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Debian Founder Ian Murdock Has Died ( 464

Unknown Lamer writes: It has been confirmed that Debian founder Ian Murdock has died. From the Docker blog: "It is with great sadness that we inform you that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night. This is a tragic loss for his family, for the Docker community, and the broader open source world; we all mourn his passing. ... Ian helped pioneer the notion of a truly open project and community, embracing open design and open contribution; in fact the formative document of the open source movement itself (the Open Source Definition) was originally a Debian position statement. It is a testament to Ian's commitment to openness and community that there are now more than 1,000 people currently involved in Debian development."
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Debian Founder Ian Murdock Has Died

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  • Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @03:51PM (#51210679)

    So all the race baiting about police brutality and how nobody believed him because he was white (and not a "n*gger" - his words) leading to a massively publicized suicide-note-rant-against-the-police on his twitter, that was actually covered on a similar website to this one, was legit? And nobody stepped in or did a gd*** thing?

    • So all the race baiting about police brutality and how nobody believed him because he was white (and not a "n*gger" - his words) leading to a massively publicized suicide-note-rant-against-the-police on his twitter, that was actually covered on a similar website to this one, was legit?

      What do you mean by "legit"? Are you asking if he actually said it, or are you asking if what he said was a resaonable description of actual events?

      • It was in response to people trying to claim previously that Ian's Twitter was hacked after he started threatening suicide and posting racist shit.

        • racist shit?

          the use of the word "nigger" in that last tweet could just be emphasizing the point of view that many have that police brutality against blacks doesn't matter.

          plenty of people use the word "nigger" in contexts without any racial hatred.

          • If songs count there's Bob Dylan & Elvis Costello.

      • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shadowknot ( 853491 ) * on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:04PM (#51210825) Journal
        I think OP is referring to the speculation that Ian's Twitter may have been compromised and that it wasn't him who was posting the seemingly out of character tweets.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And now it's being covered up. His twitter account is gone, and his blog has been scrubbed clean. The discussion he wanted to grow out of this won't happen, because some people find the subject too embarrassing. It's fucking tragic.

    • How is it that he wasn't on a 5150 hold? If the police know that you threatened suicide, they are going to be knocking on your door, wanting to haul you away to be supervised in a suitable location (hospital).

      When are the ****ing /. developers going to fix the problem that logs me out between opening a window to write a post and submitting it?
  • Dat's racist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HarrySquatter ( 1698416 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @03:52PM (#51210693)

    And what great parting words [] he left for us:

    Maybe my suicide at this, you now, a successful business man, not a NIGGER, will finally bring some attention to this very serious issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You have to be in a seriously fucked up place in your head to commit suicide in the first place. Completely out of character twitter posts are not the strangest thing that suicidal people do. Though the posts are fucked up, I'm willing to cut a little slack given the mental state he would have had to be in to do this. It's not the best way to go out but, suicide never is.

    • Re:Dat's racist (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:12PM (#51210911)

      And what great parting words he left for us:

      Maybe my suicide at this, you now, a successful business man, not a NIGGER, will finally bring some attention to this very serious issue.

      There are very few situations under which I'd condone the use of that word. This is in the grey area. What he meant in the context of his suicide (on which he blames, in large part, his mistreatment by the SFPD) was that we're a sufficiently fucked-up society that we ignore police brutality against poors and minorities, and maybe now we'll start paying attention when we realize that even the wealthy have something to fear.

      That's not an endorsement of privilege, it's a refutation of it. Niemoller wasn't fascist or anti-semitic for saying "First they came for the Socialists / Trade Unionists / Jews ..." his point was that sooner or later, they'll come for you.

      Ian chose his words poorly and under great emotional strain. But his point remains: if you ignore police misconduct when it's only happening to a group you consider "the other," pretty soon you'll find "the other" expands to include a group you do care about.

      • Yeah, I thought the same thing. You can interpret his use of the word as putting words in the mouth of someone who dismisses the issue of police violence because "well, it's only happening to [insert terms of racial abuse here], so who cares". When you only have 140 characters, that's a very powerful way of putting it.

    • Re:Dat's racist (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dos1 ( 2950945 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:13PM (#51210913)

      Great job at posting stuff out of context.

