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Remembering Matthew Rosewarne

Last night I received an email from his father telling me that Matthew Rosewarne had passed away. It was my responsibility to pass along the notice of his passing to the rest of PLUG, so with much difficulty, I did. His obituary is online here, reposting:

MATTHEW ROSEWARNE, August 23, 2009 of Philadelphia PA. Tragically lost after a prolonged illness. Remembered with abiding love by his parents Dr. Sidney Kahn and Clare Kahn Mozes; his sister, Ellie; stepfather, Sandy Mozes; step- brothers, Dan, Jon and Eric Mozes; extended Kahn, Rosewarne, Mozes and Harary families and many loving friends. Relatives and friends are invited to Services Tuesday, 1:30 P.M., at JOSEPH LEVINE AND SON, N. Broad St. above 71st Ave., Phila. Int. Montefiore Cem. The family will return to the residence of Dr. Sidney Kahn and request that contributions in his memory be made to Electronic Frontier Foundation, 454 Shotwell St., San Francisco CA 94110 (www.eff.org) or to the Cousteau Society, 710 Settlers Landing Rd., Hampton VA 23669 (www.cousteau.org)

There isn’t a post I could write that would do justice to his memory, so I won’t even try. Instead I’ll just reflect on memories and the contributions to F/OSS that I was directly aware of.

I met Matt a few years ago through PLUG. His first talk at PLUG was on February 7, 2007 on KDE – “Here Be Dragons: The Path to KDE4” (slides). In May of that same year he participated in a series of Lightning Talks, his being on Nethack – the original and recent incantations (slides). He was the first presenter that PLUG North officially had upon joining PLUG (prior to this we were MontcoLUG), speaking on Building Debian Packages with the Common Debian Build System (slides), which he also gave a later talk on at PLUG Central in October of that year. In 2008 and 2009 he participated in more Lightning Talks, this time focusing on KDE apps more with a short talk on Krita in June of 2008 and one on Semantik (formerly Kdissert) in January of 2009. In addition to presentations for PLUG, he also contributed the Keysigning with the GNU/Linux Terminal page for our website, which we use for our keysignings.

Even without all this work, he was a valuable member of PLUG for the excitement he brought to the group regarding Debian, KDE and Free Software in general. Outside of PLUG he was involved with Debian package maintaining as a member of the Debian KDE team (http://qa.debian.org/developer.php?login=mrosewarne@inoutbox.com) and I could always count on him to get me up to speed with the latest Debian politics and policy decisions. I was never a KDE fan, and our playful sparring regarding his passion for it is something I will never forget. When KDE was mentioned at PLUG, we all thought of Matt.

On a personal level, Matt was a friend. In the winter of 2008 he joined a bunch of us for the Philly Linux LAN Party put together by Ubuntu Pennsylvania, an unforgettable event that Matt played a huge part of. In August of last year we carpooled together to the New Jersey LoCo August Linux LAN Party, following which he didn’t feel like going home, so we spent the night wandering around Philadelphia. That night he introduced me to Continental in Philadelphia and their crazy martini menu (my martini had Smarties in it, his was made with Tang!), and the wonders of late night food at Wawa. For my birthday last year he got me a pink elephant, so I could have the pleasure of seeing them when I’m sober too, hah!

The Ubuntu Pennsylvania Team has decided to dedicate our Software Freedom Day at PACS event to Matt, where will have a collection for a donation to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in his memory. We’ll also have a toast to his memory at the Philadelphia Perl Mongers trip to Victory Brewpub tomorrow.

Thank you for everything Matt, for being part of my life, for being part of the community. You are missed.


  • brent

    hear hear.

    he was quite brilliant and witty; a valuable person as both a member of PLUG and a friend that i wish i got to know better.


  • nixternal

    Sorry to hear this. It sounds like Matt was obviously my type of guy. I have passed this on to the KDE community to let them all know that about our fallen comrade. Thanks for posting this, and for letting the open source world know about Matt.

  • Dread Knight


  • alas

    Sad news indeed.

  • Gino V

    I knew him online, we chatted from time to time and he’d help me set up stuff on my linux desktop… he’s the one who got me interested in Qt and KDE. I feel bad that I’m only just now hearing about his death. especially because I hadn’t talked to him in literally years. I remember trying to track him down a few times to no avail during the year…. now I wish I’d have tried harder. I’ll miss you my dear friend
    -CollidedAtoms (GinoMan on freenode)