Ian Murdock

IRL Name: 
Ian Murdock

Ian Ashley Murdock was born April 28, 1973. He is the founder of the Debian distribution in 1993, then an undergraduate at Purdue University and led the project from its inception to 1996. He is also the noted founder of Progeny Linux Systems, a commercial Linux company. He is the vice president of emerging platforms at Sun and a member of the senior leadership team of Sun’s cloud computing group working at the intersection of open source and cloud computing. He launched Project Indiana, an effort designed to lower barriers to adoption for the Solaris platform that led to the OpenSolaris distribution.

Under suspicious circumstances, Ian Murdock was found dead on December 28th, 2015, having committed suicide after two incidents involving the police.


He primarily designed OpenSolaris 2008.11 and replaced the "Java Desktop Environment" with the standard Linux-ish GNOME environment.

The name “Debian” is a concatenation of “Deb” and “Ian” wherein Debra Lynn was the name of his then-girlfriend.

Founding director of Linux International (1993-1995) and the Open Source Initiative (1998-2001).

Prior to his passing, Murdock stated that he was abused by the police.


Left the Debian project after he broke up with her girlfriend 'Debra Lynn'.