I am not writing after people outside of my family die but when I read that Ian Murdock is no longer with us I got a feeling that I have to write few words.
Never met him but lot of things in my FOSS career happened because of his most famous project: Debian. For those who do not know: he was “ian” while “Deb” was from his girlfriend name Debra.
First GNU/Linux distribution installed: Debian. First on Amiga 1200, then on PC (where it was my main operating system for years). My first package was made for Debian (“tex-skak” – already removed from archive). I was considering applying for Debian Developer status but found OpenEmbedded first.
Debian way of handling non-free packages was something which allowed me to freely hack on anything I wanted as I knew that I can because someone else already checked licenses. Try that in PalmOS or Microsoft Windows worlds.
Sure, there were other distributions (Slackware, Red Hat Linux) in 90s but it was Debian which brought me to FOSS world. And still is my favorite (despite working for Red Hat).