back to article Debian Linux founder Ian Murdock dead at 42

Debian GNU/Linux founder Ian Murdock has died. He was 42. Murdock is best known for launching the open-source distro in 1993. Just last month, he joined the technology startup Docker in San Francisco. Debian guru ... Ian Murdock On Monday afternoon, he posted a string of distressing and erratic tweets, revealing he had …

  1. phil dude

    very sad...:-(

    I saw a report he was threatening suicide due to some sort of harassment.

    My condolences to his family this must be an awful shock to be paraded in public.

    A real shame his call for help did not go answered, especially since it was so prominent on social media.

    This Debian GNU/Linux Box will miss you...


    1. 7layer

      Re: very sad...:-(

      "I saw a report he was threatening suicide due to some sort of harassment."

      This is for the police report, so they could cover their own crap properly I guess.

      If I judge by the last couple of years of the available video images on youtube and other sites, then I'd say I would not like to live in the US at all.

      He was a good example of how bad the situation is in the US.

      No matter if you are white and have money and reputation, any police officers could do whatever they want. And yes police are really bullying black people there. Few months ago they just killed a family guy, who had no proper car insurance and tried to escape from the police after got stopped. He was "running" away and the officer killed him, but someone made a video of the incident with his phone. (on youtube)

      Now people say about Ian he had mental illness? Amazing bullshit! What is it going to be tomorrow, terrorist sheikh?

      This is a very sad news, we are going to miss a great guy here! Writing this post from his great and reputable product. (Debora + Ian => Debian)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: very sad...:-(

        "Now people say about Ian he had mental illness? Amazing bullshit!"

        Bullshit? Perhaps you should read some of those tweets. Whether his state of mind was an illness or down to drink or drugs, the man was definately not firing on all cylinders.

      2. counterstrike

        Re: very sad...:-(

        What does mental health issues and committing suicide have to do with a coverup by SFPD? I guess you're just an indoctrinated fool who believes China, Russia, North Korea, Iran are "good" and the USA is "evil."

        If it wasn't for the USA then WWI and WWII may have turned out differently for Europe. And still to this day, the US is looked upon for leadership both politically and militarily. Without the US then no military action can be taken worldwide because of a lack of surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence, command and control by all other nations.

        1. Tommy Pock

          Re: very sad...:-(

          You can step away from the keyboard now, Mr Trump counterstrike

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: very sad...:-(

          Please tell me you're just trying to provoke a response of some type? Can you actually site anything on this?

          You know there are military actions taken without the US involved world wide?

          You know that most military action taken by the US gets NATO backup because

          a) That's what NATO is

          b) Less altruistic, but it gives NATO nations an opportunity to fire off some weapons and use some ammunition to decrease their stockpiles in order to support paying for their respective national defense companies who need to employee people for when they are actually needed.

          Also, Russia and China are/were showing far more leadership with regards to IS which most of the world believes would have never happened if the U.S. didn't take irresponsible military action in the region to begin with.

          No other country really wants to piss away as much money on defense as the US does and leave their own people under-educated and thinking being a soldier means you're a hero.

          Also, no other country in the world (not even the English and those people are bloody nuts) have a political party as completely screwed up as the Republicans or even worse, the Tea Party.

          Let me promise you, only desperate countries ever ask the US for leadership in military because every country fears they might actually get it.

          Surprisingly enough, during a conversation spawned by one of my crazy rants... and later through the help of a whiteboard, we're all pretty convinced that the US is the only western country with any actual enemies. France and England and Germany get some terrorist crap happening, but we're pretty convinced that it only really happens because of their association with the US.

          So far as I know, the English being the possible exception, the rest of the western world doesn't tend to go looking for enemies everywhere they can. In fact, in most cases, western countries tend to be fairly broadly accepting of everyone.

          Now, there's a huge mess in Afghanistan and a huge mess in Iraq and it's surrounding regions. The US is of course happy because they have an enemy they can name and place in headlines and dance around talking about how awesome they are because they'll conquer the enemy. But while radical Muslims (they're kinda like Tea Party members but a different religion... and I know more than a handful of Tea Party members with arsenals of weapons) have and will exist as long as their are bat shit crazy religious people (40% of the voters in the US for example), they would have never been in the position to do what they're doing now if it weren't for the US and their mini-state Israel screwing everything up there for so long.

          Now, I have a bunch a friends that are there because if they don't go, there's no one to babysit the American, English and French militaries to make sure they don't get out of control. I often wonder if that's what NATO is these days :

          America needs an enemy...

          America can't find an enemy...

          America makes and enemy...

          The western world tells America... those people are not your enemy... back off...

          American pushes and pushes and pushes until they manage to find a candle stick in the library that may or may not be able to be used by Ms. Peacock and they launch a war...

          England goes with America because England always goes with America... it's like England is America's third ass cheek.

          France goes with America because England can't go unless France goes.

          Germany goes and we have no idea why

          The rest of NATO goes because you can't leave the children unattended... so the rest of the world sends baby sitters.

          Everyone bombs the shit out of everything.

          Someone finally starts figuring out that some countries aren't really countries after all and America gets confused and doesn't know how to win the fight because these people keep moving around from country to country and America can't figure out who the enemy is anymore.

