and family.

    Bassel had been imprisoned by the Syrian authorities since his abduction from the streets of Damascus on March 15, 2012. He was originally taken, interrogated and tortured in secret in a facility controlled by the country's General Intelligence Directorate. After a worldwide campaign by international human rights groups, together with Bassel's many colleagues in the open Internet and free culture communities, he was moved to Adra's civilian prison, from where he was able to communicate with his family and friends.

Statement on the death of CC friend and colleague Bassel Khartabil

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We are deeply saddened and completely outraged to learn today that our friend and colleague Bassel Khartabil has been executed by the Syrian regime.

Bassel was Creative Commons’ Syrian project lead, an open source software programmer, teacher, Wikipedia contributor, and free culture advocate. He was also a devoted son and husband, and a great friend to many people in the open knowledge community around the world. The projects and communities he helped to build live on across the globe, and will remain a tribute to his leadership.

In March of 2012, Bassel was taken from the street in Damascus amid a wave of military arrests. He was jailed for several years, during which time he was allowed to infrequently communicate with family members. Then, in October 2015, he was abruptly transferred to an undisclosed location. At that time, all communications between Bassel and the outside world ceased. The Creative Commons board publicly called for Bassel’s immediate release, and the MIT Media Lab offered Bassel a research position in its Center for Civic Media. His family and friends prayed for his safe return, and are heartbroken today to learn the awful and terrifying news of his execution.

Over the past several years, a variety of human rights groups called for Bassel’s release. Amnesty International launched a campaign through its Urgent Action network that encouraged the public to write letters to Syrian authorities and urge them to grant Bassel access to his family, a lawyer, and medical attention. The US State Department singled him out on International Human Rights Day in 2015 as a “prisoner of conscience.”

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Goodbye To Bob Chassell

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It's fortunately more common now in Free Software communities today to properly value contributions from non-developers. Historically, though, contributions from developers were often overvalued and contributions from others grossly undervalued. One person trailblazed as (likely) the earliest non-developer contributor to software freedom. His name was Robert J. Chassell — called Bob by his friends and colleagues. Over the weekend, our community lost Bob after a long battle with a degenerative illness.

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[The founder of Linux Malta] Ramon Casha, chairman of the humanist association, passes away

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GNU
Linux
Obits

Tributes are flowing in this evening for Ramon Casha, chairman of the Malta Humanist Society, civil rights campaigner and a frequent commenter on Times of Malta, who has passed away.

Michael Briguglio, former chairman of Alternattiva wrote in a Facebook post: Rest in peace Ramon Casha: honest, free-thinking and non-partisan civil society campaigner within Malta Humanist Association and so many causes.

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Remembering a friend: Matthew Williams

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One of the things about working in open source software communities is that you are always moving forward. It’s hard not to get a sense of momentum and progress when it seems you are constantly striving to improve and build on the work you and others have done before.

But sometimes you have to pause to reflect, because sometimes there is loss.

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Farewell to Rob Collins

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Obits

We would like to share with you the sad news, that Rob Collins has passed away earlier this month, on November 2nd, after a short but intense illness.

Many of you may know Rob from the sponsored massage sessions he regularly ran at EuroPython in recent years and which he continued to develop, taking them from a single man setup (single threaded process) to a group of people setup by giving workshops (multiprocessing) and later on by passing on his skills to more leaders (removing the GIL) to spread wellness and kindness throughout our conference series.

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More in Tux Machines

A Fresh Look At The PGO Performance With GCC 8

It's been a while since we last ran some GCC PGO benchmarks, the Profile Guided Optimizations or feedback-directed optimization technique that makes use of profiling data at run-time to improve performance of re-compiled binaries. Here are some fresh benchmarks of GCC PGO impact on a Xeon Scalable server while using the newly-released GCC 8.2 release candidate. With it being a while since our last roundabout with GCC PGO benchmarking and also a reader recently inquiring about PTS PGO testing, I ran some new tests. For those not familiar with PGO, it basically involves first compiling the code with the relevant PGO/profiling flags, running the workload under test to generate the profiling data, and then re-compiling the software while feeding that profiling data into the compiler so it can make better optimization choices. This profile-guided feedback can be quite beneficial to the compiler for making wiser code generation choices based upon that run-time data. Firefox, Chrome, and other popular software packages have been relying upon PGO-optimized release binaries for a while to offer greater performance. Read more Also: A 3.3x Performance Improvement For FLAC Audio Encoding On POWER 64-bit

