Bonum Certa Men Certa

William Lee Irwin III, Michael Schultheiss & Debian, Oracle, Russian kernel scandal

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Apr 23, 2024

[Article 1 year old]

Reprinted with permission from

William Lee Irwin III, wli, Debian, Oracle, Linux kernel

Early 2011, six months after the Debian Day volunteer suicide (Frans Pop), a mysterious livejournal blog appeared in Russian about a US-based kernel developer in trouble.

William Lee Irwin III was a kernel developer and Debian Developer who worked at Oracle. He pioneered support for page clustering on x86. After a medical problem or a seizure, it is suggested that Oracle simply dumped him in the street and he ended up in a homeless shelter.

Is America's health system really so bad that they need to rely on Russian support to keep kernel developers above the poverty line? (Yes, American healthcare really is that bad)

The Russian blog post is followed by a comment in English hinting that a debian-private (leaked gossip network) thread found a job for Irwin. We examined all messages in the thread and found the claim is over-optimistic. Various people made suggestions about jobs but none of them wrote that he was accepted for a job. At best, they helped pay his mobile phone so he can look for a job.

Exagerating: BTW very interesting situation: There was a large discussion in debian-private after your post (it was translated and forwadred by someone). As I understand, debian guys met William. Hi is in difficult situation, but they help him with employment and organized some sort of fund for the first time.

Despite the rosy claims that Debian helped this developer, the real reason we stumbled upon this thread is because Schultheiss has signed a nasty document attacking another volunteer. Debian and Oracle are no better in the way they chew people up and spit them out. The volunteer attacked by Schultheiss resigned at a time when he lost two family members. Debian fascists treated him like shit, just as Oracle treated Irwin like shit.

We find no evidence of William Lee Irwin III participating anywhere after 2011.

Subject: Re: News (unverified) about
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2011 20:13:10 -0500
From: Jimmy Kaplowitz <>
To: Jurij Smakov <>
CC:, Michael Schultheiss <>

My mail is basically quoting all of Jurij's mail en bloc, so I think that justifies a top-post even to debian-private....
I'm CCing Michael Schultheiss, who is a DD (and SPI treasurer) who currently works in Indianapolis and lives not far from there. I don't have anything specific to suggest to him other than that he might at least want to do some initial reaching out, but I did want to ensure he saw this message. Any other DD in the area might also want to help, but he's the only one currently in my forebrain. (It's cramped in there!)
- Jimmy Kaplowitz
P. S. - This mail should also stay private forever, including my bits.
On Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 12:37:47AM +0000, Jurij Smakov wrote: > Hello, > > Today, pretty much by accident, I've noticed the following Livejournal > post (in Russian): > Author of the post was privately contacted by Samium Gromoff > <>, who claims to be a Linux kernel > developer and a close friend of William Lee Irwin III, formerly > > > Samium's message is basically a plea for help for wli. It states that > wli has recently lost his job at Oracle and currently does not have > any source of income, residing in an Indianapolis homeless shelter, > with his health deteriorating. He's trying to arrange employment for > wli which would allow him to get back on his feet, however has been > unsuccessful so far, and would welcome any help people could offer. > He claims to know wli's phone number, which by now has become > pretty much the only available communication channel with him. > > Note that I have never heard of Samium Gromoff before (this appears to > be a pseudonym of one Serge Kosyrev, according to a quick Google > search), and I don't have any way of verifying this information, so it > might very well be some sort of elaborate hoax (even though its goal > is unclear at this point). I hope that given that wli used to be a > Debian developer, there are people on this list who have known him > personally and would be able to verify this information, as well as > people who could offer help and support for wli, should this > information turn out to be true. > > Due to sensitive personal details mentioned in this message, I request > it to be left private forever. > > Best regards, > -- > Jurij Smakov > Key: KeyID: C99E03CC > > > -- > Please respect the privacy of this mailing list. Some posts may be declassified > 3 years after posting as per > > Archive: file:// > > To UNSUBSCRIBE, use the web form at <>. > >

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