RIP Ilya


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Nov 15, 2011 GMT
Jon maddog Hall

I had heard, of course, of the Diaspora* project some time ago. It is a project to create a decentralized social network that would allow the users to have complete control over their data and their privacy. Started by four college students, they had the audacity to take on a project that would be daunting to programmers with many more years of experience and many dollars of corporate investment behind them.....reminding me of another young friend of mine who started a small project in 1991 called “Linux”....

When Diaspora* was first pointed out to me I received a login account, but the early functionality was not enough to keep me using it, so my account languished.

In July of 2011 I was at Campus Party in Mexico when one of the organizers pointed out that two of the developers of Diaspora* were at the event and were giving a talk on it. I went over to hear Daniel Grippi and Ilya Zhitomirskiy speak to the group, and felt the drive and excitement that they conveyed. To give you an idea of what the discussion was like, you would have to watch any movie of “Jay and Silent Bob” and you will have a good idea of the energy given off by this duo. They freely used terms like “awesome”, and sounded very “valley”. I immediately liked them.

After the conference, I received Diaspora* “sharings” from both Daniel and Ilya, as well as other people in the Diaspora* community.

Today I heard the shocking news of Ilya's death at the age of 22, and felt the huge disruption in “The Force”.

As readers of this blog know, this has not been a good year for me. The deaths of my parents (within a couple of months of each other), a friend in early March and Dennis Ritchie last month has taken its toll on my psyche.

The death of a person so young and so full of life as Ilya is very difficult to accept. I am just glad that I had even this very brief encounter with Ilya...a chance to know him just a little....even if it causes me more pain inside then I might have had otherwise.

Rest in Peace, Ilya.

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