Graphics: Intel/DRM-Next, ATI/AMD, and NVIDIA

  • Intel Squeezes Final Batch Of Linux 4.19 DRM Changes, Lands Icelake Display Compression
    Last week Intel sent in a "final" batch of i915 DRM driver feature updates to DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel cycle but it turns out there is one more batch of changes now focused on landing. Intel open-source graphics driver developer Rodrigo Vivi submitted their final pull request of new material for Linux 4.19.
  • 2018 Brings A New Linux X.Org Display Driver Update For The ATI RAGE 128
    Last month I wrote about a new attempt at improving the ATI RAGE 128 X.Org driver... Yes, for the for the Rage graphics cards from the late 90's in the days of AGP and PCI where core/memory clock speeds were commonly in the double digits... If you are a hobbyist fond of these vintage graphics cards and are still running with these OpenGL 1.1~1.2 capable GPUs, there is a new X.Org driver update.
  • AMDGPU Gets More Features For Linux 4.19 Kernel
    On top of AMDGPU improvements/features already staged for Linux 4.19, the AMD folks on Thursday sent in their seemingly last set of feature updates to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window. There is certainly a lot of new DRM material queuing for Linux 4.19: if you are behind on your Phoronix reading, there will be a DRM recap next week or so on Phoronix with the cutoff for new DRM-Next material hitting its end for the upcoming 4.19 window. Thursday's Radeon/AMDGPU update just adds to this big list of changes.
  • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Plumbs New Extensions, Lands A Number Of Fixes
    The AMD folks maintaining their official Vulkan driver code have done their common end-of-week code dump into the open-source AMDVLK Linux Vulkan driver repository across the PAL, XGL, LLVM, and SPVGEN code-bases.
  • NVIDIA 396.45 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Direct-To-Display & Multi-Threaded EGL Apps
    The NVIDIA Unix developers have released the 396.45 binary display driver today with just two listed bug-fixes. The NVIDIA 396.45 Linux driver has improved recovery for Vulkan direct-to-display applications (such as VR compositors or other use-cases where the Vulkan application is taking directly control of the display output) when the application hangs or crashes. This is good news in case of a problematic Linux VR experience that the display should be restored more gracefully.
  • NVIDIA pushed out two new Linux drivers recently with 396.45 and 390.77
    NVIDIA are pushing forward with improving their Linux driver in many areas, with two driver series seeing updated in the past week. The first is the 390.77 driver, part of their "long-lived branch release".

How Linux Makes Your Life Easier

There is a popular myth that Linux is complicated and hard to use by a non-techie. While there are distros and advanced Linux functionality that do require tech skills, this doesn’t mean Linux is hard to use. On the contrary, there are lots of things in the philosophy and functionality of Linux that make a user’s life easier. Read more

Containers: IBM, Yan Vugenfirer and HPC

  • IBM attempts to graft virtual machine security onto container flexibility
    IBM researchers have developed a new flavor of software container in an effort to create code that's more secure than Docker and similar shared kernel container systems. Docker and its ilk are considered less secure than VMs because the compromise of a shared kernel puts all associated containers at risk. With VMs, the kernel is separate from the host kernel, which reduces the risk of collateral damage.
  • Using Linux Containers to Manage Embedded Build Environments
    Linux container technology has been proposed by companies like Resin.io as a simpler and more secure way to deploy embedded devices. And, Daynix Computing has developed an open source framework called Rebuild that uses Linux containers in the build management process of embedded IoT development. At the 2017 Open Source Summit, Daynix “virtualization expert” Yan Vugenfirer gave a presentation on Rebuild called “How Linux Containers can Help to Manage Development Environments for IoT and Embedded Systems.” Vugenfirer started by reminding the audience of the frustrations of embedded development, especially when working with large, complex projects. “You’re dealing with different toolchains, SDKs, and compilers all with different dependencies,” he said. “It gets more complicated if you need to update packages, or change SDKs, or run a codebase over several devices. The code may compile on your machine, but there may be problems in the build server or in the CI (continuous integration) server.”
  • Building Containers with HPC Container Maker
    Containers package entire workflows, including software, libraries, and even data, into a single file. The container can then be run on any compatible hardware that can run the container type, regardless of the underlying operating system. Containers are finding increased utility in the worlds of scientific computing, deep learning, HPC, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, because they are reproducible, portable (mobility of compute), user friendly (admins don’t have to install everything), and simple, and they isolate resources, reduce complexity (reduction in dependencies), and make it easy to distribute the application and dependencies. Using containers, you have virtually everything you need in a single file, including a base operating system (OS), the application or workflow (multiple applications), and all of the dependencies. Sometimes the data is also included in the container, although it is not strictly necessary because you can mount filesystems with the data from the container.