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Patrick Volkerding Back to Work 225

Posted by michael
from the stop-slacking dept.
AndreaP writes "Patrick Volkerding, the maintainer of Slackware Linux, is apparently recovering from his health problems and is back to work. From the ChangeLog of Slackware-Current: 'I'm back in California and I'm happy to let you all know that I'm feeling much better. :-) Here are a few updates so you can see that I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully 10.1 won't be too far off ...'"
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Patrick Volkerding Back to Work

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:09PM (#11133112)
    Where's HIS changelog? I want to know what bug they fixed on him.
  • Man! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Faust7 (314817) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:10PM (#11133124) Homepage
    And just when Slackware was beginning to live up to its name... ;)
  • Great! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chrisgeleven (514645) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:17PM (#11133167) Homepage
    Thankfully this guy has finally appeared to be cured or on the road to being cured. That was one scary story we all read just a month or two ago and it is great to hear all turned out well in the end.
    • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MikeCapone (693319)
      I'm also glad to learn that he's better.

      It might be corny, but I don't know the guy and yet I thought about his health a couple of times a week during this whole episode.

      Hope that he has fully recovered soon!

      Oh, and Slackware rules!
  • Impossible! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:17PM (#11133174)
    Hate to break the news to you Pat, but Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says your still ill.
  • I'ts like 80+ degrees outside (LA, CA), and It's Dec. 19th. It's hard to get sick around here, and even harder to stay that way.
  • Welcome Back Pat (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MoThugz (560556) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:18PM (#11133178) Homepage
    ...I for one, hopes that he and his family will be in good health always.

    I guess this is as good a Christmas present one could wish for. Health really is much more meaningful than wealth.

    Cheers from a happy Slacker :)
  • He's back (Score:5, Informative)

    by psi42 (747491) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:20PM (#11133190)
    His health:
    Well, I'm back in California and I'm happy to let you all know that I'm feeling much better. :-)

    His intelligence:
    and then we can look at what exactly needs to be done to try to switch over to the new kernel series for 11, or sometime later on. I still don't think it's time for that yet (it will be best to wait until 2.4 can be abandoned)

    And his sense of humor:
    It's the closest thing to a blog I've ever done. (ooooo! ;-)



    Looks like slackware is back in the running. Welcome back!
  • WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evel aka matt (123728) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:20PM (#11133194)
    So, WTF happened to him? Miraculous recovery from unknown symptoms, or what? One minute he's dying, and now he's just dandy. Chicken soup? What? Did he say anywhere what he had, how it was cured, or anything?
    • If you kept up with all his changelogs, you would've seen that he's been sick for quite awhile actually. He was seeking treament and did lots of research on his sickness for quite a long time, this isn't just "he was sick last week, now he's ok".

      Nice to hear he's ok now tho.

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:54PM (#11133406)
      If you really followed the story, here is it in a nutshell (© O'Reilly)

      He was horking up things from his lungs that resembled the plaque from teeth. His dad is a dentist and has always had Pat use an electric whirling toothbrush since he was a kid. Pat always wondered where all that plaque-cloud that he was breathing was going to end up. It seems the bacteria in the plaque found a nice home in his lungs, and grew. The designer antibiotics the doctors were giving him had no effect - he needed the classic old school cillins. He got with the classic drugs, and the evil bacteria are losing.
      • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aluminum_geek (756252) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @07:09PM (#11133496)
        You're wrong.

        Patrick said (in his original "someone help me" email) that the plaque/toothbrush scenario was one if his theories. Since then, he has not mentioned it in any of his updates (that I could find).

        All he mentions is that he wants to thank his doctor, and he's feeling better, etc, etc.

        Personally, he always sounded like a bit of a hypochondriac prima donna, and I was anxiously waiting to be proven wrong.
        • by nbert (785663)

          Personally, he always sounded like a bit of a hypochondriac prima donna, and I was anxiously waiting to be proven wrong.

          To me it sounds more like he was really sick and started consulting experts of various fields right away. This is obviously a bad choice because experts always relate symptoms to their realm.

          Besides it's also noteworthy that some doctors have strange concepts about treating patients - I could start a huge rant right now about medics performing enemas on patients with toothache, but ther

          • Re:No. (Score:2, Offtopic)

            by bani (467531)
            there's no better place for offtopic rants than /. !
            • by nbert (785663)
              Thanks for the encouragement, however, I still don't feel that it would provide any use to me or everybody who reads it :P

