36-Year-Old Open Source Guru Seth Vidal Has Been Tragically Killed

Red Hat's Seth Vidal Red Hat’s Seth Vidal

The open source community is mourning the sad loss of one of their own today.

Seth Vidal, just 36-years-old, was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike in Durham, N.C., last night.

He was hit from behind at around 9 p.m. and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, reports WRAL.com.

Vidal was a well-known engineer for software company Red Hat, a company with a meritocracy culture where engineers like Vidal hold enormous respect and power.

He was best known for creating a piece of software called “yum,” a tool that helps Linux administrators manage servers. He also worked on a version of Linux called Fedora. This is a free version of Red Hat’s software where the company experiments with new tech before putting it into the main, commercial version.

As if this story wasn’t sad enough, one of the last tweets he sent, on July 5, was about bicycling.

He was responding to a question from fellow open source developer Ryan Tomayko who works at GitHub.  Tomayko wanted to know which apps are best for keeping track of bike riding stats.

@rtomayko don’t track things. Just ride,” Vidal tweeted in reply.

Here’s the rest of the conversation:

And here’s the statement posted by the Fedora Community.

The Fedora Project has lost a valued, longtime member of its community. Seth Vidal died last night, July 8.

Seth was a lead developer of yum and the update repository system, and a contributor to the CentOS project as well as the original Fedora Extras system. He worked tirelessly on the infrastructure for the Fedora Project to make all systems work well and consistently for our contributors around the world. He was a gifted speaker, a brilliant thinker, a clever wit, a humble and genuinely funny person, and a good friend.

The Fedora community owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Seth’s dedication to Fedora and other free software projects, his commitment to community values, and his passion for excellence in his work. To say he will be missed is an understatement. He has been a colleague, a team member, a source of wisdom and advice, and above all, a friend and inspiration to countless people in the Fedora community over the past decade. His seminal and invaluable work in Fedora and free software will live on for years to come, and the legacy of his spirit will stay with the community, and with many of us individually, forever.

Our thoughts are with his partner Eunice, the rest of his family, and Seth’s many friends and coworkers.

I know that many members of the Fedora community will want to personally share their condolences. We’ll provide further information as soon as it is available.

Robyn Bergeron
Fedora Project Leader

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