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Indian FOSS Evangelist Atul Chitnis Dead At 51

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the sad-news-travels dept.

Open Source 39

New submitter knwny writes "Atul Chitnis, the man who popularized open software in India, died on 3rd June of intestinal cancer. As a technology mentor, writer and public speaker he promoted Linux and FOSS since the late 1980s through his association with various tech magazines and conferences. He introduced Linux to thousands of PC Quest magazine readers by convincing them to carry the first ever Linux distribution in India on its cover CD in 1996."

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39 comments

Rest In Peace (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43904681)

Thank you Atul.
You were a great influence to Indian CS graduates.

I got introduced to Linux because of you when you gave out Free Slackware CDs.
Internet Connectivity in India, especially in academic institutions, was too slow to download anything significant.
You made it easy for our institution (NIT) to switch over to Linux.

You will be missed.

Re:Rest In Peace (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43904711)

This was in the later part of 1990s.

Re:Rest In Peace (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 10 months ago | (#43904813)

Does he have any other choice?

Re:Rest In Peace (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43904997)

He could rest in the agonizing slave-pits of Nycrama, the Zombifying Essence.

Re:Rest In Peace (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43905047)

Welp, they could have set him on fire and sent him down the river. What an orrible way to go.

Re:Rest In Peace (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43906591)

You won't have those options either when you die.

Re:Rest In Peace (2)

mrops (927562) | about 10 months ago | (#43906135)

I can second that, I was in second year Computer Engg and recall the fan fair when this issue was to be released. Our local shop was taking orders with pre-payment to reserve a copy. Got my first intro to Linux with this distribution, at 100 hr total internet access for the entire year, at 14.4kbps dial up speeds, there wouldn't haven been any other way.

Introduced Linux to my university as well as had an early exposure of this OS that is still paying the bills today in some form.

Ironic as it may be, I didn't know this person was behind it till now. RIP Atul.

afsos (2)

nagudaku (693285) | about 10 months ago | (#43904779)

may his soul rest in peace!

Re:afsos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43905331)

Hopefully he won't be in limbo, living out his last moments shitting in the streets of Mumbai.

A whole generation grew up with PCQ Linux (3, Informative)

Gopal.V (532678) | about 10 months ago | (#43905053)

I started using Linux before I got internet or was in a university. I wouldn't have started on Linux (and eventually interned at FSF India) if not for those streams of CDs that were available for a very expensive 100rs (approx 3$ back then).

This wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of toolz. And several others who were behind the curtain (I remember calling up the Digit phone # to ask for help with my i810 video card).

The result was a grass-roots up linux community that sprung up all over India, out of curiousity and tolerating lots of lost partitions.

Both toolz & OldMonk, linux-india old-timers recently lost to us, will not be forgotten (at least by me).

Re:A whole generation grew up with PCQ Linux (1)

rmadhuram (525803) | about 10 months ago | (#43907499)

Yes, well said. Very sad news. Atul's contribution to Indian Linux community is immeasurable. RIP Atul.

Re:A whole generation grew up with PCQ Linux (1)

kamathln (1220102) | about 10 months ago | (#43911743)

I can almost copy word to word there.

RIP Atul, you were one big soldier on the side of FOSS and hacking! Big - not the least because you needed t-shirts with multiple "x" in the size. You will be missed.

Multi-X T-shirt Desi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43914011)

Big - not the least because you needed t-shirts with multiple "x" in the size.

How did he get so big? Would that have a connection (pun not intended) to the cause of death? You can be sure that this will be cited by various Hindutva organizations as "morality theater" in support of vegetarianism.

Re:A whole generation grew up with PCQ Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43914069)

The result was a grass-roots up linux community that sprung up all over India, out of curiousity and tolerating lots of lost partitions.

Let's not talk about partitions . That only stirs up communalism .

Bloody Bastard KP044ST!

since the 80's? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43905153)

Promoting Linux since the late 80's, eh? Somebody better warn Linus that he's a plagiarist, then!

Experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43906723)

He also had 40 years of python and C# experience.

Re:since the 80's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43911757)

Promoting Linux since the late 80's, eh? Somebody better warn Linus that he's a plagiarist, then!

he was promoting hacking(the good side) and FOSS. Needless to say, he promoted Linux when it came to existence.

Java (2)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 10 months ago | (#43905335)

He was also responsible for promoting Java in the early 80s and dotNet in the 90s.

Re:Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43906763)

I think you are screwing up the timeline by like a decade.

