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Obits

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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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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Debian
Obits

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 im-gilles@xenomai.org.

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.

Philippe.

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More on Death of Ian Murdock

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Debian
Obits

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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Security Leftovers

  • The long road to getrandom() in glibc
    The GNU C library (glibc) 2.25 release is expected to be available at the beginning of February; among the new features in this release will be a wrapper for the Linux getrandom() system call. One might well wonder why getrandom() is only appearing in this release, given that kernel support arrived with the 3.17 release in 2014 and that the glibc project is supposed to be more receptive to new features these days. A look at the history of this particular change highlights some of the reasons why getting new features into glibc is still hard.
  • Maintainers for desktop "critical infrastructure"
    That work is great, but it is limited by a number of factors: funding and the interests of its members, primarily. Few of the companies involved have much, if any, interest in the Linux desktop. Some might argue that there aren't any companies with that particular interest, though that would be disingenuous. In any case, though, desktop Linux is a community-supported endeavor, at least more so than server or cloud Linux, which likely means some things are slipping through the cracks. Kaskinen left his job in 2015 to be able to spend more time on PulseAudio (and some audio packages that he maintains for OpenEmbedded). For the last four months or so, he has been soliciting funds on Patreon. Unlike Kickstarter and other similar systems, Patreon is set up to provide ongoing funding, rather than just a chunk of money for a particular feature or project. Donors pledge a monthly amount to try to support someone's work going forward.
  • Important CentOS 7 Linux Kernel Security Patch Released, 3 Vulnerabilities Fixed
    CentOS developer and maintainer Johnny Hughes is announcing the availability of a new, important Linux kernel security update for the CentOS 7 series of operating systems. CentOS 7 is derived from the freely distributed source code of the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 operating system series, which means that it also benefits of its security patches. According to the recently published RHSA-2017:0086-1 security advisory, which was marked as important, three security vulnerabilities are patched.
  • Trump's New Cyber-Security Advisor Runs a Very, Very Insecure Website
    According to Phonos Group founder Dan Tentler, Giuliani's security company website runs a very, very old Joomla distribution, an open-source, free-to-use CMS. That's Joomla 3.1.1, released in April 2013. Since then, two major zero-days have plagued Joomla, so grave that they could allow attackers to take full control over a Joomla installation. Those are CVE-2016-9838 and CVE-2015-8562. But that's not the worse of it. The Joomla admin panel login page is also freely available, meaning anyone could access it and attempt to brute-force the admin password.
  • Reminder: Microsoft to no longer update original Windows 10 release after March 26 [Ed: Microsoft will leave even more Vista 10 back doors open, unless you install the latest doors]
    As Microsoft noted last year, the company plans to update only two Current Branch for Business versions of Windows 10 at any given time.
  • St. Louis' public library computers hacked for ransom [iophk: “Those who installed Windows on them have not been brought to justice”]
    Hackers have infected every public computer in the St. Louis Public Library system, stopping all book borrowing and cutting off internet access to those who rely on it for computers. The computer system was hit by ransomware, a particularly nasty type of computer virus that encrypts computer files. This form of attack renders computers unusable -- unless victims are willing to pay an extortion fee and obtain a key to unlock the machines.
  • Microsoft Targets Chrome Users With Windows 10 Pop-up Ad
    Microsoft really wants you to use its software products as well as running Windows 10, and that includes the Edge browser. But it can't stop you choosing to use an alternative web browser. However, if you opt to use Chrome, then expect to start seeing adverts right on your Windows desktop.
  • United Airlines Domestic Flights Grounded for 2 Hours by Computer Outage
    All of United Airlines' domestic flights were grounded for more than two hours Sunday night because of a computer outage, the Federal Aviation Administration said as scores of angry travelers sounded off on social media.
  • There’s no glory in patching
    Regular patching is essential but not without risks. Missing a critical patch is an easy way of getting your service compromised but insufficient testing is an even easier way of getting it to fall over. Here at drie we talk a lot about why trying to build your own infrastructure around AWS can be, to put it mildly, a bit of a pain. Today I’d like to go a little deeper on one issue most people encounter when going it alone in AWS and why you’re better off making it someone else’s problem. While it may seem like a mundane concern, keeping up to date with the latest patches and security fixes for your dependencies is a significant undertaking and neglecting server patches is a swift route to getting your infrastructure hacked.

All You Need To Know About Swap Partition In Linux

So somewhere while installing your favorite Linux distro you came across the word “Swap” and now you are here to know what is Swap. Well, I will tell you it in the simplest sense. Read
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6 key points about Intel's hot new Linux distro

The great thing about Linux is is that anyone possessing the wherewithal and dedication can produce a distribution to satisfy their own needs. That's also the bad thing, as it means many Linux distributions, even those with name backing, fight to distinguish themselves or to be recognized at all. Read more

Microsoft Demise (More Layoffs), UNIX Demise, Rise of GNU/Linux

  • Microsoft expected to cut more jobs
    Microsoft will announce the final 700 job cuts for FY 2016-17 next week at its quarterly earnings report. Analysts are saying that is not too bad for a company employing more than 114,000 people. Indeed, these layoffs had already been announced last June as part of a 2850 right-sizing that was to be completed by end of January 2017, presumably after the US holiday season and before the end of Microsoft’s financial year.
  • Oracle lays off more than 1,000 employees
    According to the Mercury News, Oracle is laying off approximately 450 employees in its Santa Clara hardware systems division. Reports at The Layoff, a discussion board for technology business firings, claim about 1,800 employees company-wide are being pink-slipped.
  • A Night On The Town
    We talked for an hour about teaching in the North and how I came to GNU/Linux. He could relate because he had also done work in the North and served customers there. There was absolutely no discussion of the flaws of GNU/Linux or why it’s inferior to That Other OS. We both found GNU/Linux far superior for reliable IT. Amen.