Forgive me for being a little late with this, but it’s a matter of grave importance that needs your attention and action, if you haven’t acted on it already.
On March 15, 2012, Bassel Khartabil (also known as Bassel Safadi) was detained in a wave of arrests in the Mazzeh district of Damascus, Syria. 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.
In short, Bassel contributes much to the FOSS paradigm. He’s one of us.
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.
A side note: Human Rights Watch outlines what’s happening in Syria in an interactive map here. This does not bode well for Bassel being detained, incommunicado, for the last four months, and adds geometrically to the urgency of this matter.
Now it’s your turn.
Hashtag for Twitter/identi.ca: #freebassel
Wait. You’re not finished yet.
This is not a criticism of the great work these organizations do, but the International Committee of the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch unfortunately don’t take up the cause of freeing imprisoned individuals — I would be happy to be wrong about this, if someone knows who to contact in these organizations. However, I did find a contact address for a program at Amnesty International called Eyes on Syria which, in effect, is taking names. There’s a link on that page, “Tell Us,” that provides an address to drop them a line.
I wrote the following to Amnesty International and I would urge others to write to AI in your own words (copying my message and sending it as your own is spamming, and I do not encourage that) something along the following lines:
Dear Amnesty International –
I am writing on behalf of Bassel Khartabil, a free/open source software developer in Syria who has been arrested and detained since March in Damascus. Bassel has been instrumental in various open source software projects like Creative Commons (www.creativecommons.org), Mozilla Firefox (www.mozilla.org), Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), Open Clip Art Library (www.openclipart.org), Fabricatorz (www.fabricatorz.com), and Sharism (www.sharism.org).
On March 15, 2012, Bassel Khartabil was detained in a wave of arrests in the Mazzeh district of Damascus. Since then, 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.
More information on Bassel can be found at http://freebassel.org/ which is a Web site set up to help free Bassel.
Ultimately, my hope is that Bassel is freed as soon as possible, and like many in the free/open source software community concerned about his well-being, I am very troubled that he has been held incommunicado for four months. I hope Amnesty International can bring some of the facts of his detention to light, and ultimately can assist in freeing
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
Felton, California, USA
Now 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.)
Now that LinuxCon North America is over, and it was quite a show, I think they’ve got the publicity thing covered, especially with the gangster-themed gala and all the great presentations that were given at the event. But if you’re going to the next show, make it the Ohio LinuxFest in September. Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting, so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!)
Over the weekend, I got a what I thought (and still think) was an innocuous linkback to my last blog item about The Elmers. I allowed myself a moment to be flattered and approved it. Shortly afterward, I looked at the link because it is one I hadn’t seen before, and apparently the person who owns this site likes to take it upon him/herself to repost things without identifying where they originate.
Don’t take my word for it. Judge for yourself here (Blogger’s note: The site is down now). This could be a “test” page, judging from the URL, however if it is a test page, it’s getting out in the public. Otherwise, why would it ping back to me?
I don’t mind so much being reposted — in fact, as I mentioned before, I’m flattered someone likes my work so much that they’re moved to actively put control-v to work — and I welcome those who repost Linux news and commentary items (my hat is off to you, LXer.com and tuxmachines.org, and thank you for posting my stuff that links directly back to this blog).
However, posting items from other blogs verbatim without either linking back to the original or without attribution? Not bueno.
This blog appears under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. Download it and share it as long as you credit me as the author, but don’t change it or use it commercially. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Want to use it commercially or an any way that is different from what’s outlined in the license? I’m flexible and you can e-mail me and, chances are, I’ll be OK with it. But ask first.
You’ll be seeing the license information below from here on in. I find it unfortunate to do this, but since I’m now appearing on a blog that has no clear identity, it’s necessary.
As for the owner of this blog, I’ll let you off with a friendly warning: If you add links to my items you posted, as you did with the Apache and WordPress items on your site, then we’re OK. Otherwise, we’re not OK, and you’ll have to remove them as soon as possible.
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the current version of 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.
First things first: I lied. In my last blog item, I said that I wasn’t going back to Linux World on Wednesday after a long, hard and profitable Tuesday. But with both San Francisco — the world’s greatest city — and Linux World being a two-edged bulb drawing this moth to its luminescence, I put aside home projects (remember the project having to do with rearranging the living room? Working on it . . .) and went back for another day.
Fortunately, I had my swag limiter on and didn’t end up with further arm injury. I know the stuff is free and I know that companies love to give the stuff away, but — hey — how many can insulators can you really use?
Let’s talk hardware: Something that I am woefully deficient in — both physically and mentally — is hardware. We don’t cover it enough at Open Source Reporter, and we plan to change that and increase our coverage. Without the hardware, the software isn’t worth much, now is it?
I spent the better part of the day getting schooled by some of the hardware manufacturers at the show; mostly by Fujitsu, which has a great selection and had very knowledgeable people working the show. Very patient people, too, because I think I should have won prizes — more T-shirts — for “dumbest questions of the show.”
Readers will be seeing more about hardware in OSR in the coming months — partially behind this effort, needless to say, is prodding hardware manufacturers to ideally open up their drivers to accommodate GNU/Linux or, at least, to get them to develop drivers if they don’t want to share the code — and we will devote a section to it in the print publication in January.
Creative Commons / Free Software Foundation / Electronic Frontier Foundation: You guys did a great job at the show, with CC providing the Fedora disks, FSF providing (as always) great information and some very cool stickers (thanks for the GNUs) and EFF having probably the best “join us” offer — a “SWAT-team” like cap in black with a stark EFF in white on the front. It’s great to work with and support these groups solely for the vital work they do; their swag is just icing on the cake.
They Might Be Giants: I got to see the San Francisco Giants game on Monday night against the Washington Nationals, hoping Barry would swing into history that evening. But it was not to be. However, I did see a great extra-inning game that the Giants uncharacteristically won. And Barry now holds the record anyway thanks to Tuesday’s swat, and the Giants are still numero uno in these parts, National League West standings be damned.
More to follow — with the exception of the Giants — on the pages of OSR and in this blog.
And as Helios likes to say: All-righty then.
(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)