Thursday, 31 December 2015 09:52

Debian founder Ian Murdock dies at 42 Featured

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The founder of the Debian GNU/Linux project, Ian Murdock, has died on Monday in circumstances that are not exactly clear. He was 42.

Murdock (above) had recently begun a job with the firm Docker in California. He founded Debian in 1993 and the project has grown to be one of the most successful among open source projects.

He posted a series of disturbing Tweets on Monday afternoon after being arrested by police and died that night. The cause of his death is not known.

The Debian project said: "With a heavy heart Debian mourns the passing of Ian Murdock, stalwart proponent of Free Open Source Software, Father, Son, and the 'ian' in Debian.

"Ian started the Debian project in August of 1993, releasing the first versions of Debian later that same year. Debian would go on to become the world's Universal Operating System, running on everything from embedded devices to the space station.

"Ian's sharp focus was on creating a Distribution and community culture that did the right thing, be it ethically, or technically. Releases went out when they were ready, and the project's staunch stance on Software Freedom are the gold standards in the Free and open source world."

Born in Konstanz, West Germany, Murdock wrote the Debian Manifesto while he was a student at Purdue University in the United States. Debian was named for himself and his girlfriend, Debra, whom he later married. They divorced in 2007.

He led Project Indiana at Sun Microsystems from 2003, an effort to make an open version of Solaris named OpenSolaris. When the company was bought by Oracle, he left.

From 2011 until 2015 he worked for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. At the time of his death he was working for Docker.

His employer said: "With a heavy heart Debian mourns the passing of Ian Murdock, stalwart proponent of Free Open Source Software, Father, Son, and the 'ian' in Debian.

"Ian started the Debian project in August of 1993, releasing the first versions of Debian later that same year. Debian would go on to become the world's Universal Operating System, running on everything from embedded devices to the space station.

"Ian's sharp focus was on creating a Distribution and community culture that did the right thing, be it ethically, or technically. Releases went out when they were ready, and the project's staunch stance on Software Freedom are the gold standards in the Free and Open Source world."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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