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Rob Levin, lilo of FreeNode, Passes 365

sneak was the first of many to tell us of the death of Rob Levin, known as lilo, the head of FreeNode and of its parent organization, PDPC. A transcript from the channel: ".:17:18:40:. [freenode] -christel(i=christel@freenode/staff/gentoo.christe l)-
[Global Notice] On the 12th September Rob Levin, known to many as Freenode's
lilo, was hit by a car while riding his bike. He suffered head injuries and
passed away in hospital on the 16th. For more information please visit
17:19:39==> Topic for #freenode-announce: Together with the PDPC board we are
currently preparing a general announcement, please also feel assured that we will
continue working with PDPC to ensure continuous service on freenode, in line with Rob's
Richard Hartmann writes, I just wanted to add that we of FreeNode will create a condolence book. All wellwishes can be sent to"
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Rob Levin, lilo of FreeNode, Passes

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  • RIP Rob Levin.
    • Re:RIP lilo (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Emmettfish ( 573105 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:08PM (#16121806) Homepage
      We had numerous and public arguments. I thought he was a jerk. He felt the same way about me. Both of us knew the good things the other did for the Free Software and Open Source communities, but every time we got into it, it was nothing but pure argument.

      I did respect him, and the work that he's done. While I disagree with a lot of the way he managed things, there's no doubt that he did what he did with the best of intentions. He will be missed as both a leader of the community and a human being.

      I wish the staff well in the upcoming days and weeks -- It will not be easy. I would urge complainers, sycophants and jerks to back off for a while. Best wishes to his family and friends.


    • Was this the same Lilo that used to administer #linpeople on Undernet years ago (like in 95/96)?
      If so that sucks, Lilo helped me get a start in linux which enabled me to grow in IT and become an administrator then programmer.
      • by Floody ( 153869 )

        Was this the same Lilo that used to administer #linpeople on Undernet years ago (like in 95/96)? If so that sucks, Lilo helped me get a start in linux which enabled me to grow in IT and become an administrator then programmer.

        Indeed, it was the same. I ran one of the linpeople irc servers after #linpeople moved from Undernet. I had significant daily interaction with Lilo for years, although not in person. In 98-99, Rob called my office. He happened to be traveling through the region and wanted to me

  • Rest in Peace :-( (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eloquence ( 144160 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:03PM (#16121764)
    I only had very few interactions with Lilo, but he was always friendly and polite when I did. I am a long time user of FreeNode and a long time Wikipedian. The network has been invaluable to our community, and while of course a project like FreeNode is very much collaborative, I think he personally represented many of the core values that make it a great place for open source and free content projects. This is a very sad day. May he idle in peace. :-(
    • Re:Rest in Peace :-( (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jon Chatow ( 25684 ) * <> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:49PM (#16121978) Homepage
      As someone who ended up talking to Rob on IRC every couple of days for over a year, and several times by 'phone, I can attest to this absolutely; his help to me in running the Wikimedia IRC channels was both invaluable and amazingly forth-coming - he was seemingly always available, and never anything other than friendly and massively helpful, even for the most tiresome and stupid of questions that I managed to come up with. Good bye, Rob. We will miss you. James F. Wikimedia GC.
  • by stesch ( 12896 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:03PM (#16121768) Homepage
    This is a really sad day for freenode. He provided such a good service to all of us. :-(
  • RIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cbrocious ( 764766 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:04PM (#16121777) Homepage
    I got my start on Freenode many, many years ago, and now have been involved with dozens, possibly hundreds of projects, all on freenode. I've talked with Lilo many times and have never had a bad experience. One of the kindest and most helpful people I've ever met.

    My Condolences go out to his family.

    RIP lilo
  • RIP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tulare ( 244053 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:05PM (#16121783) Journal
    My condolences to his family. He worked hard for what we have, right or wrong, and we should respect that and be thankful for what he has left us.

