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Obits

RIP, Gerv Markham

Filed under
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.

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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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More in Tux Machines

Keeping patient data safe with open source tools

Healthcare is experiencing a revolution. In a tightly regulated and ancient industry, the use of free and open source software make it uniquely positioned to see a great deal of progress. I work at a scrappy healthcare startup where cost savings are a top priority. Our primary challenge is how to safely and efficiently manage personally identifying information (PII), like names, addresses, insurance information, etc., and personal health information (PHI), like the reason for a recent clinical visit, under the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA, which became mandatory in the United States in 2003. Read more

Security Leftovers

  • Indian Bank Hit in $13.5M Cyberheist After FBI ATM Cashout Warning

    But according to Indian news outlet Dailypionneer.com, there was a second attack carried out on August 13, when the Cosmos Bank hackers transferred nearly $2 million to the account of ALM Trading Limited at Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong.

  • How to Protect Yourself Against a SIM Swap Attack

    A sobering caveat: If a skilled SIM hijacker targets you, there’s realistically not much you can do to stop them, says Allison Nixon, threat research at security firm Flashpoint. “In most of the cases that we’ve seen, a sufficiently determined attacker can take over someone’s online footprint,” she says.

    That’s because ultimately, the machinations behind SIM swaps are largely out of your control. [...]

  • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 110 - Review of Black Hat, Defcon, and the effect of security policies
    Josh and Kurt talk about Black Hat and Defcon and how unexciting they have become. What happened with hotels at Defcon, and more importantly how many security policies have 2nd and 3rd level effects we often can't foresee. We end with important information about pizza, bananas, and can openers.

YunoHost 3.0.0.1

At this point I have only set up YunoHost, created a few user accounts and installed a handful of applications. While I may play with it further, my main focus going into this trial was how well the framework of the distribution functions. That is: is it easy to install, how hard is it for new users to add services and accounts, and is it straight forward to keep the system up to date? Basically, I wanted to know whether I could give this distribution to someone who wanted to set up home-based network services for the first time and expect them to be able to use it. Based on my experiences so far with YunoHost, my answer is: probably. The distribution does make it pretty easy to create user accounts and install web-based services. In fact, YunoHost does this quite well. The admin panel is very streamlined, uncluttered and easy to navigate and getting something like a game of Hextris or a media streaming service installed is about as easy as a few mouse clicks. Managing the firewall, monitoring the system and creating backups are nearly as easy. The administrator still needs to figure out how to get backup archives off the disk to another location for safe keeping, but the bulk of the work in backing up and restoring the operating system is done for us. Where I feel the distribution runs into trouble is mostly little details, and a few general concepts. For example, asking the user to create an "admin" password but leaving the root password as the default is both likely to confuse people and leave a permanent security hole on the servers of most inexperienced hobbyist administrators. On the topic of accounts, it makes sense, from a security standpoint, to separate web accounts from system accounts. But, this means there may be some confusion as to why, once an account has been created, it cannot log into the system. Little concepts like this may throw new users and I don't feel these issues are well addressed by the documentation. The first time through, the system installer failed during the partitioning section. It worked the second time though with the same settings, so I'm not sure if this is a semi-persistent bug or a one-time error with my system. On the whole, YunoHost performs well. It's light on resources, it offers a lot of common network services home administrators will probably want and it is pretty easy to run and maintain. There are a few little wrinkles in the experience, but in general I found the distribution to be straight forward to use. For people looking to set up a home server, this is probably a good platform on which to build. Read more

Software: GIMP, Password Safe, and Podcasts

  • GIMP 2.10.6 Introduces Vertical Text, New Filters, and GIMP Extension Public Repo
    A brand-new point release for popular photo editing software GIMP has been released today, bringing GIMP to version 2.10.6 – this update doesn’t bring a whole load of significant features, but there are some great improvements and new functionalities. For starters, GIMP 2.10.6 finally introduces support for vertical text (top to bottom), which has been a highly requested feature particularly for East-Asian writing systems. Thus, users can now set text in mixed orientation (as is typical in East-Asian vertical writing) or upright orientation (more common for Western vertical writing), with right-to-left, as well as left-to-right columns.
  • Password Safe is a KeePass-Compatible Password Manager for Linux
    Password Safe is an open-source KeePass-compatible password manager for Linux, designed specifically for use on the GNOME desktop.
  • Linux users finally get a decent podcasts app called, well, ‘Podcasts’
    Podcasts are a hugely popular form of “infotainment” these days, with almost any and every niche you can think of catered for with a show or a segment. If you’re not enjoying the wealth of podcasts out there, you’re really missing out. Podcasts provide you with the experience of a radio show, covering a wide range of topics ranging from gospel to science fiction to music and every thing in between. There are so many ways to enjoy your podcst. On mobile, popular apps such as PocketCast offer users a one-stop-shop for all the podcasts you can listen to. Many music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify offer dedicated sections on Podcasts.