          The American people get pissed because even the republicans can't figure out how fighting this war is about anything meaningful other than killing people with a different religion and skin color which is generally always a good thing in their opinion.

          Americans blame each other over political party lines and make it a major issue of how to withdraw troops since there's no winning this stuff anyway and the game is boring and we want to fight someone we can beat instead.

          America pulls out there troops and the people left behind realize that now that Saddam is gone, they can go back to what it was like before Saddam and can fight over who gets the oil by running a holy war.

          America and OPEC collapse the world oil prices weakening Russia and of course whoever is giving money to the IS... and European allies who depend on oil.

          The dollar gets REALLY STRONG!!!!

          The US starts having to lower their prices substantially outside of the US since no one can afford to by their stuff anymore.

          The US doesn't act quickly enough and the rest of the world start looking for alternatives to American products and technologies because it's no longer convenient or cost effective to buy American.

          China gets stronger

          China builds up a huge oil stockpile to a degree that now oil tankers are floating around with no-place to unload.

          China can now survive an American embargo blocking their oil shipments for more than a month.

          China starts realizing that the US is too busy with other stuff and the they've always wanted to have that Taiwan place.

          America loses most of it's power in the Pacific

          All because you idiots think it's a good think to be the world police... you absolute idiots.

          1. SysDBA

            Re: very sad...:-(

            I think you need to step back and calm down - this article is about the sad and untimely death of a young IT innovator. It's really not the place for a paranoid rant about your twisted view of the "world order".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: very sad...:-(

            You can tell that the AC with the huge posting is from the UK - ill-educated and virtually illiterate. That posting is full of childish spelling errors, bizarre syntax and shows an obvious lack of understanding of grammar.


            1. TonyJ

              Re: very sad...:-(

              So you missed or plain didn't bother to read this line:

              "...Germany goes and we have no idea why.."

              If you're going to make petty digs firstly have the balls not to do it anonymously and secondly try not to embarrass yourself by failing to spot salient facts.

        3. jgarbo

          Re: very sad...:-(

          You should step outside your "great country" and see how much of your wealth was stolen by invasion, slaughter, and perfidy.

      3. linuxfeng

        Re: very sad...:-(Lan Murdock:long live)

        long live:Lan Murdock......

    2. Bleu

      Re: very sad...:-(

      Sounds like he had a total collapse.

      Probably suicide.

      I suspect that it was the same with Lemmy Killhamster of rock fame.

      'Died of cancer'. Sure, experts are able to cite very rare cases where diagnosis is rapidly followed by death, but two days? Surely, he died by his own hand, not 'of cancer'.

      I am sad that both Mr. Murdock and Lemmy are no longer with us.

      The period at the end of the calendar year, in the northern hemisphere and culturally related places sees a big spike in the suicide rate every year.

      'tis the season to be jolly.

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: very sad...:-(

        'Aggressive' cancers get a long way quickly.

        By the time you've noticed you're not feeling too well and seen a doctor and got the results back, there's barely enough time to cancel the milk and newspapers.

      2. Stuart Elliott

        Re: Lemmy

        For reference Bleu, my own father was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer, after a week of stomach ache, 5 days later he died, so yeah, it could easily have the cancer, or the instant detox.

      3. Kiwi

        Re: very sad...:-(

        'Died of cancer'. Sure, experts are able to cite very rare cases where diagnosis is rapidly followed by death, but two days? Surely, he died by his own hand, not 'of cancer'.

        I have known a few cases like that over time. People who were diagnosed and died within a few weeks or days. One lady had an operation to remove the cancer. When she recovered the doctor told her that they'd found some that was inoperable and she would have another 6 months or so. She did not last another 6 hours.

        People give up. The stress of knowing they have a short time left, and that the things they've been enjoying are over, it's too much. Some have heart attacks, some strokes, and some just seem as if they willed themselves to die.

  2. PaulFrederick

    LIfe is short

    We all know the rest. Posted From Debian. The Universal OS

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Very sad, he's leaves a great legacy.

    I raise a glass to the man responsible for the OS that allows my server do everything I could imagine and much much more.

  5. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Always sad

    It is always sad when someone's life is cut short for any reason, but more so for mental illness, etc, where it always feels as if it could have been prevented so easily if only we had known how deep the problem was. More so, of course, when the person is famous in some way for having contributed to humanities well being in a significant way.

    "Therefore, send not to know

    For whom the bell tolls,

    It tolls for thee."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Always sad

      Why the assumption of mental illness? His tweets give no evidence supporting that.

      He obviously had a very abusive encounter with police officers. Some hours later he's dead. Nothing more has been disclosed.

      There are at least several other possibilities than "mental illness". Lets not jump to any conclusions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Always sad

        Any time someone "threatens suicide", mental illness of some sort is ALWAYS involved. As such, it isn't so much an assumption as an observation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Always sad


          This shit is what I do.

          The vast majority of suicides have exactly zero to do with mental illness. For the half million folks who live around me, I have the figures.

          Less than 5% had a mental health diagnosis.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Always sad

            "Less than 5% had a mental health diagnosis."

            Just because it's not been diagnosed doesn't mean it's not a possible cause.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Always sad

              It is possible but there are a lot of other options to consider.

