A humble farewell to Seth Vidal

Seth VidalI was shocked to see Robyn Bergeron’s email today about Seth Vidal’s passing. He was the victim of a hit and run accident while he was cycling last night. The suspect has turned himself in as of tonight.

I first met Seth at FUDCon Tempe back in 2011. We had talked off and on via email and IRC about cloud-related topics. He was interested in how we assembled our cloud offering at Rackspace and I was eager to talk to him about building cloud images and handling mirrors. I gave him a compliment about yum and how handy it was. He thanked me, shrugged it off humbly, and then wanted to talk more about my work at Rackspace on our Cloud Servers offering.

He had some criticisms for our product and he delivered them in such a way that they were open ended. It wasn’t like “Rackspace’s cloud is terrible, I can’t use it”, but instead, his point was “I like your stuff — just not in its current state — so how can you set things up so my stuff will work?” Although I tried to do the same when talking about Fedora and Xen (which wasn’t a match made in heaven at the time), I don’t think I was nearly as effective as Seth was.

We talked every so often after that, mostly on IRC, about changing in the cloud environment. He’d elbow me about using Xen over KVM and I’d elbow him about using Eucalyptus over OpenStack. We’d have a good volley and eventually we’d make fun of each other’s stance in the conversation. I learned a lot from Seth on how to handle disagreements in the open source world and he was always a good sounding board when I had a good idea. Well, sometimes I thought it was a good idea but he quickly reminded me that I could do better. ;)

Seth: I bid you farewell and safe passage to wherever you go from here. I’m not a religious guy, and we never talked religion together, but if there’s a good place a guy like you could go, I’m sure you’re on the way there now. If I’m able to be half the technologist you were on your worst day, I’d say I’ve accomplished something pretty amazing. I’ll cut this short here, Seth, because I need to use yum to get some servers updated. Thanks again.

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