Hess (seen above in a picture used courtesy of his own website) is one of the better-known developers, and, apart from his contributions on the software side, has also done numerous interviews with his fellow developers.
The Debian GNU/Linux project chose systemd, the brainchild of Red Hat's Lennart Poettering, as its default init system in February, to replace SysV. The decision came through a casting vote by Bdale Garbee who is head of the technical committee which had been tasked with making the choice.
It came after months of discussion among developers; there was also discussion on many other forums about this as Debian is seen as a barometer of the health of the GNU/Linux community.
In his farewell post on the Debian developers' mailing list, Hess wrote that it had become clear to the him that Debian was no longer the project that he had joined in 1996.
"We've made some good things, and I wish everyone well, but I'm out," Hess wrote. "Note that this also constitutes an orphaning as upstream of debhelper, alien, dpkg-repack, and debmirror."
He said he would be making final orphaning uploads of other packages that were not team maintained, over the next couple of days, as bandwidth allows.
"If I have one regret from my 18 years in Debian, it's that when the Debian constitution was originally proposed, despite seeing it as dubious, I neglected to speak out against it. It's clear to me now that it's a toxic document, that has slowly but surely led Debian in very unhealthy directions."
Debian started life in August 1993. It was set up by Ian Murdock and takes its name from the first three letters of Murdoch's wife (Debra) and his name. It has support for the most architectures of any distribution and is generally acknowledged to have the best package management system.