Debian founder Ian Murdock passes away aged 42

December 31, 2015 // 11:40 a.m.

Tags: #abuse #arrest #death #debian #ian-murdock #obituary #police #suicide #twitter

Ian Murdock, founder of the popular and long-running Debian GNU/Linux distribution, has passed away aged 42 following the posting of messages suggesting he was planning to commit suicide following alleged police abuse.

Born on the 28th of April 1973 in Konstanz, West Germany, Murdock is best known for founding the Debian Linux distribution - named for himself and then-girlfriend Debra Lynn, giving DEB and IAN - in 1993. The Debian distribution has proven one of the longest-running and most-loved Linux distributions, and forms the basis of well-known distributions Ubuntu Linux and Linux Mint as well as numerous others ranging from specialist embedded platforms to gaming systems.

In messages posted to his personal Twitter account earlier this week, Murdock claimed to have experienced physical abuse at the hands of local police bad enough to drive him to suicide. 'I'm committing suicide tonight,' he posted to the since-deleted account. 'Do not intervene as I have many stories to tell and do not want them to die with me.' The initial message included the hashtag '#runnerkristy67,' not previously seen on Twitter, which has been suggested to be a username or password but is more likely to be a misspelling of the Twitter account '@runnerkristi67.'

Murdock proceeded to write messages claiming that police had 'beat me up for knowing [knocking] on my neighbour's door... they sent me to the hospital.' Murdock claims to have then been arrested for 'assault against a police officer' then bailed at $25,000. Murdock then went on to claim he would not be committing suicide until writing up his side of the case and posting it to his blog, but as of the announcement of his death no such post has been made.

Local police have confirmed that they attended a call in which a man identified as Ian Murdock was attempting to break into a home while intoxicated, and that following a fracas he was arrested and charged with two counts of assault and one of obstructing an officer. Murdock was released to hospital, then re-arrested following a second call on the same night claiming Murdock was hammering on the door of another home in the same area and was held in a cell until his bail was posted on Sunday.

Precise details of Murdock's death have not been released, and his family have asked that their privacy be respected in this matter.
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