The death of Ian Murdock, a FOSS proponent and advocate, has been ruled as a suicide. According to a report by CNN, the medical examiner’s report showd that Ian hanged himself about a day after he claimed on twitter that he was beaten severally by the police for “knocking” on the door of his neighbor.
For those of you that don’t know who Ian Murdock was, let’s take a little history lesson. Ian Murdock (IM) is popularly known for the creation of the Debian Linux in August 1993 (he is the “-ian” part of the name DEBian). He also wrote “The Debian Manifesto”, in January 1994, that pave the way for the definition of what “opensource” would be. Ian also worked with major tech companies over the years like Sun Microsystems and Linux Foundation. Before his death he was employed at Docker. His mysterious death December last year shook the tech world, taking it by surprise since he was very young and could have contributed more to FOSS. And it happened after writing very disturbing twitter posts against the police for the assault.
After being released by the police he tweeted: “I’m committing suicide tonight…” and unfortunately this has been proven to be what, later, really happened. As he was found the next day (after his twitter posts) face down lying naked on the stairs – and a vacuum cleaner electrical cord wound tightly around his neck. The autopsy record noted that his body was covered in bruises.
The growth and advancement of Debian Linux and free software in general would be a reminder of a great loss his death was.