Goodbye Seth

Seth Vidal meant a lot to many people. He touched lives without even meeting people in the flesh. I’m lucky to have met and worked with a great man. 

I met Seth on IRC, affectionately known as skvidal sometime in 2002/2003. We worked on The Fedora Project while we were both outsiders (i.e. non-Red Hat employees). He was a sysadmin at Duke University back then.

Seth was funny, charming, and very welcoming. He always offered great advice and provided good direction. He was a leader without seeking a position. He was a great mentor. When times got tough, it was private chats with Seth (and a select few) that made me continue. Volunteering is tough, and in the opensource world there are plenty of egos to deal with; Seth came with no ego, no airs, and was always down-to-earth and an awesome chap to make sure that the bad things would soon pass.

We had many conversations from IRC, to private mailing lists, to in-person meetings. It probably happened at the very first FUDCon in Boston (a time that Boston was quite snowed in). We met, chatted, and I’ll never forget all the amazing people who organised it because I was underage in the USA then, and couldn’t legally drink – workarounds were found. I met Seth’s partner as well. The early days of the Fedora Project, we were all like family.

Over time, families grow and tend to move on. The Fedora Project grew by leaps and bounds. I moved on to work on other things, leaving me less time to work on Fedora. 

With Seth however, we were always connected. He would occasionally drop a comment on Flickr. With the advent of Google Plus, Seth and I chatted more. Sometimes he’d surprise me with a reply on Twitter.

Two weeks ago, we lamented on a Google Hangout how we hadn’t seen each other, in the flesh, for quite some time. We decided to rectify it at Flock in August.

One month to the date, right before boarding a plane from Frankfurt to Sao Paulo, I find out that Seth was killed in a hit-and-run while biking. A horrid way to go for someone who was only 36, filled with so much potential and a very bright future. I read the note that Red Hat posted, and I’d encourage all to read it. It will only bring tears to your eyes.

Its sad to note that his warm welcome and mentorship will not be felt by new contributors. It’s sad to know I’ve lost a friend. It’s sad to note that I never told him how much his mentorship and chats meant to me. Whenever I run yum, I am forever going to remember Seth, and what he meant to me.