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Obits

RIP, Gerv Markham

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Moz/FF
Obits

  • Remembering Gerv Markham

    Gerv Markham, a friend and mentor to many in the Mozilla community, passed away last night surrounded by his family.

    Gerv worked at Mozilla for many years working in a variety of capacities including being a lead developer of Bugzilla and most recently working on special projects under the Mozilla Chairwoman.

    I had the pleasure of working with Gerv in the Thunderbird community and most recently on the MOSS Grants Committee as one of the inaugural members. Between these two areas, I often sought Gerv’s mentoring and advice, as he always had wisdom to share.

  • Daniel Glazman: Gerv, oh Gerv Sad

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

Filed under
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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Debian
Obits

Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil Remembered

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Obits

Bassel Khartabil, In Memoriam

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Obits
  • 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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Obits

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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Obits

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

Filed under
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.

Read more

Remembering a friend: Matthew Williams

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Obits

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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OSS Leftovers

  • Uber Open Sources Its Large Scale Metrics Platform M3
    Uber's engineering team released its metrics platform M3, which it has been using internally for some years, as open source. The platform was built to replace its Graphite based system, and provides cluster management, aggregation, collection, storage management, a distributed time series database (TSDB) and a query engine with its own query language M3QL. [...] M3's query engine provides a single global view of all metrics without cross region replication. Metrics are written to local regional M3DB instances and replication is local to a region. Queries go to both the regional local instances as well as to coordinators in remote regions where metrics are stored. The results are aggregated locally, and future work is planned wherein  any query aggregation would happen at the remote coordinators.
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Dev.to
    This week’s highlighted project comes courtesy of a community of developers who hope that their codebase will be used to foster communities like theirs, focused on education and collaboration among peers of any skill level. Dev.to’s codebase is open-source as of last week week and the community-building platform’s developers think that further community involvement in development will lead to great things. [...] Halpern made sure to clarify in the post that this release is not simply a library for creating the types of community-driven communication platforms that dev.to embodies, but the for-profit company’s entire codebase. “However, that is a perfectly valid use case in the future,” Halpern wrote in a post leading up to the release. “If you are interested in contributing such that we can eventually help people stand up their own version of this platform for their own business or society, we’ll definitely welcome that input.” The platform is a Ruby on Rails app with a Preact front-end. The company is hard at work on native apps for iOS and Android but say its technology choices are fluid.
  • RLS 1.0 release candidate
    The current version of the Rust Language Server (RLS), 0.130.5, is the first 1.0 release candidate. It is available on nightly and beta channels, and from the 3rd September will be available with stable Rust. 1.0 for the RLS is a somewhat arbitrary milestone. We think the RLS can handle most small and medium size projects (notable, it doesn't work with Rust itself, but that is large and has a very complex build system), and we think it is release quality. However there are certainly limitations and many planned improvements. It would be really useful if you could help us test the release candidate! Please report any crashes, or projects where the RLS gives no information or any bugs where it gives incorrect information.
  • Mozilla brings back Stylish Add-on to Firefox after it was Banned Last Year
    The Stylish add-on, with which you can give websites their very own style, is back for Firefox. This improvement has been welcomed by many users. The history of this Add-on is quite complicated as it was supposedly twice removed and added back before it was removed again. Now it has been added back as reported by Vess (@VessOnSecurity). [...] The add-on Stylish has been brought back in the Mozilla’s add-on storehouse. What users should know: This expansion was criticized some time prior as a user data collector and has been prohibited and banned a year back from Mozilla’s Add-on store. Owing to its notoriety of collecting data of users’ website visits in a way which makes it convenient to reveal users’ identity to third parties, Google and Mozilla banned it last year. It is indeed surprising as to why Mozilla decided to bring it back to its browser after it was criticized for compromising users’ identity.
  • LibreOffice 6.1: A week in stats
    On August 8, we announced LibreOffice 6.1, a new version of the suite with many great features and updates created by our worldwide community. Let’s look at some stats from the last week!
  • Graphos 0.7 released
    Graphos 0.7 has been released a couple of days ago!
  • Tesla open sources its security software, Hollywood goes open source, and more news
  • How Changa Bell is taking an ‘open source’ approach to grow the Black Male Yoga Intiative
  • As Academic Publishers Fight And Subvert Open Access, Preprints Offer An Alternative Approach For Sharing Knowledge Widely
    That's certainly true, but is easy to remedy. Academics who plan to publish a preprint could offer a copy of the paper to the group of trusted journalists under embargo -- just as they would with traditional papers. One sentence describing why it would be worth reading is all that is required by way of introduction. To the extent that the system works for today's published papers, it will also work for preprints. Some authors may publish without giving journalists time to check with other experts, but that's also true for current papers. Similarly, some journalists may hanker after full press releases that spoon-feed them the results, but if they can't be bothered working it out for themselves, or contacting the researchers and asking for an explanation, they probably wouldn't write a very good article anyway. The other concern relates to the quality of preprints. One of the key differences between a preprint and a paper published in a journal is that the latter usually goes through the process of "peer review", whereby fellow academics read and critique it. But it is widely agreed that the peer review process has serious flaws, as many have pointed out for years -- and as Sheldon himself admits. Indeed, as defenders note, preprints allow far more scrutiny to be applied than with traditional peer review, because they are open for all to read and spot mistakes. There are some new and interesting projects to formalize this kind of open review. Sheldon rightly has particular concerns about papers on public health matters, where lives might be put at risk by erroneous or misleading results. But major preprint sites like bioRxiv (for biology) and the upcoming medRxiv (for medicine and health sciences) are already trying to reduce that problem by actively screening preprints before they are posted.
  • MUMPS Masochism part I: Line and Block Scope

