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RIP Ian Murdock

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  • Ian Murdock has died
  • In Memoriam: Ian Murdock

    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. To Ian’s children, family and loved ones, we offer our full support and deepest sympathies.

  • Debian founder and Docker employee Ian Murdock has died at 42

    Docker today announced that Ian Murdock, a member of the startup’s technical staff and a former Sun and Salesforce employee known for founding the Debian Linux operating system, has passed away. He was 42.

    A cause of death was not provided in the blog post announcing the news. Docker declined to comment. The San Francisco Police Department did not immediately have information on Murdock’s cause of death.

    Murdock’s Twitter account posted several tweets (PDF) on Monday that suggested he had been involved in an incident involving police, and one tweet said that he would commit suicide that night. Some people speculated that his account had been hacked. It has since been deleted.

  • APT 1.1.8 to 1.1.10 – going “faster”

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More on the sad news

  • R.I.P Ian Murdock, Founder of Debian Linux, Dead at 42

    The cause of death is unclear at present, but Murdock tweeted the same day that he would commit suicide that night. His Twitter account had since been deleted.

  • Debian Founder Ian Murdock Passes Away

    On Monday via Twitter he was threatening suicide over alleged police abuse in California. His Twitter account has since been removed. Other information about his suicide or alleged police detention and abuse has yet to be made public.

  • Debian mourns the passing of Ian Murdock

    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.

  • Debian founder Ian Murdock dead: Tributes pour in from colleagues

    Debian GNU/Linux founder Ian Murdock has died.

    Murdock, who lived in San Francisco, founded the open-source distro in 1993, and just recently started working for Docker in the city.

    "It is with great sadness that we inform you that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night," Docker CEO Ben Golub blogged a few moments ago on Wednesday.

More on the story

  • Open Source Pioneer Ian Murdock Dead at 42

    Murdock, who died at the age of 42, is best known professionally as founder of the Debian project. Debian is one of the three most widely used Linux distros and one of the first ones ever created. He started the project in the early 90s, when he was a student at Purdue University.

  • Ian Murdock, Debian GNU/Linux Founder, Passed Away

    It would also appear the Mr. Murdock's Twitter account was closed today.

  • Linux Pioneer Ian Murdock Dead at 42

    Ian Murdock, the 42-year-old programming phenom who developed the Debian Linux operating system back in the early days of open-source software, died Monday night.

    The news was disclosed in a blog post by his employer, Docker, the San Francisco company that sells services associated with a popular open-source software tool for businesses. Murdock joined Docker as a technical staff member in November, according to his LinkedIn profile. Docker founder and chief technology officer Solomon Hykes tweeted about Murdock’s death (below).

More pours in

  • In Memory of Ian Murdock

    Although Ian and my paths crossed relatively infrequently, over the years we became friends. His tremendous work in Debian was an inspiration for my own work in Ubuntu. At times when I was unsure of what to do in my work, Ian would share his guidance and wisdom. He never asked for anything in return. He never judged. He always supported the growth of Open Source and Free Software. He was precisely the kind of person that makes the Open Source and Free Software world so beautiful.

  • Ian Murdock, father of Debian, dead at 42

    Inquiries to the San Francisco Police Department by Ars went unanswered.

  • Debian Linux founder Ian Murdock dies at 42, cause unknown

    Murdock wrote that he had been assaulted by the police, had his clothes ripped off, and told, "We're the police, we can do whatever the fuck we want." He also wrote, "they beat the shit out of me twice, then charged me $25,000 to get out of jail for battery against THEM."

    This implies he had been arrested and booked at an area court. He may also have actually been in jail. I have been unable to find a record of the arrest.

    Murdock also vented his anger at the police. "(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 imurdock@imurdock.com if you can help. -ian"

    After leaving the courtroom, presumably a magistrate court, Murdock tweeted that he had been followed home by the police and assaulted again.

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

OSI, FOSS Force, More...

  • OSI Mourns Co-Founder Ian Murdock

    The OSI Board is very sad to note the death of Ian Murdock. As well as founding the Debian GNU/Linux distribution in 1993 (Debian obituary), Ian was a co-founder of the Open Source Initiative and was the original Board Secretary named in our Articles of Incorporation. A charismatic and visionary leader, Ian influenced many community and commercial projects and was a friend of many former and current OSI Directors and Members.

  • Debian Founder and Docker Employee Ian Murdock Apparently Dead at 42

    The news of Murdock’s apparent death was first made public in a blog post on the Docker website. However, at about 4:20 p.m. the page announcing the death became unavailable. We are not certain at this time whether that’s because the site has been overloaded with traffic or because the page has been taken down. As other pages on the site are working, we suspect the later.

  • Debian Creator Ian Murdock Dead At 42

    Ian Murdock – the ‘ian’ in Debian – was found dead at his home in San Francisco on Monday. The cause is yet unknown.

