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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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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

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.


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More on Death of Ian Murdock

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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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Remembering Thomas Wood

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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend, Thomas Wood. Commonly known as ‘thos’ on irc, Thomas was a long time contributor to the GNOME Art project, where he curated GTK+ Themes, backgrounds, login screens, and icons. In later years, he also worked on the control center and maintained the GNOME Backgrounds module. Outside of GNOME, he worked on the Moblin platform, which enabled various technologies key to GNOME 3, like GNOME Shell and Clutter.

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RIP Ian Murdock

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  • Ian Murdock has died
  • In Memoriam: Ian Murdock

    It is with great sadness that we inform you that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night. This is a tragic loss for his family, for the Docker community, and the broader open source world; we all mourn his passing. To Ian’s children, family and loved ones, we offer our full support and deepest sympathies.

  • Debian founder and Docker employee Ian Murdock has died at 42

    Docker today announced that Ian Murdock, a member of the startup’s technical staff and a former Sun and Salesforce employee known for founding the Debian Linux operating system, has passed away. He was 42.

    A cause of death was not provided in the blog post announcing the news. Docker declined to comment. The San Francisco Police Department did not immediately have information on Murdock’s cause of death.

    Murdock’s Twitter account posted several tweets (PDF) on Monday that suggested he had been involved in an incident involving police, and one tweet said that he would commit suicide that night. Some people speculated that his account had been hacked. It has since been deleted.

  • APT 1.1.8 to 1.1.10 – going “faster”

    APT 1.1.10 also switches the cache’s hash function to the DJB hash function and increases the default hash table sizes to the smallest prime larger than 15000, namely 15013. This reduces the average bucket size from 6.5 to 4.5. We might increase this further in the future.