  • by Ant P. ( 974313 )
    That's the only response I can think of. Sorry.
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:06PM (#16121795)
    22:58 +christel: Ok, first off, this is not a hoax
    22:59 +christel Rob was riding his bike on tuesday when he was hit by a car, he has spent the last few days at the neuro trauma ICU at a local hospital 22:59 +christel: where he has been in a coma
    22:59 +christel: the news reached us this morning that Rob passed away early today
    23:00 +christel: and we ask that you all respect their privacy at this difficult time
    23:01 +christel: Robs funeral is most likely to be monday afternoon, although we have yet to get confirmation as Debs is waiting to hear from the MEs office that it can go ahead as planned 23:01 +christel: and for those local, wishing to show their respects at his funeral, we ask that you email and we will try direct you as we can
    23:02 +christel: We will take some questions now and try answer them in channel, it would be appreciated if those with questions message beu, and we will answer on channel
    23:02 +christel: thank you
    My condolances to Robs friends and family.
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:08PM (#16121802)
    The first time I read the headline I was confused about what it meant. Was there some sort of position he turned down? Did he quit an important job?

    I've always despised death euphamisms, though. Trying to tone the tragedy down doesn't make it any easier to deal with for friends, families, or looker-ons. It also takes away from the importance of the death itself.

    He's dead. The man was killed in an auto accident. It's a sad, tragic ending, but it's the truth.
  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:08PM (#16121805) Homepage
    I would estimate that Freenode was responsible for more realtime communication between developers and between users/support than any other single medium, and as such it was and is a major asset to the open source movement. It has undoubtedly helped make many projects much better than would have otherwise been possible/workable.

    As a legacy, I'd say that's a pretty good one to leave.
    • You're totally right.. I've 'almost inadvertently' contributed to a few projects, just by being on freenode, and running into people who needed a little testing, comment, and so on. Come to think of it, one of the main reasons I was in a position to be helpful, was due to all that I had learned ... from channels like ##slackware on freenode. No doubt many others have had similar experiences. RIP Rob, and genuine condolences to your friends & family.
  • "Passes"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt ( 931443 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:16PM (#16121843) Homepage
    Enough with the euphemisms, already. Just say that he died. "Passing" is something you do with yesterday's lunch shortly after you've eaten today's.
  • Passed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by munpfazy ( 694689 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:20PM (#16121860)
    I've got no problem with friends and family members using passive, religiously charged euphemisms when discussing death. If people find it easier to talk about their sister having "passed," that's fine by me.

    But when it comes to journalism (or the slashdot equivalent), it comes off as silly at best and offensive at worst.

    Rob Levin didn't pass. He didn't "Pass", pass on, nor pass away. He DIED, and he was KILLED. This isn't just death, but death in a horrible, violent, disturbing way.

    Getting your head smashed in by an automobile and living for painful hours in a hospital critical care ward isn't gentle. It's horrible, and cruel, and ugly. Using gentle words to describe it doesn't make it any less so. It does us all a disservice by belittling the tragedy of what has actually happened.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lewp ( 95638 )
      I doubt the dead, were they asked about it before they died, would want us to dwell on how we described their death. Rather, I think they'd prefer to have us remember who they were and what they did in life.

      I'm an atheist, but I have no problem with death being described as "passing". Losing someone you care about can be a lot to deal with emotionally. If using euphemisms helps with the process of coping, then I'm all for it.

      (If this was a deliberate troll, it was in pretty poor taste, but I guess IHBT.)
    • I have to say that this also creates an obscure title (for those not familiar with US euphemism).

      I thought it was referring to some sort of network bootstrapping using freenode. You soon realise the error, but then why have a title. "Died" is surely not offensive?
  • Another one? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:22PM (#16121867) Homepage Journal

    As a bike rider myself the first thing I thought of was the death in March [] of Richard Rauch.

    This is sad news. My sympathies to his family.

    • I'm sure there are lots of such bike riders we don't hear of. I am sick of this. When I was in college two of my highschool buddies were killed the same way, on their bike, by cars, a year or two apart. Not only that those eco-unfriendly fat dorks won't get on bikes and ridicule us, but they're killing us too.
  • by Tore S B ( 711705 )

    Rest in peace.