              Ask Mr. Ockham about his Razor.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Ockham's Razor

                From my reading, Ian being mentally ill requires more assumptions than a police force known for violence and abuse acting violent and abusive, so Ockham's Razor does not support him being mentally ill.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Always sad

            "The vast majority of suicides have exactly zero to do with mental illness"

            People of sound mind generally don't commit suicide. Suicides are often the result of when the illness hasn't been noticed or caught in time.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Always sad

              Where does this come from? "Sound mind"? What is that? It's equally possible to argue that anyone of sound mind should at least be able to comprehend the rational arguments for suicide. For most of us the case against it is stronger most of the time, but that gives us no reason to doubt the soundness of minds which conclude differently.

              Saying that, anyone who is seriously considering ending their life may benefit from being reminded that things change. There might seem to be a conclusive argument to die today, but tomorrow may offer a far better argument for living. Take the chance to live and see what comes up. The evidence we have is always partial so to me it makes sense to stick around and not do anything irrevocable. It's a tragedy when someone commits suicide who might have been just about to round a corner into a bearable place. But I don't think it helps to automatically dismiss the capacity of suicides to reason. Potentially that makes the argument seem stronger than it is, because you have straw-manned it and the strawman tactic is easily dismissed as fallacy.

        2. elip

          Re: Always sad

          Sounds like you've been indoctrinated... or hired by a PR firm.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Always sad

          Suicide does not necessarily imply mental illness. There may be sane and examined reasons for suicide, including but not limited to: wishing to avoid slow, painful death due to terminal illness; protecting something or someone which one values more highly than one's continued life; coming to a reasoned conclusion that one does not want to live any longer - e.g. due to an existential evaluation of one's life predicament; or to advance a goal or cause that one considers more important than one's individual life.

          Having read the Tweets, it looks to me as though Ian Murdock was certainly distressed when he made them, but that doesn't mean he was mentally ill. He may have felt cornered, persecuted even. The way he was treated by the police may have given him good reason to feel like that. He'd been drinking so his state of mind was very present-orientated and vulnerable to catastrophising. Alcohol has a known tendency to limit focus to immediate surroundings and events and being drunk isn't conducive to longer term planning. If Ian had got through the next few days he could have marshalled his resources and considered his options for fighting back legally against any inappropriate actions of the police. As he recognized in his Tweets he had financial and reputational resources at his disposal. Still, no guarantees that the outcome would have been just or felt just to Ian, so it may be that the prospect of fighting through legal channels seemed just too exhausting or hopeless to him given his state of mind. That STILL does not imply mental illness, only the temporary magnification of feelings of being backed against a wall which most of us would have after being beaten up twice, especially when the mind is clouded by alcohol.

          It's also possible that disgust, fear and temporary despair were appropriate emotional responses to how this man was treated by the police. To experience the police in this very unfriendly way, eroding any previous sense of security in his citizenship, could have had the force of a world-shattering revelation so that the need to share it with others took on a moral urgency which at that moment seemed worth dying for.

          It appears that people in uniform - avatars of authority and the state - beat the guy up TWICE.To discover that rights in your person, which you've been told are sacred, are actually subject to the whim and mercy of individuals in uniform who can revoke them in a moment without process or appeal, is a pretty scary realization, especially if its demonstrated through the perenially convincing medium of physical pain and fear.

          Anyone who can't relate to this has probably never been beaten up, never experienced or witnessed gross injustice and never felt sufficiently threatened as to be unable to see an escape. Again, no need to reach for mental illness as an explanation. Just try more deeply imagining the position the guy was in, take into account the alcohol and the time of year (suicide season, as others have said) and really why do you need to evoke any notion of "mental illness" at all?

          Perhaps, he was suffering from mental illness or vulnerability, but to present this with any kind of certainty, in the absence of evidence, is to totally fail to see the insanity of the situation which Ian Murdock found himself in. Whatever infraction or misdemeanour he may have been guilty of, whatever illness, distress or inebriation he exhibited, it seems that the police handled the situation with an escalation of violence and confusion which made matters a lot worse. Murdock's Tweets refer to the police as uneducated. This seems likely, since in the US they routinely behave in ways which better training and an ethos of public service and professionalism should render the rarest of exceptions rather than a common occurrence.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Always sad

        "Lets not jump to any conclusions.

        You had to go there, didn't you.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Always sad

        His tweets on that day read an awful lot like the emails we get from my sister-in-law, who suffers from various mental and physical issues, when she's off her meds and having a bad day. So I'd say there is pretty strong circumstantial evidence of some kind of breakdown, at least.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    Now I'm even more depressed.

    This is not going well.

    1. 38292757

      Re: Fuuuuuu....

      Take care of your health, amigo. This is a good reminder that we should ask for help if we need it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of these...

    ...fucking hell moments.

    Only 42? That surprised me immensely. BTW his girlfriend/wife was called Debra, hence the DEB+IAN name for the distro.

    RIP sir.

  8. Salts

    This, Just ...

    made me sad.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: This is Just ...

      ...nothing but a tragedy for his family and friends.

      So long Ian, and thanks for all you did in your short time here.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More details needed...

