Ian Murdock, founder of Debian, dead at 42 under strange circumstances

While still enjoying the holiday with my family I found a recent story in various online forums strangely compelling. It concerned Ian Murdock, an icon in the open source and Linux community for his contribution of Debian (Ubuntu is one of the many Debian derivatives) in 1993 while at Purdue University. Mr. Murdock had apparently suddenly begun posting some very strange things on Twitter over the weekend suggesting that he was planning suicide but also alleging police abuse. The posts seemed uncharacteristic of him, and many folks speculated that his account had been hacked. He was discovered deceased on Monday after friends raised the alarm but there has been very little in the way of information about his death reported in the mainstream media. The fact that the San Francisco Police were somehow involved led many to wonder if there might be more to the story than drugs or a mental breakdown. I started to collect information about the case early on and this post is basically just a record of what I’ve found so far.

Originally I had posted the following as a comment in a Reddit thread about Ian’s strange tweets, I’ve brought the list here to archive.

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The end of America?

I’ve been poking around a bit on Prison Planet lately, thats a website run by Alex Jones, a radio talk show host who has been described as a “paleoconservative” whatever thats supposed to mean. Paleo means old, so I assume it’s being used to create a distance from the “neocons” (meaning New Conservatives) who were neither new nor really conservative in the first place. The first story I ran into over there was titled Louisiana Cops Plan for “End of the World” Scenario which goes on to describe how the program includes access to a .50 caliber vehicle mounted machine gun to help put down looters and rioting in the event of a crisis. I got a little further into the article and it is suggested that cities across America are beginning their own war training in preparation for the coming apocalypse in 2012. No, not the fabled Mayan end of the world, this refers to a prediction by a “futurist” named Gerald Celente.
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Dana Morgan Harrington found dead

I’m not quite sure why I became so interested in this particular case, but I did. I think it might have been because I have been to a lot of concerts and I never went to one with any thought that I wouldn’t make it home again. I followed the story on several websites including websleuths, findmorgan.com, and local Charlottesville newspaper websites and crime blogs. Dana Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student had planned to attend the Oct 17th Metallica show for a long time – along with a few friends – and before Metallica had even made it on stage she had somehow ended up outside the John Paul Jones arena on the University of Virginia campus, in 40 degree weather without her car keys. Her purse and cell phone (with the battery removed) were found the next day in an overflow parking area.
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A humdinger of a crime

For the last couple days I’ve been totally obsessed with one of the strangest murders I’ve heard about in a long time. We’ve all heard that “home invasions” (these used to be called burglaries back in the 70s, but for some reason “invasion” makes it sound so much worse) are on the increase. I personally think this is because it’s getting much harder for your average criminal to get away with sticking up gas stations, banks, or liquor stores what with all the cameras everywhere and the move to electronic commerce – who pays with cash anymore? This particular crime grabbed me though – I’m talking about the Billings murders in Pensacola. You’ve all heard about this already I know, but I thought I’d share some interesting links and (as always) some incredibly insightful opinions anyway.
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Terrorists or criminals?

I watched a great ireport wherein the question is posed why it is that the guy who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum and the the guy who shot the abortion doctor recently weren’t on a terrorist watch list since they had both committed similar acts in the past. It seems like we’ll send in the marines if the terrorists are muslim, but when they’re old white guys we don’t care?
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