Wow. What a day. It’s 2:30 in the morning, and I can’t sleep. Why? Rob Levin, head of PDPC and creator of Freenode died yesterday.
It’s all over the geek news. It’s been on Slashdot, Digg, Reddit and many other news sites. So I’m not about to go over the news again.
However, I would like to comment a little on what I thought of lilo. For me, he was one of the most friendly people on Freenode. I met him, initially, while ranting about #ubuntu. I use Tor, and connect to the Freenode hidden service. When I joined #ubuntu, I was forwarded to #ubuntu-ops. Surprised, I inquired why, and found it was because I use Tor. Well, I joined #tor to find support, and to complain screaming “fowl”. Right then, lilo jumped at my inquiry, and began a private message with me about getting me a tor/regular cloak. I said sure, and was able to join #ubuntu as they only blocked gatway/tor/* hosts.
Since then, I began hanging arount #tor, joining the conversation here and there, and found that lilo spent a great deal of time in #tor. I further discovered that he was very passionate about users being able to connect to a hidden service, having 100% anonymity and end-to-end encryption. Even with trolls galore using Tor, he kept the service available finding other ways to fight them off.
He received a great deal of abuse for having a hidden service available and for Tor clients to connect. It never ceased to amaze me how he handled the abuse. He was always calm and collected, and could thwart off arguments fairly well.
I had a great deal of conversations with lilo, and I always enjoyed them. He was insightful, had a sense of humor, and was a geek at heart. Heck, it was his UNIX epoch timestamp that he used in irssi that inspired me to create the binary_timestamp.pl that I use in my irssi client.
I trully feel like I lost a close friend, even if I never met him. Conversations in #tor will never be the same, and Freenode will have a different spirit about it as well. I hope his family is coping with the loss okay, as they lost a humble, and trully great man.
R.I.P. Rob Levin.