While being founded on the beliefs from the Free Software Foundation, Purism, and I, got our roots learning about free software entirely from the universal operating system, Ian Murdock‘s Debian GNU/Linux.
While I personally never met Ian, I am one of the hundreds of thousands whose eyes were opened to what free software truly means, entirely from his efforts.
I recall in 1998, learning on Hamm, then quickly moving to Slink, and deploying tens (this was a lot of machines in 2000) of machines on Potato. I then began installing Debian GNU/Linux on every machine I could, my father’s desktop, my friend’s server-turned-desktop computer, my laptop, an entire office of writers.
I remember the simplicity of software installation, where it was a joy to actually maintain computers in an office setting, apt-get was my favorite of all tools, let alone the intelligent package dependency system Debian created.
Moving through into early 2001/2 when I began setting up Fully Automated Installations (FAI) of Debian, deploying 50,000 distributed machines. And again in 2007, when I architected/fabricated/designed/wrote a digital media player, again Debian based and also FAI deployed, selling/deploying over 200,000 units. Debian made it a dream to maintain a tremendous cluster of distributed machines, all thanks to something started by Ian Murdock. I converted the entire development staff, of 20 or so, to Debian. I realized there and then, that what Ian did, allowing me to pass his creation onto others, was a tremendous accomplishment for his “simple package management system” project that he started in 1993.
It is my strong belief that Ian created the first “app store” with apt-get, I draw this analogy all the time. What Apple, Google, and Microsoft copied 15+ years later, the “app store”, was what Ian and Debian did in their 1994 release of 0.91.
I, and the rest of the Purism team, remember Ian Murdock fondly, and thank him for starting us down the proper path of free software, GNU/Linux, and doing something small that can turn into something truly beneficial for all.