    Although the family has asked for privacy, I believe this needs some public examination. His final tweets alleged an arrest and horrific police brutality. Not saying it did or did not happen, just that it deserves an investigation.

    Sad none the less.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. TimeMaster T

      Re: More details needed...

      Didn't something like that also happen in Texas?

      Woman gets arrested for no valid reason and is then found dead in her holding cell a few days later in what is declared a suicide.

      Getting on the wrong side of a police officer can destroy your life. Even if you are innocent, and can prove it, the court will find some way to ignore the evidence and believe the officers story over yours.

      Then every time you fill out a application for employment, security clearance, loan, etc. you will have to check the "Have you ever been arrested?" box. And they don't bother looking at the "why" field as they move your paperwork to the bin.

    3. Numpty

      Re: More details needed...

      I'm sure his family and friends are asking all the questions that need to be asked right now. No need for a public investigation unless they don't get suitable answers.

  10. Camilla Smythe

    I've Installed Debian...

    OK. I went through the instructions and ended up with a working computer. Given this my first recollection of my first successful install, second attempt, was when I asked to become root and was warned that being root comes with responsibilities... nothing.

    1. Camilla Smythe

      Re: I've Installed Debian...

      Great. I expected 'misinterpretation' and down votes. I suppose it comes with not being able to express myself properly but I did not wish to press a possible point. Debian is, or tries to be, clean and as per.. it warns you of your responsibilities. There is a principle there and holding to it may get you in trouble or render you as being nothing.

  11. Zarno

    We now know the question to the ultimate answer. :(

    I always preferred Debian, in my opinion it is the easiest to maintain, and gave a lot to the Linux/GNU desktop and server space.

    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The last tweets of Ian

    they followed me home

    then they pulled me out of my house and did it again

    i had to have swtitches

    then followed my home from there

    i asked if they had cameras

    they said no

    shall i post pictures for all my bruises from my against the police officers?

    where they put you in a cell with absolutely no instructions whatever aside from the spell on the floor in piss?

    Writing up my experience for others to hopefully prevent others from police abuse then you won't hear from me again

    @jacksormwriter wants me dead

    i'm going to post my case on my blog.. if anyone can post it on hacker news or wherever i would apprieciate it

    i'm hoping coming from a successful white guy it will help everyone

    (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,

    (2/2) They are uneducated, bitter, and and only interested in power for its own sake. Contact me if you can help. -ian

    The police are uneducated, evil, and sadistic. Do not trust them.

    The rest of my life is to fight against the police.. they are NOT friends, so don't ever ever believe otherwise.

    What does one have to get education wise to become a police officer.. asking for a friend.

    "We're the police, we can do whatever the fuck we want.."

    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.

    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!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The last tweets of Ian

      So if you're black and poor is OK if police treats you badly? While only if you're white and rich they should not?

      Hope he wasn't in his mind.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The last tweets of Ian

        He wasn't very coherent. But then he'd apparently just been beaten and sexually abused by the police for the second time in quick succession. It can have that kind of effect.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The last tweets of Ian

          From reading that, it's entirely plausible they went back a third time too. :(

          1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

            Re: The last tweets of Ian

            > it's entirely plausible they went back a third time

            I hope they stop soon. Before he's full.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The last tweets of Ian

          That's *only* what he tweeted. Is it what really happened? Why police was called? Beware of believing just one side...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The last tweets of Ian

        His tweets show this recognition, not in so many words, but he's saying something like (paraphrased) "if it can happen to me, a rich, privileged, white guy, it can happen to anyone."

        He actually says: "The rest of my life will be devoted to fighting against police abuse.. I'm white, I made $1.4 million last year,"


        "i'm hoping coming from a successful white guy it will help everyone"

        Now I get why someone who's not white, not rich, not privileged might be rolling their eyes at this point, like, oh yeah, NOW you get it... But this is just human nature, whatever colour or background a person has, first hand experience brings an issue home. What the Black Lives Matter campaign has been saying all along comes sharply into focus given the personal perspective that receiving a violent kicking from the police affords.

        Most of us are "guilty" of this, it's just the way our brains and bodies work, embedded in first person immediacy, urgently concerned with personal bodily integrity and more inclined to empathise with threats to others when we've experienced them ourselves. Maybe we fail to recognise an encroaching truth sometimes till it Martin Niemöllers us right in the face. Well, this is a truth too - we are all like this. There's always a non-local suffering that we insufficiently attend to. As W.H. Auden understood suffering always happens:

        "While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;"

        ...everything turns away "Quite leisurely from the disaster" - which Auden gets from looking at a painting of Icarus, and the rest of us might get from rolling TV news coverage, right?

        The thing is to get it, or to try to get it, eventually, using all the empathy you have, all that experience has taught you, and to listen to others when they tell you how it is for them. That's a good start.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Dave 126

      Re: The last tweets of Ian

      >So if you're black and poor is OK if police treats you badly? While only if you're white and rich they should not?

      He didn't say that. He first wrote "i'm hoping coming from a successful white guy it will help everyone", *suggesting* he believed that black and poor people are sometimes abused by police because society doesn't listen to them properly. Given several news stories, especially in the last couple of years, I can see why he might believe that. We don't know what he believed though, so best not to put words in his mouth.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The last tweets of Ian

        No. Re-read his tweets. Why bragging about how much you earn? Should it make policeman kinder? There's also a rant against women. I really hope it was drunk and/or out of his mind.

