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Obits

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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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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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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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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More in Tux Machines

Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Distro to Get a New Look with Debonaire Desktop Theme

Q4OS is a small GNU/Linux distribution based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux operating system and built around the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE). It's explicitly designed to make the Microsoft Windows to Linux transition accessible and more straightforward as possible for anyone. Dubbed Debonaire, the new desktop theme uses dark-ish elements for the window titlebar and panel. Somehow it resembles the look and feels of the acclaimed Arc GTK+ theme, and it makes the Q4OS operating system more modern than the standard look offered by the Trinity Desktop Environment. Read more

today's leftovers

Software: GIMP, VLC, Cryptsetup, Caprine, KWin and NetworkManager

  • GIMP 2.9.8 Open-Source Image Editor Released with On-Canvas Gradient Editing
    GIMP 2.9.8, a development version towards the major GIMP 2.10 release, was announced by developer Alexandre Prokoudine for all supported platforms, including Linux, Mac, and Windows.
  • GIMP 2.9.8 Released
    Newly released GIMP 2.9.8 introduces on-canvas gradient editing and various enhancements while focusing on bugfixing and stability. For a complete list of changes please see NEWS.
  • It Looks Like VLC 3.0 Will Finally Be Released Soon
    VLC 3.0 is something we've been looking forward to for years and it's looking like that big multimedia player update could be released very soon. Thanks to Phoronix reader Fran for pointing out that VLC 3.0 release candidates have begun to not much attention. VLC 3.0 RC1 was tagged at the end of November and then on Tuesday marked VLC 3.0 RC2 being tagged, but without any official release announcements.
  • cryptsetup 2.0.0
  • Cryptsetup 2.0 Released With LUKS2 Format Support
    A new major release is available of Cryptsetup, the user-space utility for dealing with the DMCrypt kernel module for setting up encrypted disk volumes. Cryptsetup 2.0.0 is notable in that it introduces support for the new on-disk LUKS2 format but still retaining support for LUKS(1). The LUKS2 format is security hardened to a greater extent, more extensible than LUKS, supports in-place upgrading from LUKS, and other changes.
  • Caprine – An Unofficial Elegant Facebook Messenger Desktop App
    There is no doubt Facebook is one of the most popular and dynamic social network platform in the modern Internet era. It has revolutionized technology, social networking, and the future of how we live and interact. With Facebook, We can connect, communicate with one another, instantly share our memories, photos, files and even money to anyone, anywhere in the world. Even though Facebook has its own official messenger, some tech enthusiasts and developers are developing alternative and feature-rich apps to communicate with your buddies. The one we are going to discuss today is Caprine. It is a free, elegant, open source, and unofficial Facebook messenger desktop app built with Electron framework.
  • KWin On Wayland Without X11 Support Can Startup So Fast It Causes Problems
    It turns out that if firing up KDE's KWin Wayland compositor without XWayland support, it can start up so fast that it causes problems. Without XWayland for providing legacy X11 support to KDE Wayland clients, the KWin compositor fires up so fast that it can cause a crash in their Wayland integration as KWin's internal connection isn't even established... Yep, Wayland compositors are much leaner and cleaner than the aging X Server code-base that dates back 30+ years, granted most of the XWayland code is much newer than that.
  • NetworkManager Picks Up Support For Intel's IWD WiFi Daemon & Meson Build System
    NetworkManager now has support for Intel's lean "IWD" WiFi daemon. IWD is a lightweight daemon for managing WiFi devices via a D-Bus interface and has been in development since 2013 (but was only made public in 2016) and just depends upon GCC / Glibc / ELL (Embedded Linux Library).

Linux Foundation: Servers, Kubernetes and OpenContrail

  • Many cloud-native hands try to make light work of Kubernetes
    The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, home of the Kubernetes open-source community, grew wildly this year. It welcomed membership from industry giants like Amazon Web Services Inc. and broke attendance records at last week’s KubeCon + CloudNativeCon conference in Austin, Texas. This is all happy news for Kubernetes — the favored platform for orchestrating containers (a virtualized method for running distributed applications). The technology needs all the untangling, simplifying fingers it can get. This is also why most in the community are happy to tamp down their competitive instincts to chip away at common difficulties. “You kind of have to,” said Michelle Noorali (pictured), senior software engineer at Microsoft and co-chair of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America & Europe 2017. “These problems are really hard.”
  • Leveraging NFV and SDN for network slicing
    Network slicing is poised to play a pivotal role in the enablement of 5G. The technology allows operators to run multiple virtual networks on top of a single, physical infrastructure. With 5G commercialization set for 2020, many are wondering to what extend network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) can help move network slicing forward.
  • Juniper moves OpenContrail's SDN codebase to Linux Foundation
    Juniper Networks has announced its intent to move the codebase for OpenContrail, an open-source network virtualisation platform for the cloud, to the Linux Foundation. OpenContrail provides both software-defined networking (SDN) and security features and has been deployed by various organisations, including cloud providers, telecom operators and enterprises to simplify operational complexities and automate workload management across diverse cloud environments.
  • Juniper moves OpenContrail’s codebase to Linux Foundation, advances cloud approach
    Juniper Networks plans to move the codebase for its OpenContrail open-source network virtualization platform for the cloud to the Linux Foundation, broadening its efforts to drive more software innovations into the broader IT and service provider community. The vendor is hardly a novice in developing open source platforms. In 2013, Juniper released its Contrail products as open sourced and built a user and developer community around the project. To drive its next growth phase, Juniper expanded the project’s governance, creating an even more open, community-led effort.
  • 3 Essential Questions to Ask at Your Next Tech Interview
    The annual Open Source Jobs Report from Dice and The Linux Foundation reveals a lot about prospects for open source professionals and hiring activity in the year ahead. In this year’s report, 86 percent of tech professionals said that knowing open source has advanced their careers. Yet what happens with all that experience when it comes time for advancing within their own organization or applying for a new roles elsewhere?