    It's sort of an open secret that I sometimes use ANSI M, better known as MUMPS. It was developed in the 60's, and it definitely still looks like something from the 60's. But it's 1,000 times uglier than anything from that decade. I've made plenty of people, from software testers at work to other developers on IRC, recoil in horror from showing them samples of even relatively mundane code like a simple "Hello, World!".

  • OpenSSH Username Enumeration
     

    We realized that without this patch, a remote attacker can easily test whether a certain user exists or not (username enumeration) on a target OpenSSH server

Microsoft Openwashing

  • Microsoft open sources new framework for Windows driver development [Ed: openwashing Microsoft Windows by pretending that when you write proprietary drivers for a proprietary O/S that does DRM, spies on users etc. you actually do something "open"]
  • Microsoft to Open Source Its Network Replication Software [Ed: Microsoft is openwashing some more of its entirely proprietary 'offerings', a hallmark of a company of liars. Come to us! The traps are free, the cages will be "open".]
  • GitHub goes off the Rails as Microsoft closes in [Ed: Microsoft will take GitHub off the rail like it did Skype and LinkedIn (totally lost)]
    GitHub's platform group is about 155 people at the moment and growing, said Lambert. And much of the group's focus is on breaking GitHub apart. GitHub is about a third of the way through an architectural change that began last year. The company is moving away from Ruby on Rails toward a more heterogeneous, composable infrastructure. Ruby still has a place at GitHub – Lambert referred to the company as a Ruby shop, but he said there's more Go, Java and even some Haskell being deployed for services. The goal, he explained, is to make GitHub's internal capabilities accessible to integrators and partners. "Our monolith is starting to break up and we're starting to abstract things into services," said Lambert. "The platform we've chosen to put them on is Kubernetes."

Android Leftovers

Benchmarks Of Btrfs RAID On Four Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSDs

With the MSI MEG X399 CREATION that we received as part of the launch package for the Threadripper 2950X and Threadripper 2990WX it includes the XPANDER-AERO that provides 4-way M.2 NVMe SSD slots on a PCI Express x16 card. The XPANDER-AERO is actively cooled and could be passed off as a small form factor graphics card upon a very cursory examination. With this card I've been running tests on four Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSDs in RAID to offer stellar Linux I/O performance. Here are some initial benchmarks using Btrfs. Read more