        Being a good developer doesn't make you a better person, there are ones who killed their wife and hid the body....

        And we still don't know why he ended in police hands - police is not always wrong...

    3. Justin Clift

      Re: The last tweets of Ian

      There's an online archive of his account here, if that's useful.

      Same thing, but with replies here.

      (taken from the Hacker News post)

      1. Code For Broke

        Re: The last tweets of Ian

        Who the hell is @jacksormwriter?

        I think we are all in for months of heavy conspiracy theory rumblings on this one folks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The last tweets of Ian

          Archived version of the account here, from before it was deleted.

      2. CRConrad

        How fitting, and...

        ...How timely a reminder of other recent news: Both 451'd.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The last tweets of Ian

        Thx a lot for this archive. ... "a successful business man, not a NIGGER,". Is he suggesting that a "Nigger" can be bitten?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The last tweets of Ian

          It suggests he was a racist. Flattening all my Debian machines and putting W10 on them

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: The last tweets of Ian

          From the context I'm fairly certain what he was saying was that black people in the USA get treated like this all the time and maybe people will start to take action against police brutality when the see it happening to a rich, white male.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The last tweets of Ian

            he didn't use the word black though did he? he used a derogatory term that has no place in modern day society

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The last tweets of Ian

        Hmmmm... scant sign of any "threatening suicide" in there. ...

        It's not near the top, doing a text search in the page for "committing suicide tonight" will take you to the start.

      2. VinceH

        Re: The last tweets of Ian

        "although its "last update" date leaves cause to wonder..."

        Referring to:

        ">>> Last update of whois database: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 13:29:06 GMT <<< "

        There's nothing to see there. That's not when the record was updated, but the database as a whole. For example, I can do a whois on one of my own domains, and even though no changes have been made to the domain in a very long time, the last line of the report says:

        ">>> Last update of whois database: Thu, 31 Dec 2015 10:42:04 GMT <<<"

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The last tweets of Ian

      You missed the one where he used the N word

  13. Steven Raith


    I was only a recent convert to 'straight' debian (After years of Ubuntu - the popularity of which is a testament to Debians solid foundations) and I feel rather affected by this.

    Far too young, and doubtless had more to give. Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

    All the best to his family at what is doubtless a troubling and upsetting time.

    Steven R

    1. PaulFrederick

      Re: Gah.

      Genuine Debian is the best. Enjoy it.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Gah.

        Debian has always been my distro of choice. I have stated using Mint lately just because the interface is so nice and everything is set up so well by default, but that's built on Debian and would be nothing without it.

        I am deeply sorry that Ian has passed away and in such difficult circumstances. I never knew him but I feel I can almost recognize the experience of someone with a real engineer mind - one that not only wants but needs things to be right and to for things to be worked out rationally. For such a person, coming head on into police brutality and those that, if his words are genuine, "are only interested in power for power's sake", must have been deeply traumatic.

        I'm sorry for his passing and thank him for what he contributed to the software world which was exceptional.

        I hope justice will be served.

    2. R Callan

      Re: Gah.

      I am a similar case, except I went from Mepis to Debian. Mepis updates have become non-existant recently and i was a little worried about the lack of security updates particularly.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Regardless of the background

    This is just another worrying incident in which the US police have been involved. We keep hearing of them killing mentally disturbed people (in the most recent case killing a completely uninvolved bystander as well), as well as people who were behaving completely legally but happened to be black. The US police seem to be increasingly militarised and increasingly unaccountable. It's entirely possible that an encounter with them could have disastrous consequences even if the victim wasn't actually killed at the scene.

    There were questions around the death of Alan Turing (at a similar age) in which suicide was never conclusively demonstrated, after his own involvement on the wrong end of the criminal justice system.

    This is another tragedy, and it needs to be properly investigated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Regardless of the background

      It seems like they've worked out they can avoid being accused of racism if they meet a quota of white victims too.

    2. Quortney Fortensplibe

      Re: Regardless of the background

      The worrying thing is that they're not just "The US Police". As recent court cases have shown, they're The World Police, because US law applies globally. So don't think you're safe from this kind of treatment, just because you're not unfortunate enough to live in the US.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Regardless of the background

        @Quortney Fortensplibe

        You are close to the mark. I once saw American DEA Agents take down a suspect in Amsterdam Central Station, that might have been 10 years ago too. As an American I recognized the uniforms. I had a friend who liked cop shows...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Condolences to Mr Murdock's family. I didn't know him, but my life has been greatly enriched by the software suite started by him, and by its derivative. If injustices were committed against Ian Murdock that ultimately caused his death, may those responsible be found and prosecuted.

    You shall be remembered, Ian Murdock, with much love and respect for how you made the world that little bit better for all of us..

    1. lambda_beta

      Re: Condolences

      Well put.


  16. AlejandroLieber

    He remainds me the life of computer genius Phil Katz

    The genius who built a multimillion-dollar software company known

    worldwide for its pioneering "zip" files had died of acute

    pancreatic bleeding caused by chronic alcoholism.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear big D

    Why couldn't you have taken Rupert instead?

