Ian Murdock, founder of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution project, has died at the age of 42. His death, announced in a blog post by Docker CEO Ben Golub, came after an apparent encounter with police and a statement posted on Murdock's Twitter feed that he was going to commit suicide, though no cause of his death has been given.
Paul Tagliamonte, a Debian developer and member of the Debian FTP Team who contributed to a Debian Project memorial post to Murdock, told Ars:
Debian was one of the first operating systems I've ever used, starting with Debian 2.2 ("woody") in middle school. Debian has shaped, in the most literal and direct way, the course of my life. Ian was a figure I looked up to, a central figure in defining the Debian Community, Social Contract, the Debian Free Software Guidelines, and the Open Source Initiative.With his passing, I can only hope he's found peace, reflect on the things he was able to do for the world, and think about the ways in which he's touched my life.
Murdock, born in Germany in 1973, founded Debian in 1993 while studying computer science at Purdue University. The distribution gets its name from the combination of his name and that of his then-girlfriend Deborah Lynn. The pair married, and had two children; they divorced in 2007.