Thursday, December 13, 2012: People active on Linux User Groups in India do not need an introduction to who Raj Mathur was. Raj Mathur, the guy known for his brutal honesty and principles, is no more with us. He died on 12.12.12 but will always be remembered as a lively and a humorous personality in the hearts of many open source lovers.
Mathur was a founder member of the Indian Linux Users Group, Delhi, and a very active member of the free and open source community. Well respected and extremely knowledgeable, he was often sought after for advice, which he readily dispersed. He was one of the earliest users and advocates of Linux and free software in India. Apart from contributions to the FOSS corpus with numerous packages released under the GNU GPL, he was also a regular member of the Free Software Award Committee, director Emeritus of the Open Source Initiative and visiting professor at the Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi.
Mathur was an inspiration to many. He always extended his helping hand to those who wanted to experience the world of FOSS and guided those who wanted to make money out of FOSS. He ran Kandalaya, a consulting firm in the GNU/Linux, network application integration and network security domains. Mathur was a wonderful orator and is known for the many talks that he shared on the importance of open source technology. We had the opportunity of inviting the techie to the recently organised Open Source India 2012, held in Bengaluru.
Kishore Bhargava, Mathur’s close buddy for the past thirty years broke into tears when we contacted him. He shared, “We spoke over the phone almost everyday. Unfortunately, we did not speak yesterday. Me and Raj have shared the greatest moments together. He loved to have fun and encouraged everyone around him to do the same. He loved his food, his movies, his music and being with friends and family.”
Bhargava informed that Raj suffered a heart attack yesterday and was declared brought dead by the doctors when taken to the hospital. Supreet Sethi, one of the members of ILUG-D, wrote in his tribute on the LUG, “Yesterday’s news, of Raj moving on, is shocking. I met him through ILUG-D and came to know better of him through various activities of ILUG-D that he helped organise. He was brutally honest and that made him special. He was special because with those piercing words, he could get through to you better. Yesterday night, I visited his drawing room, which played host to many ILUG-D events. The trade-mark green camouflage was lying lifeless on the low diwan. For a second, I imagined a cup of coffee and creme, which was kind of ritual commencement of linux-delhi meetings, with Kishore bringing the coffee and Raj arranging for cups and creme. The cup of coffee is not there any more, that table is missing and more importantly Raj has checked out of the opium den.”
Mathur expressed his opinion on the “Role of ILUG In Promoting FOSS” during OSI Days 2012.