  18. The Empress

    According to MSNBC

    Global warming takes another one.

  19. @non

    Move along...

    Nothing to see here folks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Move along...

      Are you a complete asshole or just doing a good impression of one ?

      1. Nunyabiznes

        Re: Move along...

        Sarcasm? Maybe, IDK.

  20. a_yank_lurker


    Ian's contributions will be remembered for many years particularly in Debian.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    This smells to high heaven.

    The community should not let up on the police until every last detail of this affair has been made public, and by that I mean very widely known.

    1. Bleu

      Re: This smells to high heaven.

      My opinion, not that it is worth much, your 'community' should not let up until the facts come out.

      OTOH, cops can be arseholes, anywhere, but not everywhere.

      Seems to me to be a plain case of suicide.

      Read the article a little more closely.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Re: This smells to high heaven.

        Let us conspire:

        Freedom, internets, sheriff of youtube, tweets.

        What more proof do we need?


  22. Amorous Cowherder


    42 is not an age to pass on, at 42 your life is really only getting started. Very tragic.

  23. PaulFrederick

    More Information than I have seen anywhere else

    Yet still so many unanswered questions. What possessed Ian to try to enter his neighbor's house? I need more information before I can attain any kind of closure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More Information than I have seen anywhere else

      He said he knocked on their door, not anything about trying to enter their house.

      Has there been any comment from the neighbour, if they were home when (if) he knocked?

  24. dharmalena

    sex offenders in law enforcement an epidemic!

    Sexual assault is a huge problem in law enforcement especially In St. Petersburg Florida. There is grass roots movement throughout the state to cover up all official crimes. And it's up to the local Sheriff of each county if they want to cover up the crime or not. But the sexual perverts know how to conspire with judges to use their status to force all Sheriffs of any county to defer to sexual perverts in law enforcement.

    Now It becomes a total state corruption because the governor defers to elected Sheriffs to deal with crimes in their county as they see fit. The Ag of the state defers to the governor and nothing is done to the growing problem of sexual perverts in law enforcement!

    The only solution officials see as logical is continue to attack any victims of official sexual misconduct- crimes to keep them quiet.

    Since law enforcement has open access to intelligence, all politicians feel threatened to conform to the sexual perversion unless they want their families violated as well.

    The federal government won't do anything because they want to promote minorities rights and arresting official sexual perverts who have protected statuses are not consider a solution at this point in time. So the victim continues to get jacked up the backside, horrendously abused, family attacked until they learn to be quiet about sexual predators in law enforcement.

    My family has been experiencing ongoing crimes since 2001. The goal is to drive victims to suicide through ongoing aggravated stalking to exploit mental state to use as an excuse the victim must be mental!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Police Murder Again.

    Being a reader of PINAC, combined with his last tweets, and the principles of Occams razor, it police murder again.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Mental illness

    I agree with AC above, mental illness is not necessarily the cause of suicide.

    One day I was just sitting at home, not particularly stressed or anxious, when without warning an overwhelming desire to kill myself occurred.

    I can only describe it as if someone had dropped "the bell-jar of doom" over me. It was intense, there seemed no purpose to continue living. This horrible mood probably only lasted 10 minutes but was the longest 10 minutes of my life.

    What saved me was my belief in re-incarnation, the thought that I would have to go through the process of being re-born and learning all that stuff again. Scoff if you will but it worked for me.

    My condolences to Ian's family and friends.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mental illness

      I've had the belljar of doom. Except mine was more like accidently poking a hole into the dark dimension. Luckly it was just before bedtime and I was knackered, because I woke up perfectly normal next morning.

      People who write off all suicides as mental illness haven't seen it.

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: Mental illness

        Is there, and I ask in the spirit of enquiry not judgement, any distinction save time scale between a brief "disturbance" and long term mental illness?

        We go through brief physical (for want of better word) illnesses like 24-hour flu and also fortnight long norovirus (winter vomiting bug) , a twisted ankle and extended periods of arthritis.

        1. Tom 7

          Re: Mental illness

          Infections can cause depression - most infections produce nasty by products that make you feel crap. Many of them can be psychoactive or later cascade to psychoactive breakdown products. Antibiotics can seriously change peoples outlook on life by killing off bacteria and upsetting the balance of flora in our systems.

          We tend to treat the symptoms cos the cause is invisible.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mental illness

          We go through brief physical (for want of better word) illnesses like 24-hour flu and also fortnight long norovirus (winter vomiting bug) ...

          Way off topic here, but a tip from a co-worker helped me with this some years ago. Any time you have a stomach complaint where you feel you may have eaten something bad (eg dodgy chinese), immediately go and buy a pack of Yakult. It has seven little containers in it, that you'd normally drink (1 per day). Drink 3 of those containers right away. Chances are, the stomach problem will lighten up and disappear completely from about 30-40 minutes later. If not, go to a doctor.

          I haven't had any kind of food poisoning/upset stomach/gastro in the years since. And it's been quite a few years. Also turned on other work mates to this stuff, when they come in to work sick with stomach things... they magically get better too. ;)

          Side note - Tried several other brands of bio-active stuff too, but nothing apart from Yakult has actually worked, so I just stick to that. Most Sainsbury's stock it, many Tesco as well. Hopefully that's useful. :)

          1. Bleu

            Re: Mental illness

            Ha, ha.

