So . . . I had written a blog post addressing the remote hope that I’d at least get a postcard from the vacation from reality that Canonical’s self-appointed hubris-monger Mark Shuttleworth has recently taken, while urging those in the various *buntu communities do some soul searching when your project leader says, “If you’ve done what you want for Ubuntu, then move on.”
Then I sat on the blog post for a few days, wondering if it was too incendiary. I took walks. I had coffee with friends. I bounced the theme of what I was writing off a few people. I embarrassingly lost a huge Tetris smackdown to my darling daughter at the arcade at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
In that particular item, comparisons were made: The Mark’s emulation of Steve Jobs speaks volumes about the danger that lies ahead for freedom and real progress in that particular community; to say nothing of Shuttleworth’s detatchment from reality — what Jobs observers used to call his “reality distortion field.” This fantasy world tries so hard to be branded as “innovative” when echoed by the zombies populating the Ubuntu Apocalypse but, in all reality, it’s just regressive. Additionally, the prevailing attitude displayed by the Ubuntu/Canonical leadership raises the arguable point that those in its community could very well be — if they aren’t already — the FOSS equivalent of battered spouses who need to get out of that relationship with all speed.
Canonical is rapidly becoming Canonisoft: Realize that and you know what you need to do, Ubunteros.
But late last night, I decided not to post it. I deleted it to replace it with what you’re reading now because there are far more important things going on in the world at this moment; things that need immediate attention because lives are at stake.
Let’s take a look at Syria, for example: Bassel Khartabil, who some of you may know as Bassel Safadi, will have been imprisoned in Syria for exactly a year on Friday. Bassel, 31, specializes in open source software development, and is known worldwide for his strong commitment to the open web, teaching others about technology, and contributing his experience freely to help the world. Bassel is the project leader for an open source web software called Aiki Framework, and he is a dedicated volunteer to major Internet projects like Creative Commons, Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia, Open Clip Art Library, Fabricatorz, and Sharism.
Find out more about Bassel here and watch the video on that page — it’s short but informative. Then read more about his plight on this page, and sign the letter to support freeing him as soon as possible.
Also, there are various actions taking place on Friday — the anniversary of Bassel’s detention — and there are things you can do either by your physical or digital presence, which are listed here. To post information about any action or ideas you might have, go here.
Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know I’ve written about this before. I’ll keep writing about it, just as I keep fasting on Fridays until Bassel is free.
But the fact remains: What’s really important here — in the wider world — is not stroking the ego of a self-important, self-appointed “leader” who laughably claims to be an innovator, but saving the life of an important contributor to the FOSS paradigm locked away in a Syrian prison, nearly for a year so far without charge.
Now, if you’ll excuse me for a few moments, I need to go back to the arcade and practice Tetris for the rematch.
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software in his individual consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)
Many of you who know me know that — how can I put this tactfully? — I’m a bit on the rotund side. More specifically, I’m a little short for weight; short by about, oh, at least a foot or so. I weigh about the same as most power forwards in the NBA but lack the height they have. You get the picture.
I bring this up because supporters of Bassel Khartabil (also known as Bassel Safadi), who have been working tirelessly to have him freed from a Syrian jail, have come up with a one-day fast for people to do to raise awareness of Bassel’s plight. I fasted on Friday and will do so each Friday going forward until Bassel is freed. It’s not hard: For me, I just get a gallon of purified water and drink that throughout the day (sorry, but I can’t not have water, my age being what it is and all that).
The schedule, if you want to participate, can be found here. Incidentally, I can’t seem to mark each subsequent Friday on the schedule for some reason, but I’ll be fasting anyway.
A recap from the July blog item: On March 15, 2012, Bassel was detained in a wave of arrests in the Mazzeh district of Damascus, Syria. As I wrote back in July, Bassel is the project leader for an open source web software called Aiki Framework. He is well known in online technical communities as a dedicated volunteer to Creative Commons, Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia, Open Clip Art Library, Fabricatorz, and Sharism.
Since Bassel’s arrest, his family has received no official explanation for his detention or information regarding his whereabouts. However, his family has recently learned from previous detainees at the security branch of Kafer Sousa, Damascus, that Bassel is being held at this location.
As updated on the Free Bassel site, “Bassel has been transferred from a civilian (Adra) to a Military Field Court, which denies him a lawyer and witnesses. This is bad. Please act now.”
Also, this from Amnesty International paints a bleak picture of Bassel’s current plight, but provides information about who to contact with messages to leaders to appeal for Bassel’s freedom.
Bassel contributes much to the FOSS paradigm. He’s one of us. Let’s get Bassel back home to his loved ones, and let’s get him coding again.
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)