Death of a FreeBSD contributor: John Birrell

Craig Rodrigues writes that his friend and colleague John Birrell passed away.

John has contributed much to the Free code over the years:

  • port of Sun’s DTrace to FreeBSD (2007)
  • contributed BSD licensed libdwarf to FreeBSD (2008)
  • contributed initial implementation of FreeBSD on DEC Alpha, from NetBSD (1998)
  • contributed original libc_r pthread implementation to FreeBSD before KSE (1998)
  • contributed to port of Sun UltraSPARC-T1 (Niagara) to FreeBSD (2005)

John Birrell was a Unix developer since 1988 and a FreeBSD user since version 1.0.5.  He had a Bachelor Degree in Engineering (Electrical, First Class Honours, 1981) from Monash University in Australia.

Over the years he developed with various commercial Unix variants such as SysVR2/3, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, OSF/1 and SCO and several embedded operatings systems like VxWorks, LynxOS and Microware’s OS9.

In the open source world he was once a user of NetBSD and OpenBSD in addition to FreeBSD. Afterwards, he preferred just to use FreeBSD.

While on a business trip visiting his employer Juniper Networks in Sunnyvale, California, U.S.A., John suffered a stroke, and passed away on November 20, 2009.

Read more about John and his achievements