    He leaves the legacy of being a man who started and ran the IRC network that is by far the most popular network for free software developer communication, and an invaluable asset to the entire community. We thank him for his contributions, and offer our deepest condolances to the friends and family.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:24PM (#16121875) Homepage Journal
    Car drivers, especially in the United States, have absolutely 0 regard for bike riders. A professor did an interesting study about how close cars come to bikers when they wear helmets versus when they don't []. Not to mention in San Francisco they recently delayed a resolution that would build bike paths across the city so that bike riders didn't have to deal with ignorant SUV driving assholes too busy talking on their phone to notice a bike rider.
    Sorry for the strong language, but as a bike rider car drivers in America for the most part just totally piss me off. I have to spend my tax money attacking some random oil rich country so you can drive your SUVs, but you get all in a tizzy when I want a bike path so I don't have to worry about you hitting me even though I have as much a right to the road as you do.
    Ignorant car drivers disgust me. /Rant
    • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:41PM (#16121936) Homepage Journal

      It's not just the drivers. Many roads seem to have been created with no real thought for cyclists. While this is particularly true in big cities (like SF, where the roads are insane for anyone traveling on them), even nice crunchy places like Santa Cruz make bicycle commuting a risky proposition, because they don't see cyclist-friendly roads to be a high enough priority. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been annihilated because on-street parking forces me almost into the auto lane. Potholes, poorly-designed merge and exit lanes, and fast traffic signals turn a ride to work into a dangerous proposition.

      Until there are more people commuting in bikes rather than cars, I don't see the situation changing for the better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jesterzog ( 189797 )

        Until there are more people commuting in bikes rather than cars, I don't see the situation changing for the better.

        I don't think it takes more people on bikes than in cars to change things -- there are plenty of places around the world where lots of consideration is given to people on bikes, both by the majority of drivers and by city planning authorities, and it's not because there are more people riding bikes than driving cars. It does help to have a little recognition and help from local governments,

        • by Eccles ( 932 )
          Sounds like yet another reason New Zealand is high on my list of places I'd consider moving to. It helps, though, that your weather (at least around Auckland, Napier Bay, etc. is relatively temperate, without the scorching hot, humid summers and frosty winters of many areas in the U.S., which means bike-riding is more tolerable more of the year.

          I also think it does require a certain number of avid bikers. If I could get more places safely on a bike, I would, but I can't, so I drive, adding yet another car
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by archen ( 447353 )
        And not just cyclists, but anyone not in a car in general. I had to walk to work after my car was in the shop for a week and took the bus. After getting off the bus I was actually sort of surprised to find that there were no sidewalks in one section of town - a newer part I might add. Fun stuff walking on the street waiting for someone to wheel around the corner in an SUV and kill you...
    • by ubernostrum ( 219442 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:48PM (#16121975) Homepage

      It goes both ways; I've seen plenty of asshole drivers, but I've also seen lots of cyclists who insist on ignoring traffic laws. Just yesterday as I was driving home from work, sitting at a stop sign, a cyclist came up behind me and went through the intersection without stopping -- quick reflexes on the part of the driver who had right-of-way were the only thing that stopped the cyclist becoming a stain on the pavement. Moral of the story: no matter what sort of vehicle you're operating, when you're on the road the laws of the road apply to you, and you need to be cautious and observant.

    • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:50PM (#16121984)
      Could not agree more. I have ridden and raced bikes all over Europe for years without concern. A few years ago I made the foolish decision to take my bike on vacation to Florida with me to help recover from an injury. I though the a few km in the heat would do me good. 10 mins on a fairly busy road scared the bejesus out of me. Its like I was invisible on US tarmac or something, drivers storming past at 70-80 kph just centimeters from me, not one made the slightest effort to give me any space. Not an experience I am keen to repeat.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dargaud ( 518470 )

        I've also ridden bikes in Europe and the US, but noticed that in Colorado it's not too scary. It breaks down to this: if people have ridden bikes before, they pay more attention while driving. I currently live in a place where the roads are very narrow, there are thousands of bikers in summer, but very few accidents. A solution: force (?) everyone to ride bikes periodically, for instance when they are students...