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today's leftovers

  • Acer updates Chromebook 15 with 12-hour battery life -- $199 exclusively at Walmart
    Chromebooks are not for everyone, but for many home users, it is absolute perfection. If you live in the web browser -- as many people do nowadays -- laptops running Google's Linux-based Chrome OS are a godsend because they are maintenance free. No need for confusing OS upgrades or anti-virus software. It just works, and it works well. Since they can now run Android apps too, they could become a serious threat to Microsoft and Windows 10. One of the most attractive aspects of Chromebooks is price -- they are often quite affordable. Today, Acer refreshes its 15.6 inch Chromebook 15 with a mind-boggling 12 hours of battery life. Best of all? It starts at $199. Yes, this model will get Android app support in a future update too.
  • Of Life, Linux and Karma Angels
    Angel filed appeal after appeal only to be denied on every attempt. Texas is an "at will" employment state so being terminated for cause can mean anything. Over the next few weeks, Angel became more and more fearful of losing her house, as she had just purchased it a year before. On top of that, her HP desktop had taken a nose dive into severe brokeness and that made it extra difficult for her to look for work. I put together a decent desktop for her and installed it that day, and was a Linux computer. Angel didn't have even the slightest problem with the new machine, and she wasn't particularly good at using one. So, let's put another slash in the falsehood that Linux is too hard for the everyday user. Most of them anyway. YMMV. To her glee, the OS picked up and configured her Epson all in one without her lifting a finger to do so. She almost clapped for happiness, stating that in Windows, installing that printer had been a nightmare, even with the included driver CD. And just to pinpoint the time frame for you, it was the summer of 2006.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to launch on Linux in November, Mac version delayed
    Feral Entertainment has announced that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be launching on Linux in November. Feral Interactive is currently working on the Linux port of the game. In September the game development studio announced that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided would make its way to two additional platforms: Linux and Mac. The Linux version of the game will most likely make use of OpenGL or Vulkan to power its graphics engine.
  • Mad Max: It Came From The Desert to Linux
    First of all, let me get one thing straight out of the way, so you know where I come from. I did not like the recent Mad Max movie. Like, not at all. Not that I mind the post apocalyptic theme. I used to like the older Mad Max’s just fine (probably the first one the best). The new one…meh. The Max character had virtually no back story (as thin as a sheet of paper) and he was just acting like a crazy person from beginning to end. The story’s premise was boring and just an excuse for endless and not so impressive action scenes. So there was nothing redeeming it. I know this is not the mainstream opinion of the movie (everyone apparently thought it was the best thing ever since sliced bread) so I can only attribute this phenomenon to either mass hysteria or simply a clear decrease in movie expectations. The Force Awakens‘ success, despite being a mediocre movie and certainly underwhelming compared to the original trilogy, certainly echoes the same trend. I guess you cannot beat nostalgia. Just tag a Millennium Falcon on and you get a free ride no matter how incoherent the story or the characters are.
  • Budgie Remix 16.10 Overview
  • I Switched To OpenSuse Tumbleweed :)
  • 50-day Moving Average Of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) At $76.67
  • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) – Is this large market cap stock undervalued?
  • Fedora 25 new features, Perl removed from Build Root
    Fedora is the fast-paced bleeding-edge distribution of Red Hat. Fedora 25 is the second release of 2016 the other being Fedora 24. Let’s discover what lies in the future of this popular Linux distribution especially among developers.
  • "dnf update" considered harmful
    Updating a Linux distribution has historically been done from the command line (using tools like Debian's apt-get, openSUSE's zypper, or Fedora's yum—or its successor dnf). A series of crashes during system updates on Fedora 24 led Adam Williamson to post a note to fedora-devel and other mailing lists warning people away from running "dnf update" within desktop environments. It turns out that doing so has never truly been supported—though it works the vast majority of the time. The discussion around Williamson's note, however, makes it clear that the command is commonly run that way and that at least some users are quite surprised (and unhappy) that it isn't a supported option.
  • Supporting UEFI secure boot in Debian
    The Debian project can be accused of many things, but jumping too quickly on leading-edge technology is not one of them. That can be seen in, among other things, the fact that there is still not a version of the distribution that supports the UEFI secure boot mechanism. But, as Ben Hutchings explained during his 2016 Kernel Recipes talk, such support is in the works, and it will be implemented in a uniquely Debian-like manner.
  • The Lenovo Yoga Book Is the Future of Laptops, But It's Missing an Operating System
    For this review I spent a week with the Android version of Lenovo’s slick new backflipping laptop. Guts-wise it’s identical to the Windows 10 variant. They both feature Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processors, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of on-device storage, and 1920 x 1200 resolution displays. The Android version starts at $500 and the Windows version starts at $550.
  • Another Broken Nexus 5
    In late 2013 I bought a Nexus 5 for my wife [1]. It’s a good phone and I generally have no complaints about the way it works. In the middle of 2016 I had to make a warranty claim when the original Nexus 5 stopped working [2]. Google’s warranty support was ok, the call-back was good but unfortunately there was some confusion which delayed replacement. Once the confusion about the IMEI was resolved the warranty replacement method was to bill my credit card for a replacement phone and reverse the charge if/when they got the original phone back and found it to have a defect covered by warranty. This policy meant that I got a new phone sooner as they didn’t need to get the old phone first. This is a huge benefit for defects that don’t make the phone unusable as you will never be without a phone. Also if the user determines that the breakage was their fault they can just refrain from sending in the old phone.

