R.I.P. Ian Murdock

Ian Murdock in 2008
Ian Murdock in 2008

Last Monday, December 28, Ian Murdock (photo ©Ilya Schurov), best known as the father of the Debian project, passed away.

Ian Murdock was born on April 28, 1973 in Konstanz, in the then West Germany. In 1993, while studying at Purdue University, where in 1996 he graduated in computer science, he launched the Debian project in the spirit of GNU project. The name is a combination of that of his then-girlfriend, Debra, and his.

Debian is mainly a GNU/Linux distribution and over time has become one of the most important with the support of several architectures and a huge bouquet of software. However, Debian also supports the GNU/Hurd operating system and for a time officially offered the GNU/kFreeBSD distribution, based on the FreeBSD kernel.

Over the years, Ian Murdock has held various positions in organizations related to free software and his work went beyond the Linux operating system. In 2007 he started working for Sun Microsystems, where he led the Indiana project to create an OpenSolaris distribution, a free version of the Solaris operating system. Murdock left the company when it was acquired by Oracle.

In November 2015, Ian Murdock started working for Docker, another open source project that produces a so-called software container.

Ian Murdock’s family asked to maintain privacy around the story but the circumstances surrounding his death are still to be clarified so it’s inevitable that it will be talked about again.

Ian Murdock’s life was far too short but his influence in the Linux world has been enormous. Debian is a GNU/Linux distribution of the highest quality much appreciated by professionals. It’s the basis of many other Linux distributions, starting with those of the Ubuntu family. Ian Murdock’s death is a great tragedy but his legacy is strong!

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