Debian Linux Founder Ian Murdock Dead Within Hours Of Hinting At Suicide

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Ian Murdock, a pioneer of Open Source software who created the Debian GNU/Linux distribution project, has died at the age of 42 within hours of hinting at suicide.

Murdock's untimely death was announced in a blog post on the website of Docker, the technology startup in San Francisco, where he joined last month.

Docker CEO Ben Golub confirmed that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night, but did not specify the cause of death.

Murdock had made a series of sensational public claims in which he alleged he was the victim of a serious incident of police brutality. He had made multiple tweets about committing suicide, and accused another Twitter user of wanting him dead.

On Monday afternoon, he posted a string of distressing and erratic tweets, revealing he had been arrested by police near his home in the city, and charged $25,000 bail for assaulting a police officer. Murdock's Twitter account has since been disabled.

Ben Golub described Murdock's death as a tragic loss for the broader open source world.

His statement added: "Ian was perhaps best known professionally as the founder of the Debian project, which he created while still a student at Purdue University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in computer science in 1996. Debian was one of the first Linux distros to be forged, and it is widely regarded as a one of the most successful open-source projects ever launched. Ian helped pioneer the notion of a truly open project and community, embracing open design and open contribution; in fact the formative document of the open source movement itself (the Open Source Definition) was originally a Debian position statement."

Murdock had been CTO of the Linux Foundation, a senior leader at Sun Microsystems ; and most recently the vice president of Platforms at Indianapolis-based ExactTarget.

Born in Konstanz, West Germany, Murdock died in San Francisco, where he had been living.

Murdock married Debra Lynn in 1993, and they divorced in 2008.

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