              Being the only one in my family who hasn't studied medicine I'm quite convinced that there is a bad way to seek for help (TM). And it seems to me that Volkerding took this road. However, since we don't really know anything about his disease I can only make assumptions. But reading stories like the one about plaque bacteria heading to his lungs are strange enough to keep me theorizing (i
              • Re:No. (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Lost Race (681080)
                He knew it was a crazy idea; he was desperate and brainstorming, hoping for any kind of clue as to what was happening to him. It's better to have lots of crazy ideas than no ideas at all. Obviously it's best to have the right idea, but that can be very hard to find, particularly when you're not an expert and all the experts keep telling you there's no problem, when there very very clearly is a problem. Patrick Volkerding is no prima donna, and no hypochondriac. If he says he's seriously ill, he's seriou
      • by e40 (448424)
        Sounds like he needs to close his mouth around the brush and breath through his nose. That's what I do to prevent splatter everywhere (and, apparently, breathing evil bacteria).
        • I don't know about you, but my ex used to get pissed at me for the toothpaste splatters on the mirror. I used to not close my mouth out of spite:)
      • Re:WTF (Score:2, Informative)

        by j0d3r (463680)
        The "blog" sounds more like a case of what can happen when a hypochondriac has access to too much Internet information without enough medical training. I find it interesting that he was able to self-diagnose a mitral valve prolapse and regurgitation without an echocardiogram (NOT an EKG), pulmonary sulfur granules without a bronchoscopy, decided he needed diagnostics without indications for them, and specific antibiotics without a positive microbial culture (which is hard to get with actinomycosis since it'
        • If you read the whole history, he actually seems more like the opposite (hypercondriac?). He spent a long time ignoring the problem or treating it just enough to make the symptoms go away. All the theories he came up with were not concocted prior to seeking medical opinion or despite their conclusions as you might expect with a hypocondriac. It was only when doctors were not able to diagnose his problem that he got desperate enough to try to do research himself.
      • you know, I had the same thing happen after I started using a whirling toothbrush. I started hacking up little balls of plaque. (only in my throat, not my lungs) It took me a few weeks before I connected the two. I only use the whirling toothbrush once a week now, and no more coughing up gross stuff.

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Funny)

      by caluml (551744) <slashdot@spCOWam ... minus herbivore> on Sunday December 19, 2004 @07:00PM (#11133450) Homepage
      Hey downloaded a corrupt ebuild, which hosed his glibc, but he booted from a recovery CD, and make HUPd the floogle, which he rscp'd over from the InterMX satellite, and after rdev'ing his kernel, he can now syslog to the console. Or something.
      • No, he reversed the polarity of his plasma relays and reconfigured the main deflector dish to emit a tachyon pulse.

        No, wait, that was to fix some other problem.

        Oh, I remember now.
        He shrunk a team of specialists and a submarine and injected them into his bloodstream.
        They roamed through his body, zapping the bad bacteria with a laser.
        It was touch and go for a while, especially when anitbodies started wrapping themselves around Raquel Welch's shapely body, but they managed to escape through his eye before th
  • by gregm (61553) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:23PM (#11133215)
    I followed this story closely and even posted my 2 cents... so what wtf problem?
  • Cancer probably (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PoderOmega (677170) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:39PM (#11133323)
    If you RTFA he is plugging a cancer specialist he either has or cancer or maybe a benign tumor that could they thought could be cancerous. But I doubt it is benign if he was having symptoms. Either way he doesn't want to come out and say it.
    • Re:Cancer probably (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Limburgher (523006) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:52PM (#11133390) Homepage Journal
      . . .which is totally his decision. While I'm hightly curious and even more concerned, it's None Of Our Damn Business. I can think of nothing more private.

      It's enough for me that he's feeling better, and presumably on the road to recovery. Best wishes and good health, Pat.


      • While I'm hightly curious and even more concerned, it's None Of Our Damn Business. I can think of nothing more private.


        If he had remained private about the whole matter it would be None Of Our Damn Business. He did however post cries for help (twice!) about his illness to the Open Source community, speculate about what his problem is, etc. At the point you make the matter public, it DOES become the publics business. Obviously he can release as much information about it as he wants, but he already pu
        • Re:Cancer probably (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Limburgher (523006) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @07:57PM (#11133803) Homepage Journal
          At the point you make the matter public, it DOES become the publics business.

          While in principle I agree with you, think of it this way: If you come to me for advice meeting women, does that entitle me to watch the resulting sexual activity?

          Ignoring of course the issue of whether I WANT to. . .:)

        • //rant on
          Its not anyones business to harrass the guy though, not as far as I am concerned anyway. He asked for help because he felt desperate, now he is back working on Slack. Thats enough information isnt it?

          People may feel cheated that they dont know the gory details of his current state of health but I am sure that the majority of people are just glad to hear that he is back doing what he enjoys. "Publics business" my arse, you dont own the guy just because he asked for help. Go watch the tv if you want

          • He asked for help because he felt desperate, now he is back working on Slack. Thats enough information isnt it?