Key financial blockchain technology is open sourced

Kernel Space/Linux

  • Linux 4.9's Efficient BPF-based Profiler
    Linux 4.9 skips needing the file entirely, and its associated overheads. I wrote about this as a missing BPF feature in March. It is now done.
  • UBIFS Working On File Encryption Support
    Following EXT4 file-system encryption and F2FS per-file encryption support, the UBIFS file-system is also bringing in encryption support built off this fscrypto framework used by EXT4/F2FS. In making use of fscrypto, the UBIFS file-system encryption support is similar to the EXT4/F2FS implementations and supports not only encrypting the file contents but also the file name. In making use of this framework, it only took around one thousand lines of new code to make it happen from the kernel-side while the user-space changes for supporting UBIFS encryption are still baking. UBIFS for those out of the look is the Unsorted Block Image File-System that's built atop UBI and designed for raw flash memory media.
  • An important set of stable kernel updates
  • Linux Kernels 3.16.38, 3.12.66, 3.10.104, and 3.2.83 Patched Against "Dirty COW"
    We reported the other day that an ancient bug, which existed in the Linux kernel since 2005, was patched in several recent updates, namely Linux kernel 4.8.3, Linux kernel 4.7.9, and Linux kernel 4.4.26 LTS. One day later, the maintainers of other supported Linux kernel branches patched the bug, which is dubbed by researchers as "Dirty COW" and documented as CVE-2016-5195. As such, today we'd like to inform those of running GNU/Linux distributions powered by kernels from the Linux 3.16, 3.12, 3.10, and 3.2 series that new updates are available for their systems.
  • Linux users warned over serious vulnerability affecting many versions
  • MuQSS - The Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler v0.112
    It's getting close now to the point where it can replace BFS in -ck releases. Thanks to the many people testing and reporting back, some other misbehaviours were discovered and their associated fixes have been committed.
  • Linux Raid mdadm md0
    Linux Raid is the de-facto way for decades in the linux-world on how to create and use a software raid. RAID stands for: Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Some people use the I for inexpensive disks, I guess that works too!
  • On Linux kernel maintainer scalability
    LWN's traditional development statistics article for the 4.6 development cycle ended with a statement that the process was running smoothly and that there were no process scalability issues in sight. Wolfram Sang started his 2016 LinuxCon Europe talk by taking issue with that claim. He thinks that there are indeed scalability problems in the kernel's development process. A look at his argument is of interest, especially when contrasted with another recent talk on maintainer scalability.
  • First comparison of Vulkan API vs OpenGL ES API on ARM
  • Prime Indicator Plus Makes It Easy To Switch Between Nvidia And Intel Graphics (Nvidia Optimus)
    The original Prime Indicator hasn't been updated since February, 2015. André Brait forked the indicator (while also using code from the Linux Mint version), improving it with both new functionality and bug fixes, and the new app is called Prime Indicator Plus. Using the nvidia-prime package, Ubuntu users can switch between Intel and Nvidia graphics by using Nvidia Settings (under PRIME Profiles), which then requires restarting the session (logout/login) to apply the changes. Prime Indicator makes this easier, by allowing you to switch graphics from the indicator menu, including triggering the logout.
  • Features You Will Not Find In The Mesa 13.0 Release
    While Mesa 13.0 is coming along for release next month with exciting features like OpenGL 4.5 for Intel, unofficial GL 4.4/4.5 for RadeonSI/NVC0, and the addition of the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver, there is some functionality that sadly won't be found in this release. Below are some features/functionality not currently found in Mesa 13.0. Some of the mentioned items have patches floating on the mailing list that weren't merged in time while other items are more along the lines of pipe-dreams that would have been fun to see in Mesa for 2016.
  • Crucial MX300: Good Linux Performance, 525GB SSD For Only $120 USD