            The cheaper copies also work, at least in Japan. Yakult verges on cult religion territory.

            If the product doesn't also come by bicycle delivery, with a very plain but never ugly woman delivering the products, you are missing out out out on half of the phenomenom.

            Frow western literature, their uniforms are like a cross between

            Orwell's Anti-sex League and Huxley's lower beta or gamma types.

            I must give you a vote, I am impressed that Yakult is making progress overseas!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Mental illness

              "The cheaper copies also work, at least in Japan. Yakult verges on cult religion territory."

              It must be magic. The bacteria it contains cannot function in stomach acid, so any of them that survive as spores will need to wait till they are passed out of the stomach before becoming functional. That takes rather more than 30-40 minutes.

              Probiotics may have beneficial effects - I can't prove otherwise - but we are talking days or weeks not minutes. If what the stomach needs is a dose of lactic acid, you can get that from quite ordinary yoghurt much more cheaply.

              However - depression caused by infections. Bacterial toxins can make you feel very, very ill indeed. Gut flora may produce these toxins and then the normal state of a gut full of bugs turns into a disease. Treating an E coli infection with a lot of antibiotics may even be fatal because the bacteria, as they die, release lots of toxins in a short space of time.

              Urinary infections can produce the symptoms of dementia, and hallucinations.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Mental illness

                It must be magic. ...

                Yeah, I get the theory. In reality though, whatever's in Yakult actually works, in the timeframe I gave. Repeatedly. ;)

                Obviously you have knowledge in this area that's better than me. You should be able to devise a simple way of testing it for yourself. If you can be bothered, please do. :)

              2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

                Re: Mental illness



    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mental illness

      A torrent of shit and relying on alcohol can push you to the edge. I was there on October 5th 2011, the day that Steve Jobs died. Couldn't see any future, absolute rock bottom and tried to take my life. Ended up in hospital for two weeks, but 4 years on, things are better than they have ever been.

      Never, ever, ever give up!

    3. Wayland Sothcott 1

      Re: Mental illness

      That sounds like an external force affecting you. Maybe you ate something toxic or a cist burst in your body or someone was beaming microwaves at you. Did you feel physically unwell or was it all emotional?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some human decency needed here...

    Conclusion jumping has reached new heights, I see. This man's barely cold and you're all trying to pin it on the cops somehow. It's distasteful, and it's disrespectful to his memory. I had a colleague who had a nervous breakdown, and this series of events, the paranoia and confusion of his communications and the brushes with law enforcement remind me of that event. (I'm anonymously posting to hide that person's identity, not mine - mental illness is a stigma, especially in careers where you're paid to think)

    'A private matter' means exactly that. No conspiracy, just grief at sudden loss. If there was any hint of wrongdoing, do you really expect that everyone close to Murdock would refuse to comment?

    If I were his neighbour, I wouldn't comment on the matter either (assuming that they were even at home at the time), but not to sustain some conspiracy, but out of normal human decency towards someone whose last days on earth were clearly very troubled.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Some human decency needed here...

      Whilst I respect his right to privacy, I don't think it's disrespectful to him to consider that the police were a factor in his death given that his last communications were a very public shout-out to his followers that the police had abused him and that he wanted the rest of his life to be about ending police brutality. If anything, from what he wrote, condemnation of the police is what he would have wanted.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some human decency needed here...

      If a murder victim leaves a message that her husband did it you expect him to be investigated, not for people to suggest that he be left alone out of respect for his dead wife. Why would this be any different? His final messages are crystal clear.

    3. Wayland Sothcott 1

      Re: Some human decency needed here...

      So it would be normal for a neighbour not to comment, fair enough but the lack of comments does not mean lack of something to comment on. You can't say "someone would have said something" if the police are victimizing people who make reports to the police. Saying something is the very thing they would not do if the police did him in.

  28. billium

    What a sad end to the year.

    Thoughts and best wishes to Ian's family and friends.

    Debian Stretch user.

  29. Michael Habel


    Sad to see such talent disapear like that.Kinda makes me wonder just how flawed the open source community is? Thinking of that other guy who built RiserFS.

    On another note does anyone even bother with Diebian (Outside of Ubuntu), anymore? it seems to me they might as well merge together, and call it Debuntu. As if you need some info on how to do something in Debian. 99% of the time its been answered on their Forums.

    1. Roo

      Re: RIP

      "On another note does anyone even bother with Diebian (Outside of Ubuntu), anymore ?"

      Poor taste.

      Have a downvote for failing to correct bad-taste spelling.

      1. Tom 7

        Re: RIP

        Plonker - there are more copies of Raspbian running in my daughters primary school than there are windows now.,

    2. Snar

      Re: RIP

      Why does Ians death make you "wonder how flawed the open source community is"?

    3. Wayland Sothcott 1

      Re: RIP

      Debian is a good platform on which to build your own distro. SteamOS for instance or use the Perfect Debian Server instructions to be lead through the build process from the ssh prompt.

    4. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Re: RIP

      Was going to reply earlier, but was busy- came back to see others had made very similar points to those I'd intended.