      What he said was among the lines of "look, now it's happening also for a successful white man, you cannot ignore it like you did when they were beating up NIGGERS".

      That's more like "stop belittling the problem with your racism, it's not about who is being beaten, it's about police". Of course given his situation, he was more focused on trying to show the police abuse than fighting the racism and without all these sudden emotions you would definitely find better words to use, but saying that he was racist in those posts is MASSIVE misinterpretation and cruelty.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        What he said was among the lines of "look, now it's happening also for a successful white man, you cannot ignore it like you did when they were beating up NIGGERS".

        That part was clear... but what was less than stellar clear is if it was "You think you can beat me up the way you beat up NIGGERS? I'm going to raise hell." or "You think you can beat up people, but now you picked on a person who is not a NIGGER and can raise hell."

    • Re:Dat's racist (Score:5, Interesting)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:40PM (#51211189) Homepage Journal

      FWIW, in context, he was (after implying he had a fairly substantial confrontation with the SFPD) saying that police misbehavior might be taken more seriously now that a successful white male, rather than black person, was the victim of it.

      It's poor wording, but I don't think the choice of word there was meant maliciously or in any racist sense, rather than a comment upon the SFPD's and general publics perceptions of whose word is worth taking seriously.

    • by IMightB ( 533307 )

      If you bother to read and think a bit instead of going off in some kneejerk reaction. It appears he had some sort of altercation with the police where he receieved a righteous ass whuppin. Then was charged for assaulting the cops. When he got home, he claims they kicked his ass again and had to go to the hospital for stitches.

      If you read his last comment and *try* to put even a little bit of context around it, it appears that he felt that he was trying to say something like "it doesn't just happen to

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's quite obvious when you read the rest of his feed from that night that he is claiming the police and the apathetic public are the racists. Even in that quote alone, addressed to a reader who presumably doesn't care about brutality when it happens to black people, as most middle-class whites feel. You idiots seem to think any use of the word 'nigger' is an ultimate condemnation, as if the meaning of words is innate to their very letters, instead of being determined in relation to the rest of their cont

    • by bytesex ( 112972 )

      Wait. Is that real? Is that really his twitter account (and not some impersonator, like what happens quite often actually)?

  • In this day and age, it's highly unusual for healthy 42 year olds to die all of a sudden. TFA says nothing about how he died, just that he died.

    Car accident, drug overdose, heart attack, or ???

    • by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @03:57PM (#51210733)

      Suicide. []

    • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:04PM (#51210831)

      what? biggest demographic for suicide is white males 35-64, and since 1999 up 30+ percent

      over police brutality he says, hmmm maybe some other things and this plus some substance abuse was trigger

    • His family asked for privacy. People are trying to give it to them.

      That said, there's a The Register Article [] that implies some erratic mental state. All the more reason to not pry and not guess. They're having a very hard time. Our best tribute to what Ian has done is not to make his family worse off.

    • by IMightB ( 533307 )

      It looks like He blamed it on Police Brutality. Some sort of incident happened where he claims(ed) he was beaten by the police badly enough to go to the hospital, got home, was assaulted again by police. []

  • Rest In Peace (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LocutusOfBorg1 ( 1549493 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:11PM (#51210893)
    Goodbye from a Debian Developer. Thanks for all the fish
  • Note to self (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:13PM (#51210917)

    Note to self:

    Never, never give up after torture, abuse or rape. Few can send a real signal by killing himself. Suicide destroys the meaning of one's suffering.

    Live to the end. Live and fight the injustice. Live and tell the truth.

    • You might never give up but you will surrender to torture. Everyone does.

      The soldiers tortured during Vietnam without exception gave the Vietnamese torturers what they were asking for. They also gave them a pound of garbage for every real thing they gave them, because that's what torture does, forces the torturee to provide invalid and garbage intelligence to make the torture stop and it's the reason there is little to no point in doing it.

      There is no dishonor is surrendering to torture or other forms of ab

  • RIP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Your uptime was shorter than normal, but you were a master of creation and you served the community well.

  • by tloh ( 451585 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:30PM (#51211089)

    The bizarre nature of those last tweets and the fact that the attached email domain on those was rather than his actual website which is makes this situation very suspicious. I hope more information is release soon as it seems highly likely foul play is involved.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:32PM (#51211111)

    and I am ashamed to live in a society where there was no one around to help him find a better way through this.

