Rest In Peace, Atul Chitnis
Today, very sad news has reached me: Atul Chitnis has passed away. Most people outside of India will most likely not recognize the name: He has been instrumental in pineering the BBS community in India, and the founder and leader of the Linux Bangalore and later FOSS.in conferences, held annually in Bangalore.
I myself first met Atul about ten years ago, and had the honor of being invited to speak at many of the conferences he was involved in. Besides that professional connection, we became friends. The warmth and affection with which I was accepted by him and his family during my many trips to Bangalore is without comparison. I was treated and accepted like a family member, despite just being this random free software hacker from Germany who is always way too busy to return the amount of kindness.
Despite the 17 year age difference, there was a connection between the two of us. Not just the mutual respect for each others' work, but something else. It might have been partially due to his German roots. It might have been the similarities in our journey through technology. We both started out in the BBS community with analog modems, we both started to write DOS software in the past, before turning to Linux. We both became heavily involved in mobile technology around the same time: He during his work at Geodesic, I working for Openmoko. Only in recent years his indulgence in Apple products was slightly irritating ;)
Only five weeks ago I had visited Atul. Given the state of his health, it was clear that this might very well be the last time that we meet each other. I'm sad that this now actually turned out to become the thruth. It would have been great to meet again at the end of the year (the typical FOSS.in schedule).
My heartfelt condolences to his family. Particularly to his wonderful wife Shubha, his daughther Anjali, his mother and brother. [who I'm only not calling by their name in this post as they deserve some privacy and their Identities is not listed on Atuls wikipedia page].
Atul was 51 years old. Way too young to die. Yet, he has managed to created a legacy that will extend long beyond his life. He profoundly influenced generations of technology enthusiasts in India and beyond.
- CIOL: Open Soruce guru Atul Chitnis, 51, no more
- NDTV Gadgets: Shine on, You Crazy Diamond: Atul Chitnis (1962-2013)
- lwn.net notice
- dna India: Atul Chitnis's death moves people
- Firstpost: Indian tech world mounrs death of open source guru Atul Chitnis
- NextBigWhat: R.I.P Atul Chntins: The Man Who Changed the Open Source World