        Something related to that which pissed me off royally is the following logic: a teenage frien

    • by Duncan3 ( 10537 )
      At least around here, there are 1m wide bike lanes many places, but the bikers ride on the CAR side of the line anyway.

      They do this becasue the cell phone users are usually driving in the bike lane :(

      I'm so glad California finally banned cell phones without hands-free. Paves the way for banning them entirely.
    • I have to drive for a living...and I frequently come across bicyclists who has absolutely no regard for traffic rules/etiquettes. They squeezes to as little as space they can find and forget they can be in a blind spot to the person driving the vehicle. I am tolerant to bicyclists, but the looks and angry shouts I get from bicyclists for no fault of mine is disturbing.
    • I say this as a bike rider/pedestrian. The roads are designed for car drivers, who of many have no respect of bike riders/pedestrians like me and you. I see weekly drivers at crossings and crosswalks that accelerate when they see someone is trying to cross the road. This is just shows the immaturity of many drivers. It looks especially stupid when it is winter time here and the temperature is something like -20 C (-68 F) and car drivers sitting comfortably in their warm cars are trying to ram you freezing

  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:26PM (#16121885) Homepage Journal

    User Rob Levin [].

    As the cars get bigger, bike riding is scarier but remains my only convenient daily exercise.

    • As gas prices rise I have hope that bicycling will get increasing positive attention from people who would otherwise not have considered us cyclists.
  • I spoke to lilo several times a few years ago, just around the time freenode started. My condolences to his family.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 16, 2006 @06:45PM (#16121961)
    Yeah, when people make jokes about September 11 it is "dealing with the situation" or whatever. When people make jokes about this guy they are just trolling. Granted the few jokes made are bad taste at best, but so were many of the September 11 jokes.

    Too bad he wasn't taking performance enhancing drugs.
    Did anybody remember to delete all his child porn?

    Personally, I liked grub better anyway.
  • I, like many thousands, have had the pleasure of working with Rob. I used to run #maestro to support software I co-authored at JPL, and thanks to Rob taking care of numerous problems, the support channel works beautifully, finally evolving into what is now #space.

    I know our channel would not have been a success without Rob's patience and wisdom, and I enjoyed several really great discussions with the man. I had always been hoping to take him out for a beer someday... guess we should do things like that s
  • RIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlXtreme ( 223728 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @07:57PM (#16122204) Homepage Journal
    Thanks lilo for your work on freenode, you made many open source projects possible and brought together thousands of people. My condolances go out to his friends and relatives, I feel sorry for your loss.
  • Q&A (Score:2, Informative)

    by MadClikr ( 670541 )
    christel ok, im going to go +m for a moment
    christel and we will try answer some of the questions you've asked after a minute of silence
    christel Ok, first off, this is not a hoax
    christel Rob was riding his bike on tuesday when he was hit by a car, he has spent the last few days at the neuro trauma ICU at a local hospital
    christel where he has been in a coma
    christel the news reached us this morning that Rob passed away early today
    beu to repeat for those just joining us, this sadly is not a hoax; Rob was riding
  • Not to go outside. And there are bears out there. Out here at least. Seems like about once a day during the summer a pedestrian or biker gets hit by a car out here. The drivers of the cars have no intention of slowing down (Assuming they see the guy on the bike in the first place) and the guys on the bikes have no intention of moving over. There needs to be a lot more on the driver's test about motor vehicle interaction with bicycle traffic and bicycle interaction with motor vehicle traffic. I think that mi
  • This really sucks. Regardless of what some people think of lilo/FreeNode/PDPC, he was trying to do something that he saw as good for the community, and was genuinely a nice guy. Condolences to his family.

"Plastic gun. Ingenious. More coffee, please." -- The Phantom comics