Pioneer Ian Murdock Dead After Extraordinary Police Brutality

More From the News

The latest

2016 articles

Today's latest

  • Op-Ed: Ian Murdock, developer of Debian, dead at forty-two

    If Murdock had more visibility as a celebrity, the press would be all over the story.

  • Ian Murdock Did Have An Altercation With Police Before His Death
  • Debian Linux Founder Ian Murdock Dead at 42, After Police Run-Ins
  • Ian Murdock, founder of Debian, passes away at 42

    While the exact cause of Murdock's death is not known, his family has requested for privacy.

  • Debian Linux Founder Ian Murdock Found Dead In Apparent Suicide Following Multiple Police Encounters
  • Millionaire tech guru dies in mysterious circumstances after tweeting series of astonishing police brutality allegations

    A wealthy computer expert has been found dead following an encounter with police which left him hospitalised.

    Ian Murdock, a millionaire software engineer famed for his work on a free operating system called Debian, took to Twitter before his death and published a number of astonishing police brutality allegations.

    In a long series of social media posts, the 42-year-old father claimed "uneducated, evil, and sadistic" cops attacked him.

  • Thank you ancenstor

    When I found out that our founding father died it really was hard for me.

  • Police Proved That Ian Murdock Death Is An Apparent Suicide

    Public concern about Murdock’s well being grew on Sunday when, in a series of posts on Twitter, he vaguely described a violent encounter with San Francisco police, accusing the department of beating him up and sexually assaulting him during an arrest.

  • Ian Murdock dead

    Ian Murdock was best known as the creator of Debian. He’s someone I met back when I was first getting into Linux, some years after I’d published my first Open Source program. I’d tried SLS and Slackware (early Linux distributions) first, and then Debian, back when Ian was the sole developer of the core system and there were less than 50 package maintainers. It was Ian’s idea to create a non-profit Linux distribution when other distribution creators were attempting to cash in, and to make it all Free Software. 23 years later, I still run Debian on all of my systems and type this on one of them.

    [...]

    I remember writing a recommendation for him when he was taking a research position at U. of Arizona: “Ian is one of those rare people who can make something from nothing”. That he was. Although Debian was, and remains, the work of many people, Ian has the sole credit for its origination, and the impact of Debian has been tremendous although not always well-understood by the public who benefit from it. Much good software that you use today happened because of Debian, and my own work on Open Source was because of my involvement in Debian.

    Later on, I hired Ian to be CEO of Progeny Linux Systems, and my company arranged funding for Progeny. My concept for Progeny was to create a commercially supported Debian system, not unlike the Ubuntu system today. With the cooperation of his stockholders, the Simon group (known for their shopping malls), Ian departed from that concept and attempted to build a business based upon a distributed filesystem that he and a partner had been researching at Arizona.

Slowing down now

  • Debain Linux OS creator Ian Murdock passes away at 42

    Ian Murdoch is known for creating the Debian Linus OS, one of the most popular open-source operating systems, passed away at the age of 42. Debian was started in August 1993 by Ian. Murdoch also worked at Sun and founded Docker, an app development company.

  • In memoriam: Ian Murdock

    It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Ian Murdock. I have never had the chance to meet him. Several persons testify for his kindness and talent. We will always remember him. His legacy influences our lives everyday!

More from today

This week so far...

  • Linux Community Mourns the Passing of Ian Murdock

    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.

  • Ian “Debian” Murdock now lifeless after threatening suicide

    A lot of gossips had surfaced out about what Murdock executed quickly before he succumbed to death, though they are not established yet. According boingboing.net Murdock had been detained, probably more than once, and had been injured by the police during those circumstances.

  • Debian Linux founder Ian Murdock dies at 42

    Every bit of every tech company comes from the vision and brains of a certain man, the inventor, the visionary, the founder. And what has become a norm and a successful company we all benefit from is the fruit of their labor, sometimes we don’t even give them credit for that and for making our lives easier. The loss of a great young man will be mourned throughout the tech world much like the death of Steve Jobs.

  • Ian Murdock's Significance to Free and Open Source Software History

    Ian Murdock, one of the unsung heroes of the free/open source software revolution and founder of the semi-eponymous Debian GNU/Linux operating system, has died. He leaves behind an important but little appreciated legacy as a programmer who helped bridge the gap between the Free Software Foundation and the Linux kernel in its early days.

Rebuttal to the police

  • The great life of Ian Murdock and police brutality in context

    The report talks about somebody "trying to break into a residence". Let's translate that from the spin-doctor-speak back to English: it is the silly season, when many people have a couple of extra drinks and do silly things like losing their keys. "a residence", or just his own home perhaps? Doesn't the choice of words make the motive sound so much more sinister? Nobody knows the full story, so snippets of information like this are not helpful.

    [...]

