Frans Pop & Debian harassment: death by a thousand emails

The revelation that Frans Pop resigned the night before Debian Day has shaken the way people view his decision to end his life. It is hard to eliminate the role of Debian in the death.

In one of the previous blogs, I presented a chart showing how there was a sustained peak in debian-private gossip in the weeks before his death.

Looking back to his resignation in May 2007, we find an even bigger peak. In fact, there were over 1,000 debian-private emails in one month, March 2007. A few weeks later and Frans posted the following words:

Subject: [Very long] Post-partem rant and retrospective
Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 03:56:11 +0200
From: Frans Pop 

I've decided to write this in a separate mail because I'm afraid this may get long. Quite a bit of this has been written before, but I hope some of you will bear with me.


So, what has made me decide to leave the project. It's a combination of just plain emotional stress over the whole Sven Luther issue, frustration with the inability of the project to deal with that and with some other issues, and frustration with the fact that a fair number of members of the project seem to feel that as long as you don't upload packages with trojans, pretty much anything is OK.

Looking at the chart, we can see Ubuntu development commenced secretly in early 2004. Frans Pop joined the debian-private mailing list in June 2005.

I think anybody who gets 1,000 emails in a month will remember that. It may well have come to mind for Frans and other volunteers in August 2010. That is when Ubuntu developers simultaneously began the pushing for DEP-5 and the pushing for Constantly Usable Testing (CUT). That is when Frans decided enough was enough.

More blogs about Frans Pop, the Debian Day volunteer suicide.

debian-private, Frans Pop, suicide