Linux Community Mourns the Passing of Ian Murdock

by Jeff Martin on Jan 04, 2016 |

The open source community reacted with sadness this week upon hearing the news that the founder of Debian Linux, Ian Murdock, had passed on December 28, 2015.  Murdock publicly announced the start of Debian Linux in August 1993, and the distribution saw its first stable release in 1996.  Beyond Debian, Murdock worked at Sun and Salesforce and most recently worked at Docker on their containerization technology.

Murdock provided a 10 year retrospective on Debian in 2003 when the operating system had achieved its ten-year anniversary.  Among the main achievements Debian provided in Murdoch’s view was its package system (dpkg), project management and governance structure, and the overall ecosystem surrounding it.  The success of this approach has been validated by Debian’s longevity and the lengthy number of Linux distributions that use Debian for their foundation.  Notably among these are Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Netrunner, and deepin Linux.  In this fashion Debian’s influence has grown beyond the users of Debian-specificly resulting in a richer Linux environment for everyone.

Compounding the loss of his passing is the presence of disconcerting messages from his Twitter account detailing his perspective of a traumatic encounter that he had with the San Francisco police department.  Unfortunately due to this tragedy a promising life has been cut short without the closure and longetivity Murdock deserved.  His technical accomplishments remain as a testament to the lasting contributions to the Linux community at-large that he made throughout his life.



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