            No, not really. There's been some legitimate concern if this guy is really sick, or just a hypochondriac. I don't know either way, but the fact that he's suddenly real quite about what the mystery illness was (that he also asked people for help trying to identify) doesn't really help the case against hypochondria.

            "Publics business" my arse, you dont own the guy just because he asked for hel
            • There's been some legitimate concern if this guy is really sick, or just a hypochondriac.

              Wow with that kind of concern for his wellbeing being shown, he must be pretty heartless to refrain from keeping his "fans" updated?

              The interest is one of trust. If the guy does the same thing in 6 months, are we to believe him?

              How many years has he been producing Slackware? How many times has he asked for help? Yeah, he's really starting to be a burden.

              • Wow with that kind of concern for his wellbeing being shown, he must be pretty heartless to refrain from keeping his "fans" updated?

                Nice strawman argument. The issue is not one of fandom. If you expose yourself to public scrutiny don't be too surprised when people actually scrutinize you.


                How many years has he been producing Slackware? How many times has he asked for help? Yeah, he's really starting to be a burden.

                That's really immaterial. What is relevent is credibility. The lack of information
                • Boy this is all getting pretty humorless.

                  Though I'm enjoying the presumption that Patrick must be in league with or even the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler because he hasnt shared the gory details of his aparent recovery from illness.

                  I suggest that we pettiton mr Bush to load up some bombers and flatten the guy as soon as possible. After all in the "WAR ON TERROR" you cant be too sure. Heh, its even possible that his illness is some genetically modified disease implanted by Alien terroists in league with m
                • Nice strawman argument

                  Straw man argument? It wasn't an argument at all. I was simply making fun of your obvious lack of concern for his wellbeing accompanied by demands that he show consideration for you.

                  As for his credibility...he may be in danger of loosing his credibility as a patient but really, who the fuck cares? Are you in charge of his medical care? If you don't want to give him advice, don't.
    • If you RTFA he is plugging a cancer specialist he either has or cancer or maybe a benign tumor that could they thought could be cancerous.

      Not necessarily. While that doctor is obviously hooked on cancer (not exactly what I meant, but you get the idea), he may not have been brought in specifically for that. Mark Hill dug up some info on the guy here [cancerforums.net]. He's a hematologist, and could have been brought in for just about any patient with strange heart trouble I'd imagine, though I'm not a doctor of course

  • PubMed (Score:5, Informative)

    by blackula (584329) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @06:42PM (#11133339)
    Use PubMed as your medical information source. It's where the scientists and docs publish their research and is considering a "real" datasource (as opposed to citing "the internet". Your doctors will know the name Pubmed when you mention it. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi [nih.gov] My daughter has a heart condition and we found the doctors weren't interested in really discussing anything until we started using the "right" terminology. The terminology I picked up after reading a number of PubMed publications about my daugher's condition. I highly suggest that anyone researching any condition (but especially something exotic like Patrick) hit PubMed. Make it your source you cite when talking to your docs. Make it your primary source of information. All the other websites you read are just summing up the papers published here.
    • Re:PubMed (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Remember that one of the reasons for terminology is to make it seem to yourself and others that you know what your tallking about.

      Of course some terminology is helpful to making meaningful statements in a given field of discourse.

      Medline is a bibliographic database of articles published in medical journals. It represents current and historical thought of the medical profession.

      If you or someone you love is ill and you are intelligent then I would advise the best thing to do is to apply your analytical po
  • Patrick is a great guy and slackware is the only distro I like. Good to see that he is recovering.
  • Very glad to hear it. I think a lot of us have a genuine concern for a fellow geek, especially an Alpha like Patrick :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2004 @07:10PM (#11133507)
    Christmas is for giving virgin births, it's Easter that's meant for rising from the dead.
  • Now I can start updating my laptop and firewall boxes again. :)
  • by Nate B. (2907) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @07:57PM (#11133801) Homepage Journal
    Hearing this from Patrick is good news. I started with Slackware '96 and used it for a few years until I went all Debian. With Pat's illness in the news, Slack was brought back to the forefront in my mind. I dusted off the old 486 and did a minimal install for a ham radio TCP/IP experiment. Even at version 10.0 it is still familiar and fast.

    While I still love Debian, Slackware is great for a fast, small system. Keep up the good work, Pat.

    • Slackware was what got me into Linux, which got me an internship, which got me a job, which saved me from being an unemployed philosophy major. Thanks Pat!

  • his doc's blog (Score:3, Informative)

    by davids-world.com (551216) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @08:06PM (#11133840) Homepage
    This seems to be his doctor's cancer blog [weblogsinc.com].

