It was for no particular reason that on Monday, 3d of June, I picked the “linux-bangalore.org/2004″ t-shirt from the pile. Or so I thought. When next day I received an e-mail from Harald Welte informing me that Atul Chitnis (on Wikipedia, on LinkeIn) had succumbed to cancer on Monday morning, I realized that my choice of t-shirt hadn’t been by chance.
“Technology For A Free World” is the subtitle on the shirt and the battle-call that had brought Atul and me together. He had invited me to give a talk on the knowledge commons at Linux Bangalore 2001, the first in his series of conferences that would change the Indian tech landscape. I was more than happy to reciprocate and invited him to Berlin for the Wizards of OS 3 in 2004 and to the Wizards of OS 4 in 2006. Linux Bangalore in 2005 widened its scope and became FOSS.IN. Atul invited both Harald and me to an unforgetable FOSS.IN 2005.
Through our encounters in Berlin, where Atul was born, and in Bangalore and Goa I got to know and respect him as a kind, sharing and hospitable friend, a passionate technologist and an impressive mover of massive projects. Up to his last days, Atul was tweeting, and, as Harald told me, planning for FOSS.IN 2013 and working on three books at the same time.
While fond memories of our encounters and conversations keep surfacing, my thoughts go out to Atul’s wife and daughter and to his mother. His personal motto was “You aren’t remembered for doing what is expected of you.” No, Atul you won’t. You will be remembered as the amazing guy you were and for using your skills and visions to a create a free world.
The memories of Atul’s brother Arun, posted on June 8, 2013