Ian Murdock

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Ian Murdock
Murdock, in interview, April 2008
BornIan Ashley Murdock
(1973-04-28)April 28, 1973
Konstanz, West Germany
DiedDecember 28, 2015(2015-12-28) (aged 42)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Cause of deathAsphyxiation due to suicide by hanging
Alma materPurdue University (BS)
Known forDebian
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Spouse Debra Lynn Roundy ​ ​(m. 1994; div. 2008)​
  • Lawrence L. Murdock PhD (father)

Ian Ashley Murdock (April 28, 1973 – December 28, 2015) was an American software engineer, known for being the founder of the Debian project and Progeny Linux Systems, a commercial Linux company.

Life and career

Although Murdock's parents were both from Southern Indiana, he was born in Konstanz, West Germany, on April 28, 1973, where his father was pursuing postdoctoral research. The family returned to the United States in 1975, and Murdock grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, beginning in 1977 when his father became a professor of entomology at Purdue University. Murdock graduated from Harrison High School in 1991, and then earned his bachelor's degree in computer science from Purdue in 1996.

While a college student, Murdock founded the Debian project in August 1993, and wrote the Debian Manifesto in January 1994. Murdock conceived Debian as a Linux distribution that embraced open design, contributions, and support from the free software community. He named Debian after his then-girlfriend (later wife) Debra Lynn Roundy, and himself. They later married, had three children, and divorced in January 2008.

In January 2006, Murdock was appointed Chief Technology Officer of the Free Standards Group and elected chair of the Linux Standard Base workgroup. He continued as CTO of the Linux Foundation when the group was formed from the merger of the Free Standards Group and Open Source Development Labs.

Murdock left the Linux Foundation to join Sun Microsystems in March 2007 to lead Project Indiana, which he described as "taking the lesson that Linux has brought to the operating system and providing that for Solaris", making a full OpenSolaris distribution with GNOME and userland tools from GNU plus a network-based package management system. From March 2007 to February 2010, he was Vice President of Emerging Platforms at Sun, until the company merged with Oracle and he resigned his position with the company.

From 2011 until 2015 Murdock was Vice President of Platform and Developer Community at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, based in Indianapolis.

From November 2015 until his death Murdock was working for Docker, Inc.


Murdock died on December 28, 2015, in San Francisco. Though initially no cause of death was released, in July 2016 it was announced his death had been ruled a suicide. The police confirmed that the cause of death was due to asphyxiation caused by hanging himself with a vacuum cleaner electrical cord.

The last tweets from Murdock's Twitter account first announced that he would commit suicide, then said he would not. He reported having been accused of assault on a police officer after having been himself assaulted and sexually humiliated by the police, then declared an intent to devote his life to opposing police abuse. His Twitter account was taken down shortly afterwards.

The San Francisco police confirmed he was detained, saying he matched the description in a reported attempted break-in and that he appeared to be drunk. The police stated that he became violent and was ultimately taken to jail on suspicion of four misdemeanor counts. They added that he did not appear to be suicidal and was medically examined prior to release. Later, police returned on reports of a possible suicide. The city medical examiner's office confirmed Murdock was found dead.

See also


  1. ^ "Marriage License Record". Indiana State Department of Health. Retrieved February 16, 2024.
  2. ^ Campbell, Tom (Spring 2004). "One by air, one by sea, one by land". Purdue Agriculture Connections. 13 (2). Archived from the original on November 18, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  3. ^ The Prophet. William Henry Harrison High School Yearbook. 1991.
  4. ^ Nixon, Robin (2010). Ubuntu: Up and Running. O'Reilly Media. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-596-80484-8.
  5. ^ "Fort Wayne News-Sentinel". February 6, 2008. Archived from the original on November 1, 2014.
  6. ^ "Debian Founder Ian Murdock Appointed Chief Technology Officer of the Free Standards Group And Linux Standard Base Workgroup Chair". Free Standards Group. January 31, 2006. Archived from the original on September 24, 2006. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  7. ^ Murdock, Ian. "Joining Sun". ianmurdock.com. Archived from the original on December 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  8. ^ "Q and A: Sun's Top Operating System Brass Talk OS Strategy", The Unix Guardian, IT Jungle, archived from the original on March 4, 2013
  9. ^ "Executive Bio". Sun Microsystems. Archived from the original on April 30, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c Gallagher, Sean (December 30, 2015). "Ian Murdock, father of Debian, dead at 42". Ars Technica. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  11. ^ About me « Ian Murdock's Weblog, July 22, 2014, archived from the original on October 9, 2014
  12. ^ Golub, Ben (December 30, 2015). "In Memoriam: Ian Murdock". Docker Blog. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  13. ^ Guerrero Lopez, Ana; Norwood, Donald; Tagliamonte, Paul (December 30, 2015). "Debian mourns the passing of Ian Murdock". Bits from Debian. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  14. ^ Williams, Chris (December 30, 2015). "Debian Linux founder Ian Murdock dead at 42". The Register.
  15. ^ Biggs, John (December 30, 2015). "Debian Creator Ian Murdock Dead at 42". Tech Crunch.
  16. ^ "Tweets with replies by Ian Murdock (@imurdock) | Twitter". December 29, 2015. Archived from the original on December 29, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  17. ^ Pagliery, Jose (July 6, 2016). "Mysterious death of software pioneer Ian Murdock ruled suicide". CNN. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  18. ^ "Debian founder Ian Murdock killed himself – SF medical examiner", theregister.co.uk, July 7, 2016
  19. ^ "Medical Examination of Ian Murdock" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Ian Murdock's last tweets". Archived from the original on December 29, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
  21. ^ Aditya Saky (December 29, 2015). " Debian Founder Ian Murdock's Tweets Are Raising Eyebrows". Techaeris.
  22. ^ "screenshot of @imurdock" (PDF). December 29, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 31, 2015.
  23. ^ "Prominent Programmer Dies in Apparent Suicide After Violent Encounter With San Francisco Police". CBS. December 31, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  24. ^ Alex Hernandez. "Ian Murdock Did Have An Altercation With Police Before His Death". Techaeris. Archived from the original on January 4, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  25. ^ Morris, Scott (December 31, 2015). "Police confirm Ian Murdock arrest before threatened suicide". SFBay.ca.
  26. ^ Hamill, Jasper (January 1, 2016). "Millionaire tech guru dies in mysterious circumstances after tweeting series of astonishing police brutality allegations". Mirror.
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