  • Thank You, Ian (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @04:50PM (#51211283)

    I am very, very sad to hear this news. Debian GNU/Linux has brought much joy to my life. Thank You and Rest in Peace, Ian Murdock.
    -drew (@pdp7)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @05:14PM (#51211491)

    5:13pm: i'm committing suicide tonight.. do not intervene as i have many stories to tell and do not want them to die with me #debian #runnerkristy67
    5:14pm: watch my blog later []
    5:17pm: []
    5:20pm: I'll write more on my blog later. But the police here beat me up for knowing on my neighbor's door.. they sent me to the hospital.
    5:20pm: Then beat me up some more.
    5:21pm: My bail for "assault against a police officer" are all that: $25,000.
    5:22pm: I'll write more much later. They still don't have cameras on all police so I'm going to use my somewhat celebrity to hopefully stop this.
    5:23pm: Quote: "We're the police, we always win."
    5:25pm: My career is over now, so I'll be gone soon.
    5:27pm: Maybe my suicide at this, you now, a successful business man, not a NIGGER, will finally bring some attention to this very serious issue.
    5:30pm: I'm not committing suicide today. I'll write this all up first, so the police brutality ENDEMIC in this so call free country will be known.
    5:34pm: if anyone wants to come over and see what the police did to me i would be more than happy for that
    5:35pm: they beat the shit out of me twice, then charged me $25,000 to get out of jail for battery against THEM
    5:36pm: i had to go to the hospital
    5:36pm: they followed me home
    5:36pm: then they pulled me out of my house and did it again
    5:37pm: i had to have swtitches
    5:37pm: then followed my home from there
    5:38pm: i asked if they had cameras
    5:38pm: they said no
    5:45pm: shall i post pictures for all my bruises from my against the police officers?
    5:45pm: where they put you in a cell with absolutely no instructions whatever aside from the spell on the floor in piss?
    5:48pm: Writing up my experience for others to hopefully prevent others from police abuse then you won't hear from me again
    6:00pm: @jacksormwriter wants me dead
    6:06pm: i'm going to post my case on my blog.. if anyone can post it on hacker news or wherever i would apprieciate it
    6:07pm: i'm hoping coming from a successful white guy it will help everyone
    6:31pm: (1/2) The rest of my life will be devoted to fighting against police abuse.. I'm white, I made $1.4 million last year,
    6:33pm: (2/2) They are uneducated, bitter, and and only interested in power for its own sake. Contact me if you can help. -ian
    6:41pm: The police are uneducated, evil, and sadistic. Do not trust them.
    6:42pm: The rest of my life is to fight against the police.. they are NOT friends, so don't ever ever believe otherwise.
    6:49pm: What does one have to get education wise to become a police officer.. asking for a friend.
    7:03pm: "We're the police, we can do whatever the fuck we want.."
    7:08pm: This was right after the female officer ripped off my underwear.. I guess that's not considered rape if you're not a woman being raped.
    7:12pm: I am a white male, make a lot money, pay a lot of money in taxes, and yet their abuse is equally doned out. DO NOT CROSS THEM!

    People deciding on suicide for real rarely make future plans, but his last tweets were full of them. I wonder about head trauma, mostly because of the extreme confusion here. Note his first line. He didn't want anyone to stop him from killing himself, because he had stories that he wanted to tell.

  • RIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @05:23PM (#51211569) Homepage Journal

    Old programmers never die. They redirect to /dev/null. RIP, Ian.

  • by dickens ( 31040 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @05:48PM (#51211761) Homepage

    I certainly will not believe any official reports - the fact that they're late means they're being cooked, without doubt. Some multi-millionaires out there need to make sure to get all the way to the bottom of this.

  • Fuck the SFPD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:29PM (#51213309)

    This hits very close to home for me. I was also arrested for felony battery and held by the SFPD. (The San Mateo County sheriffs, who police Caltrain, were the ones to make the arrest, but I was taken to the SFPD jail.) That's the only time I've ever been in jail, and it seriously fucked with me. I always thought that I would be able to handle jail/prison - hah, wrong! It's a completely dehumanizing experience.