Leftovers: Software

  • i2pd 2.10 released
    i2pd (I2P Daemon) is a full-featured C++ implementation of I2P client. I2P (Invisible Internet Protocol) is a universal anonymous network layer. All communications over I2P are anonymous and end-to-end encrypted, participants don't reveal their real IP addresses. I2P client is a software used for building and using anonymous I2P networks. Such networks are commonly used for anonymous peer-to-peer applications (filesharing, cryptocurrencies) and anonymous client-server applications (websites, instant messengers, chat-servers). I2P allows people from all around the world to communicate and share information without restrictions.
  • Pixeluvo Review | Photo Editor for Linux & Windows
    A review of Pixeluvo, a great photo editor available on Linux and Windows. Pixeluvo is not free or open source.
  • Blit, A Retrospective On My Largest Project Ever
    I’ve always been someone who’s liked art and programming. Especially combining the two. One of my favorite genres is pixel art, or sprites as they are also known. I’ve dabbled in making a few other art programs before, but nothing like this. Originally Blit supposed to be only a sprite animation tool that had a modern look and feel, but my ideas for it grew greater (*sigh* feature creep). There are many other sprinting tools out there like GrafX2, Aseprite, (and other 2D animation programs like TVPaint). I’m not saying that it’s wrong that they make their own GUI toolkit, but it feels kind of odd. I really wanted to bring these types of programs out of the days of the Amiga. After doing some initial research, I settled on using Qt.
  • An alert on the upcoming 7.51.0 release
    In two weeks time, on Wednesday November 2nd, we will release curl and libcurl 7.51.0 unless something earth shattering happens.
  • Desktop Gmail Client `WMail` 2.0.0 Stable Released
    WMail is a free, open source desktop client for Gmail and Google Inbox, available for Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  • SpaceView: Ubuntu File System Usage Indicator
  • FunYahoo++: New Yahoo Messenger Plugin For Pidgin / libpurple [PPA]
    Yahoo retired its old Messenger protocol in favor of a new one, breaking compatibility with third-party applications, such as Pidgin, Empathy, and so on. Eion Robb, the SkypeWeb and Hangouts developer, has created a replacement Yahoo prpl plugin, called FunYahoo++, that works with the new Yahoo Messenger protocol. Note that I tested the plugin with Pidgin, but it should work with other instant messaging applications that support libpurple, like BitlBee or Empathy.
  • GCC Lands Loop Splitting Optimization
    The latest GCC 7 development code has an optimization pass now for loop splitting.
  • GCC 7 To End Feature Development Next Month
    Friday's GCC 7 status report indicates the feature freeze is coming up in just a few weeks. Red Hat developer Jakub Jelinek wrote in the latest status report, "Trunk which will eventually become GCC 7 is still in Stage 1 but its end is near and we are planning to transition into Stage 3 starting Nov 13th end of day time zone of your choice. This means it is time to get things you want to have in GCC 7 finalized and reviewed. As usual there may be exceptions to late reviewed features but don't count on that. Likewise target specific features can sneak in during Stage 3 if maintainers ok them."
  • GNU Parallel 20161022 ('Matthew') released [stable]
    GNU Parallel 20161022 ('Matthew') [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.
  • GNU Health 3.0.4 patchset released
    GNU Health 3.0.4 patchset has been released !
  • guile-ncurses 2.0 released
    I am pleased to announce the release of guile-ncurses 2.0 guile-ncurses is a library for the creation of text user interfaces in the GNU Guile dialect of the Scheme programming language. It is a wrapper to the ncurses TUI library. It contains some basic text display and keyboard and mouse input functionality, as well as a menu widget and a form widget. It also has lower level terminfo and termios functionality.
  • Unifont 9.0.03 Released
    Unifont 9.0.03 is released. The main changes are the addition of the Pikto and Tonal ConScript Unicode Registry scripts.
  • PATHspider 1.0.0 released!
    In today’s Internet we see an increasing deployment of middleboxes. While middleboxes provide in-network functionality that is necessary to keep networks manageable and economically viable, any packet mangling — whether essential for the needed functionality or accidental as an unwanted side effect — makes it more and more difficult to deploy new protocols or extensions of existing protocols. For the evolution of the protocol stack, it is important to know which network impairments exist and potentially need to be worked around. While classical network measurement tools are often focused on absolute performance values, PATHspider performs A/B testing between two different protocols or different protocol extensions to perform controlled experiments of protocol-dependent connectivity problems as well as differential treatment.
  • The Domain Name System