My first blog entry for the Free Software Magazine is dedicated to someone important to free software.
Therefore, I would like you to pause for a moment here, and say a silent “thank you” to Ettore Perazzoli. Do it now, don’t go diving into Google to see who this guy is first, don’t just skip this paragraph, don’t do anything else. It’s a simple “thank you”, just trust me and say it.
I met Ettore at the PlutoMeeting 2000 in Terni, and I’ll never meet him again on Earth: Ettore died at the end of 2003 at the age of 29. He was a programmer at Ximian, and had his hands on many parts of what is currently your GNOME desktop: he contributed to Nautilus, and a lot of Evolution comes from his work. His last piece of software, f-spot, was committed to the CVS just two days before his death.
Why he died? How? I asked it myself many times, but no official answer was given.
At that PlutoMeeting he spoke about his work on Evolution, Camel, Bonobo... (if you are using Ubuntu Linux then these things are running over and under your desktop). He was great! He had the gift of clarity, and underwent two hours of questions before waving the white flag: “guys, sorry but I can’t go on, I am dead!”. I knew why he was so tired: we all went for a pizza the night before, and he arrived saying: “dammit! I messed with my laptop’s kernel and it went in panic! Not good, having to hold a talk tomorrow... It took me some three hours to have it sorted out!”
I can’t say I knew him deeply, but I felt he was a wonderful person. And from what his friends said and wrote, and still say and write, I know my feeling was right.
Therefore, if you are a GNOME user, say that “thank you” each time you start your desktop environment; if you are an Evolution user, do the same. If you are of any Christian confession, just thank our God that was so kind to give him to the world and say a little prayer for him; if you have other Gods or other confessions, do the same as appropriate for your religion. And if you have no religion, just say that “thank you”, it will suffice.