July 11, 2008

In memoriam: Linux evangelist and Linux.com editor Joe Barr

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

Our colleague Joe Barr sometimes described himself as a doddering old geek. Many knew him as a Linux evangelist; others knew him from his ham radio activities. And those of us who worked with Joe knew him in all of his sometimes irascible, often funny moods. Joe was always one of our favorite people, and we are devastated to report that he died at home, unexpectedly, last night.

How many people both write about and espouse GNU/Linux -- and also love miniature donkeys and rescue abandoned puppies? Joe was one of a kind. We will miss him on many levels, in many ways, but we will not miss him nearly as much as his wife Susan will; they were married almost exactly one year ago, after knowing each other for more than 10 years.

Susan asks that instead of sending flowers, you make a donation to an animal rescue group of your choice in Joe's name.

Not long ago, at a SourceForge, Inc. corporate conference held in Chicago, Joe delighted the entire assemblage with an impromptu recitation from this ee cumming poem:

since feeling is first

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Donââ¬â¢t cry
ââ¬âthe best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelidsââ¬â¢ flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for lifeââ¬â¢s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

That's Joe to a T -- not only the poem's content, which is sadly apropos in an obituary tribute to him -- but also the fact that he was the kind of guy who would stand up in the middle of a business meeting to recite poetry.

I will stop typing now, because I'm crying too hard to hit the right keys.

Robin 'Roblimo' Miller
Editor in Chief,
SourceForge, Inc.

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