    (Like everybody else, I wonder what Patrick's problem turned out to be in the end... )

    • Re:his doc's blog (Score:2, Interesting)

      by leofaoro (841868)
      Hey This community is *really* impressive. Came here to check where all this traffic was coming from :-) I am also glad he is back. regards, Leo
  • by eeg3 (785382) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @08:59PM (#11134063) Homepage
    ...Projects that are centered directly around one person are a bad, bad idea. OpenBSD would suffer from this, too... specifically because Theo owns copyrights and whatnot. What happens when he quits, dies, or gives up?

    All major projects should have elected core members, and shouldn't be dependent on them.
    • To each his own. They do their work, and it is a PRIVILEGE that they freely and openly share that work with us. If THEO wants to fork a BSD-licensed system and create an extremely secure system, great, he gets to do it how he wants, at his pace, on his time.

      His work is a PRIVILEGE for the community, not a right. OpenBSD isn't something you deserve or can demand, it is the benevolence of a talented guy, don't take it for granted, appreciate it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      All major projects should have elected core members, and shouldn't be dependent on them.


      OpenBSD exists today for the simple fact that elected core members are a stupid idea. Or don't you remember how Theo was kicked off the NetBSD project by the (democratically elected) core group?

      Face it-- being popular enough to win an election doesn't mean that you know jack shit about technology, how to manage it, how to develop it, or where to take it. It means that you're popular-- nothing more or less.

      Theo de
  • So WTF was wrong?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EllynGeek (824747) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @09:42PM (#11134290)
    Come on, man! You spray the Internet with in-depth descriptions of your symptoms, theories, research, and how you ran from one doctor to the next when you couldn't get an answer within five minutes... and now you don't say what you have, or what fixed it? sheesh dood. All those people who expressed concern and genuine care for you, and that's the best you can do? Not cool.
  • I'm glad to see that another important figure in geek culture is back and working. If he integrated ndiswrappers and FTP support with the install floppy, I'd install slackware right now on my friends PC. I'm happy with gentoo, but I've been meaning to investigate slackware for some time now. Unfortunate name, though... what *were* they thinking?
    • Unfortunate name, though... what *were* they thinking

      Eh. It keeps the corporate drones from stinking up the distro's vibe, and that, I like.

      I can hear the Pointy Haired one now: "You want to install WHAT? OH no, we're going with company whose name reminds me of a flaccid, miniature phallus."
  • Dental disease? DENTAL DISEASE? AKA "I didn't take care of my teeth nor visit a dentist regularly"?

    ???
  • by Pvt_Waldo (459439) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @11:08PM (#11134763)
    If one guy can get sick and potentially torpedo an entire open source project, then just how well is the model being applied?

    As far as a user goes, what's the difference between some guy getting sick, and some company going under? To the user they are both left stranded with a product that potentially doesn't get bug fixes or updates.

    I'm not saying OS is flawed, but just that in this case, it makes me SERIOUSLY not want to even consider this distro. It all depends on one guy seems to be the message here.
  • What details? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Cisco Kid (31490) * on Monday December 20, 2004 @12:18AM (#11135025)
    His two postings from November are as detailed as they were then, and the new posting has absolutely no details at all.

    Curious /.'s want to know - so what happened? Did they find a mysterious alien implant, or the right way to kill a nasty bug? All he says is that he's 'feeling better'
    • Re:What details? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RedBear (207369)
      My theory on the lack of details is that they did all the tests and finally convinced him he's a nutbar hypochondriac and doesn't want the world to know that he got everyone all concerned about something that was all in his head.

      Put the pitchforks down, folks, it's a joke!

      But seriously, I'm one of those who thinks those who care about this issue should be given a little better status update than, "hey, I'm feeling better". It just seems kind of rude to leave so many people in the dark like that after gett
  • by achurch (201270) on Monday December 20, 2004 @03:14AM (#11135520) Homepage

    . . . after dissing [slashdot.org] Volkerding's Google-based self-diagnosis?

  • I guess he got so annoyed by slashdot wiseguys that he thought being horribly sick just wasn't worth it.

    Seriously though, this is good news. I've always been a slackware user (starting with slack 2.0 I think) and I'm glad he's better now.

  • Isn't it obvious? He has recovered because I removed Gentoo and installed Slackware on my computer recently.


    I'm now convinced that Patrick's health is directly tied to the operation of one of my computers. You see, he first reported having health problems right around the time my Gentoo system was starting to develop problems. His second update was about the time (for some strange reason) parts of my gcc install disappeared from my hard drive.

    I downloaded the ISOs of my favorite distro (though few mir
    • The slackware x.org package doesn't come with xf86cfg for some reason

      The reason is because slackware doesn't come with xf86 any more. It comes with x.org. (I know, you said it). Logically therefore the configuration program is no longer known as xf86cfg, but as xorgcfg :-)

      However you're probably better off with xorgsetup.

      Now I've done my bit for Patrick too!!!

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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