This was the last tweet from the account of the open source legend, Atul Chitnis. Father and founder of FOSS.IN, the official open source movement in India, Atul was arguably one of the most respected tech leaders in the country. As a tribute on his birthday, we revisit his past which has inspired many and is still doing so.
In an interview on YourStory in 2012, Atul said,
Challenges, by definition, are meant to be met, roadblocks meant to be bypassed.
Atul lost his life to Colorectal Cancer, which spread to his liver and it was affected pretty heavily. Atul spoke quite openly about it and mentioned it several times in his blog.
" I have lived much of my life in the public eye, and it is understandable that people will want to know more details, and when there is something to report, I will. But what I need from you now is an understanding of my situation, and your support. And respect for my privacy and that of my family. Cancer is a terrible disease, and it will take a lot to fight it – physically, emotionally, financially – but it is a battle that I am going to fight – and fight to win."
After his sad demise, we at YourStory explored the techie in Atul in our Techie Tuesdays column on June 4th, 2013. The KDE developer team released its version 4.11 of the Software Compilation suite dedicated to him. As they said in their release announcement,
“This release is dedicated to the memory of Atul 'toolz' Chitnis, a great Free and Open Source Software champion from India. Atul led the Linux Bengaluru and FOSS.IN conferences since 2001 and both were landmark events in the Indian FOSS scene. KDE India was born at the first FOSS.in, in December 2005. Many Indian KDE contributors started out at these events. It was only because of Atul's encouragement that the KDE Project Day at FOSS.IN was always a huge success. Atul left us on June 3rd after fighting a battle with cancer. May his soul rest in peace. We are grateful for his contributions to a better world."
Here is how the twitter world remembers him.
Though he is not with us today, his work will always be remembered in different ways and keep us inspiring. Happy birthday, Atul!