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Open Source guru Atul Chitnis, 51, no more

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FOSS.in founder and former PCQuest consulting editor, Chitnis, loses his battle against cancer and leaves a huge void to fill

BANGALORE, INDIA: His was a name that was synonymous with open source. He championed its cause for a major part of his life. Finally, his fruitful existence, touching millions of lives, was to be stolen away by cancer.

Atul Chitnis, who founded FOSS.in - a marquee conference on free and open software - was a columnist and consulting editor of PCQuest. He passed away at 51, finally succumbing to his battle against Stage 4 cancer, Monday morning.

The German-born consulting technologist, upon diagnosis of his intestinal cancer last August, had put up a brave front to take things as they came along, even as he prepared himself to beat it.

"Ever since I got diagnosed with cancer in August 2012, I have been acutely aware of the fact that professionally, things were going to change dramatically for me. While I intend to beat this thing, I also need to consider that a lot of things will change for me - things that I can do, things that I won't be able to," he stated then.

The Twitter account of Chitnis has this as his self-description: 'Irrationally committed product guy, FOSS.IN founder, former PCQuest columnist, writer, RadioVeRVe, amateur musician & cook, beating stage 4 cancer.'

"The guru's guru. Like so many 'tech experts', I would inevitably turn to Atul when I was up against a wall with a piece of tech. He'd pull no punches with friend or foe, and never agree with what he didn't believe in," observes Prasanto K. Roy, technology expert and editorial advisor of CyberMedia.

"In the late-1990s, when our tech monthly, PCQuest, seeded India's open-source wave and gave out the first Linux distributions on CDs, our official guru was Atul Chitnis. In the first year, he sat in our labs with his virtual whip, making sure we Linux greenhorns didn't trip over ourselves. For years later, he was there as guide and critic," Roy reminisces.

Reportedly, the ailment slowly affected his liver as well. "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," Chitnis had stated in a blogpost.

"Morning prayer: Pink Floyd's Shine on You Crazy Diamond :)" was his last tweet, on Sunday.

With his sudden and untimely demise, the world has lost a great advocate of open source. It is something that nobody would deny.

 

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Dr. Martinus Fri Sep 13 at 03:22 PM

I had used his CiX BBS long time ago and read his PCQuest column regularly when I was residing in India from 1987 to 1999. We had quite some contact, but only over the Internet. Today, for no appearent reason, I thought I look up what he is doing, and found that he died about three months ago. Sad. (A sidenote: this comments-module doesn't seem to be SPAM-proof).

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satya Tue Jun 11 at 05:19 PM

RIP : Atul

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Shah Tue Jun 4 at 09:51 AM

Most of his sessions in FOSS.in was truly inspiring! Its a huge loss for Indian Open Source community and personally I lost a good mentor

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Jithu Battu Tue Jun 4 at 07:04 AM

Atul led a meaningful life. Great contributions. May his soul rest in peace.

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Jithu Battu Tue Jun 4 at 07:04 AM

Atul led a meaningful life. Great contributions. May his soul rest in peace.

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EP Tue Jun 4 at 05:56 AM

Sad & shocking news, I owe most of my career, spanning back to the late 1990s, thanks to inspirational pioneers like him. Thanks for everything.

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J.M.Priyadarshan Tue Jun 4 at 01:26 AM

Very shocking and sad to know about Atul's demise. Cannot forget each one of his FOSS sessions that attracted large audience and ensured there was a lot of learning to take away.

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Vishal Mon Jun 3 at 05:46 PM

I am shocked to hear the sad demise of open source guru Sir Atul Chitnis. He is one of those, who did his best to popularize open source in India by organising open source based developer conference in Bangalore and other places. I am one among them, who got inspired by his talks/blogs and also helped me to shape up my career in open source domain. Will pray for the departed soul! RIP Atul :(

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Mohan M R Mon Jun 3 at 05:06 PM

Atul sir, we miss you. Thanks for all the tech help.

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Anuroop Mon Jun 3 at 04:52 PM

ShockinG!!! RIP Atul Chitnis

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Roopesh Mon Jun 3 at 04:39 PM

Its sad to hear the news! May his soul rest in peace :(

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