      If you hadn't posted this under (nominally) your own name via an established account, I'd have dismissed it as a troll, or at least a transparent attempt to smear the open-source community under some vague premise.

      You're taking two very different cases, comparing Ian Murdock's situation with that of the guy that killed his wife, and then you're using these isolated cases as the basis for suspicion regarding the (huge) open source community in general? Seriously?

      And yeah, I thought that the whole thing was somewhat inappropriate at this time as well; I wasn't sure whether to give you the benefit of the doubt on whether "Diebian" was a typo or not.

      1. 404

        Re: RIP

        I know exactly where he was going and I'll use the terminology: 'The creative class within the open source community in general is subject to societal pressures that make them less likely to deal with a non-linear problem in a non-destructive way.' There. Pure drivel. But it sounds good and sciency.

        Suicide is private and very immediate, been there but have considered since that i would prefer an honor guard with my passing. Anyone notice an uptick in shootings lately? It's universal, we dun gone crazy.


    We see so far because we are standing on the shoulders of giants...

    ...Ian Murdock was one of the giants.

  31. Wayland Sothcott 1

    Deb + Ian excellent OS

    I am sad and concerned that this high profile person has been killed. When you hear of suicide threats you think oh yeah he did it. But then if you're going to remove an obstacle to closed source spyware being placed in the OS you would want it to look like suicide so you would plant that meme.

  32. Unicornpiss

    I think it's a shame

    ...that he died, and IF he was mentally ill and suicidal that no one was there at the crucial moment to help him. His last hours of life seem to have been spent in a depressed, confused state, and no one should have to go through that, not even counting what his family and close friends must be going through right now.

    If you assault a police officer, you are normally not going to be treated well by them, regardless of if you're altered, confused, or just an asshole. Unfortunately most cops in my experience are going to subdue first and ask questions later, not make much of a distinction. If you're in a more enlightened area you may just get "Tased" or restrained, if you're in a more backwards area where spelling your name correctly is apparently all you need to become a cop, you may get severely beaten or killed. This is unfortunately life in every part of the world, not just the US.

    Not knowing the whole story, it appears that Mr. Murdock was having a bad time of things. He was apparently arrested and let go once, then again later. It sounds like he may have killed himself, which is a damn shame. As most of us that have been depressed know, even a day can make a huge difference if you can get through the rough patch.

    It is a sad testament to genius that the most driven, intelligent, visionary people often live the most torturous lives and self destruct. Even the not so genius in our field seem to have a much higher incidence of dying young.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think it's a shame

      "If you assault a police officer, you are normally not going to be treated well by them"

      You clearly haven't had any dealings with the police. Assault charges do not necessarily mean that the accused did any assaulting whatsoever. Assault charges are commonly used to pre-emptively discredit a witness and weaken their case for suing the tits off of the police for THEIR assault. And there is also the "assaulting the policeman's boot with your face/head/privates" flavour too. This will happen when the victim is either alone or when any witnesses are not going to come forward; and basically comes down to the word of the victim versus the word of several policemen; who will be backing each other up.

      This has happened to me and quite apart from the travesty of justice; being thoroughly stitched up by the very people who are paid to stop that sort of thing; and the -basically- being forced to pay for being beaten up there is a longer-term danger in that "assaulting the police" becomes part of your records...this ensures that any future dealings are likely to go badly....even "good" police will see that assault charge and will not know how genuine it is, so will be more hair-trigger in their approach and the bad ones will just straight up come out swinging.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He sounds like a man committed to exposing police abuse, certainly not suicidal.

  34. AyaVeg

    So sad

    Sending my condolences to his family.

    This is the time to say thank you to the man that created my favorite operation system.

    I have been using Debian for the last 15 years.


  35. mIRCat

    A revolutionary

    Goodbye sir. So long and thanks for all the Debians.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    SSRIs are not necessarily the answer, and if they are an answer, they're not in every case; but in many and possibly all cases a low serotonin level is involved. You can experience a plunging serotonin equilibrium and become suicidal. Then a few days later return to more-or-less 'normal' with no longer thinking of ending your life.

    It is an appalling thought, how many people surely kill themselves who would not have a few days later. Especially with easy access to firearms (I say this as a firearms enthusiast. It is the only aspect of free availability of guns that troubles me).

    My hunch is that the vast majority of suicides would not have killed themselves if they'd waited it out another week or two. Of course, they all needed support.

  37. pewpie

    Only recently discovered the joys of Debian.. this is shitty news of the highest order.

  38. Kiwi

    1st Lemmy, now...

    Two people who helped shape my life (Lemmy was a huge influence on my musical tastes and how I play Bass), one I never realised was in my own age group.

    My first taste of Linux was probably Knoppix for a rescue job, but I was soon using Debian when I began to build servers, and in time began using it indirectly when I started with Ubuntu. I also used Debian to bring new life to old hardware, including a machine that'd had an argument with a lightning bolt and would not run XP for more than a few seconds (something I assumed with Debian only using a generic driver whereas Windows used a driver that tried to make full use of the damaged hardware, and crashed as a result)

    Like so many others, his actions led to something that changed my life, something that I benefited from in a very significant way.

    Ian, sir, you did a great thing for so many. You and your family have a lot to be proud of. Thank you for all you did to make this world a better place.

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