    When I first got there, I was thrown in the drunk tank and left for hours. (After a false felony battery charge, why not a false drunk in public charge?) Like Ian, I couldn't find out anything about my situation. The guards refused to answer any of my questions. There was a phone in the cell, but it was next to useless because everyone I called was unable to navigate the byzantine collect call system. (I briefly wrote about this in a previous comment [] in an earlier story.) The only things to do were to ponder how truly fucking scary it would be if I were eventually tried and convicted or stare at the ceiling and wonder if the stains were feces or peanut butter from the disgusting sandwiches they provided. I'm a self-confident, mentally-stable person, but that started evaporating disturbingly fast.

    Things got a little better for me once they moved me from the drunk tank to a regular cell. I finally made some progress on getting bail. They took my mugshot and started processing the fingerprint/background checks. At this point, at least there was a light at the end of the tunnel. While things were looking up for me, at this point I started seeing the more fucked up shit other people were going through. The majority of the people in my new cell were making phone calls to anyone who would answer (this phone made local calls free) trying to scrounge together bail. While I was mad as hell that I was throwing away >$2,000 in bail (10% of the $25k that Ian mentioned), I'm well-off and would have spent far more to get the hell out of there. This was a Friday night, and you wouldn't get arraigned until Monday morning if you couldn't make bail. It was heartbreaking to watch these guys make call after call for bail money that they just didn't have. In retrospect, maybe I should have helped them out, but at the time I was doing my best to keep to myself.

    The low point for me was one point when I saw a number of guards rushing to some situation. I couldn't see what was going on, but it was a few minutes of a lot of shouting and one voice yelping in pain. I then saw 5-6 officers manhandling an inmate to lead him to a cell. They were forcing him to do some reverse crabwalk sorta thing with his wrists chained down by his ankles, all while he's clearly in pain and protesting that he didn't do anything. This is when it really dawned on me how much these corrupt fucks can control your lives. I was confined to this cell of thick glass and concrete because of a lie. Once in jail, there's virtually nothing stopping them from using further lies to justify abuse. I have no clue if the inmate actually did something wrong or was being abused by sadistic guards, but I sure as hell wasn't going to believe the guards (who are sheriffs) just after being falsely arrested by one of their fellow officers.

    Eventually my bail went through, the background check came back clean, and I was going to be released soon. For some reason I don't understand, they again transferred me to another cell. When we got there, it was full of what I stereotyped as mentally ill homeless people. One dude was lying on the floor drooling and shaking. I could not deal with this and froze up. Ignoring that this man clearly needed to be in a hospital instead of a jail, all I could do was ask to go back to the previous cell. Thankfully, it wasn't a sheriff but an administrative employee moving me around at this point, and he was sympathetic enough to take me back to the previous cell. That was the only shred of humanity I saw from anyone who worked at the jail, and it's not

  • You know I asked my grandfather about the weird banker deaths, Swartz's death and now this one this evening and he had a interesting response:

    "During the purge in the 1930's lots of people went missing. Mainly individuals in societal roles that some in society are not happy with."

    I replied: "But these people had families and nobody hated them they did interesting things and certainly were not criminals."

    His response?

    "Not criminal perhaps to you and me, but those in power have their own rule of law."

  • by bkuhn ( 41121 ) on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @10:39PM (#51213353) Homepage
    I wrote A Requiem for Ian Murdock [].
  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Wednesday December 30, 2015 @11:16PM (#51213479) Journal

    Any sign of the bruises / beating? When did it occur? I'm curious wtf happened and when it happened
    Also, nothing on his web page, did someone revert it? Anyone got a cached copy?

  • I'm very shocked that the death of Ian got so little attention or coverage. He died on Monday, but the world was notified until Wednesday, without any more detail regarding his death. All you guys talking about was criticising him being racist, what's wrong with this world?
  • Horrible (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:48AM (#51214123) Homepage Journal

    This is horrible.

    Having gone through the data I could find this evening, it appears that Ian was a victim of mental illness and perhaps substance abuse which initiated two interactions with police. I do not have sufficient information to say if police conduct was at fault.

    He was a very bright and creative guy who, unfortunately went through lots of ups and downs. He didn't deserve to end this way. Nobody does.

"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."