Java started internally at SUN in 1990.
dotnet research started at MSFT in late 1990s.
 

Re:Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43908361)

Yep. Good ol' India, making braggart claims without any basis in reality. Seems to be par for the course there.

Re:Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43910415)

Okay, so his record wasn't perfect. Give him a break.

Just heard on the radio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43905339)

I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Just heard on the radio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43911765)

Dude! He is Indian!

RIP (1)

heteromonomer (698504) | about 10 months ago | (#43905503)

As someone who grew up reading your articles, I remember very well your contribution to my interest in PCs, hardware and eventually linux. Too bad and too young to die. RIP Atul.

Zippity doo da (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43905649)

Zippity yay

My, oh my, what a wonderful day!

Thanks for everything.. (2)

Codeyman (1098807) | about 10 months ago | (#43906373)

I got introduced to Linux at a university when no one even cared about Linux. PCQ with its stream of different distros, blug meets and FOSS.in (was called linux-bangalore when I attended it), and the various people I met, including Atul Chitnis, t3rmin4t0r(Gopal V), LaForge (Herald Welte), Brian Behlendorf.. all helped me mature as a linux user and eventually paved way for a career in Linux dev. Atul, with his team, was responsible for getting all the great geeks under one roof, even if they didn't agree with him. He wasn't a software developer, he wasn't a distro maintainer.. he hacked people! He was responsible for a generation of linux enthusiasts and made sure that they didn't turn into fanatics. Atul.. you'll be missed.

Re:Thanks for everything.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43908727)

And now you're spreading your curry-stink here in America. Yes thanks Atul, for helping privileged shit-suckers like Sridhar move here. Dell tech support will miss him and you.

Rest in peace, my friend! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43906385)

My first introduction to Linux was from Redhat and Slackware distros on the PC Quest magazine CDs in the 90s before (slow dialup) Internet access was prevalent in India. I used to eagerly await the PC Quest magazine every month to see if they would have the next Redhat release on their CDs. So long, Atul, and thanks for all the fish. You'll be missed.

Atul helped me when I was a networking n00b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43906869)

There was a time in the early '90s when I would email him some simple n00b questions about TCP/IP networking. Atul would always take the time to reply. Learnt loads thanks to him

RIP Atul!

Harold

Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43906961)

I remember reading the PC Quest article carrying the Linux CD on the cover in 1996.

Thank you so much. God bless.

Never heard of him. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43907489)

Far as I can tell, he's some sort of open source time traveler?

An early adopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43909407)

I sometimes get looked at like an early adopter of Linux (I compiled my first kernel -1.2.13- using Slackware in '94). Linux didn't first get started until '91, but GNU was around before then. I really looked around for Yggdrasil and Debian disks, but found Slackware. Its sad to see early adopters go, but at least their work is not in vain: thousands have come to embrace the technology and extend it to thousands more.

Fuck Yea! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43909447)

After looking at a picture of him. I have to say halelulah. See he is fat. (Over his recommended BMI). That must have been the cause of his death. See all fat people deserve to die. As a matter of fact according to our 'evidence' based medicine that is currently in vougue. The only reason people ever die is because they are either fat or smoke. It is impossible to die if you do neither of these. Steve Jobs is still alive, but Elvis is sadly dead. See I believe in modern science, and 'evidence'

Shure you may say that this comment is really not very sensical; But I would say It makes about as much sense as anything that has been said here in the last two years.

Mod me up mother-fuckers

We also lost Hugh Daniel (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 10 months ago | (#43911167)

Hugh Daniel also died June 3, apparently of a heart attack. Hugh did a lot of open-source work, particularly the FreeS/WAN IPSEC project. He was well-known for being part of the Cypherpunks and Project Xanadu, and also worked on recovering data from old secret police computer records for the recent Guatemala genocide trials.

Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43912537)

I came across PCQ Linux on the magazine cover when I was studying 10th or so I guess, and yes, the FOSS movement those days was very inspiring. I had very limited internet access - I used to go to a Internet cafe, usually at Rs.10 per half-an-hour, and bring back small linux distros on floppies to try out on my Pentium III desktop.. the floppies would usually get corrupted in the dust while walking back home, and I prayed to keep the data alive on them until I got back.. wow those were great adventures :)

Open source software taught me a great deal of things that I realize I'd never have got exposed to with equivalent closed source consumer software. A big thank you to all the FOSS evangelists who brought them to me during my early days with the computers.

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