    If having a few drinks and losing your keys in December is such a sorry state to be in, many of us could potentially be framed in the same terms at some point in our lives. That is one of the reasons I feel so compelled to write this: it is not just Ian who has suffered an injustice here, somebody else could be going through exactly the same experience at the moment you are reading this. Any of us could end up facing an assault as brutal as the tweets imply at some point in the future. At least I can console myself that as a privileged white male, the risk to myself is much lower than for those with mental illness, the homeless, transgender, Muslim or black people but as Ian appears to have discovered, that risk is still very real.

    [...]

    A select number of US police forces have been shamed around the world for a series of incidents of extreme violence in recent times, including the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, shooting Walter Scott in the back, death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and the attempts of Chicago's police to run an on-shore version of Guantanamo Bay. Beyond those highly violent incidents, the world has also seen the abuse of Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim schoolboy arrested for his interest in electronics and in 2013, the suicide of Aaron Swartz which appears to be a direct consequence of the "Justice" department's obsession with him.

    What have the police learned from all this bad publicity? Are they changing their methods, or just hiring more spin doctors? If that is their response, then doesn't it leave them with a big advantage over somebody like Ian who is now deceased?

    [...]

    When British police executed Jean Charles de Menezes on a crowded tube train and realized they had just done something incredibly outrageous, their PR office went to great lengths to try and protect their image, even photoshopping images of Menezes to make him look more like some other suspect in a wanted poster. To this day, they continue to refer to Menezes as a victim of the terrorists, could they be any more arrogant? While nobody believes the police woke up that morning thinking "let's kill some random guy on the tube", it is clear they made a mistake and like many people (not just police), they immediately prioritized protecting their reputation over protecting the truth.

    Nobody else knows exactly what Ian was doing and exactly what the police did to him. We may never know. However, any disparaging comments from the police should be viewed with some caution.

    [...]

    Worldwide, there is an increasing trend to make incarceration as degrading as possible. People may be innocent until proven guilty, but this hasn't stopped police in the UK from locking up and strip-searching over 4,500 children in a five year period, would these children go away feeling any different than if they had an encounter with Jimmy Saville or Rolf Harris? One can only wonder what they do to adults.

    What all this boils down to is that people shouldn't really be incarcerated unless it is clear the danger they pose to society is greater than the danger they may face in a prison.

    [...]

    Recording incidents of police activities can also make a huge difference, such as the video of the shooting of Walter Scott or the UK police making a brutal unprovoked attack on a newspaper vendor. Don't just walk past a violent situation and assume the police are the good guys. People making recordings may find themselves in danger, it is recommended to use software that automatically duplicates each recording, preferably to the cloud, so that if the police ask you to delete a recording (why would they?), you can let them watch you delete it and still have a copy.

  • Tribute to Debian Founder, Ian Murdock

    Whilst specific circumstances surrounding his passing have not been officially released, there are indications that Ian Murdock had taken his own life. Absolutely tragic and deeply saddening for Ian’s family, friends, colleagues and all of the free and open-source software community.

  • Debian Linux Founder Ian Murdock Dead At 42, Reportedly Committed Suicide

    Prior to his death, Murdock posted a series of bizarre tweets on his Twitter page, leading some people to suspect that his account has been hacked. Murdock’s Twitter page may no longer be available, but the snapshot of the said page reveals that Murdock had what appeared to be a violent altercation with police before his death. Info Q reports that the Debian Linux founder apparently had an unpleasant encounter with the San Francisco police department.

In memory of Ian Murdock

  • In memory of Ian Murdock

    In an entertaining read on his blog Ian recounts how in the winter of 1992 he met Linux

  • Debian Domination, Unstable Fedora, Simple Elementary

    The loss of Ian Murdock is still making the headlines, but not much new has come to light. The police did issue a public statement, but didn't really say anything new. They acknowledged Murdock's arrests and subsequent suicide, but claim there is no connection and Murdock's injuries were self-inflicted. Murdock's family is still silent and requesting privacy. The Debian project yesterday posted a second memorial (third if you count the mention in last week's project news) to Murdock, this time remembering his contributions to Linux and the Open Source philosophy.

  • Debian Founder And Open Source Visionary Ian Murdock Dies At 42

Even Weeks Later

  • Ian Murdock, Debian Linux Founder Dies Aged 42

    The cause of Murdock’s death is still unclear, but tweets from his now deleted Twitter account stated his intention to take his own life. Reports have since surfaced that Ian Murdock had been involved in a police investigation, and that he had also been charged with assaulting an officer.

  • How To Talk About Mental Illness Online?

    Shortly after the death of Debian founder Ian Murdock, Bruce Perens, who succeeded Murdock as Debian Project Leader in 1996 and was also Murdock's employer for a period of time, claimed very publicly that Murdock died of mental illness, although no evidence has been provided. Without referencing Murdock or Perens, another prominent Debian Developer, Daniel Pocock, has asserted that discussion about who has or had a mental illness is a step too far.

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