RE: OT: Time for a little inspiration

Subject: RE: OT: Time for a little inspiration
From: "Thomas, Julie" <Julie -dot- Thomas -at- pgworks -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2011 11:14:41 -0400

Thanks so much for posting this information. I've been feeling pretty
frustrated with my situation lately, and your post reminded me that
things could be so much worse. Mr. Hands' effort to continue in the face
of this horrible disease is so inspiring.
Thanks again,

One of the reasons I am so passionate about the free software/open
source movement is the passion and commitment of the developers. One
story that recently surfaced, though, is truly exceptional and may serve

as an example for people in many walks of life.

A gentleman named Adrian Hands was both a coder (a "hacker" in the best
meaning of that term) and a man with peerless commitment and dedication.

He submitted an extension to the Gnome software people that fixed a
needed element in the menu code.

That may not be so unusual, but there is far more to the story. He
worked on it during the last days of his life, and it was accepted by
the project about two days before he passed away. In itself, that is
both unusual and laudable. But there's still more.

You see, Adrian Hands died of ALS -- aka Lou Gehrig's disease. During
his last years, he had lost the power of movement in his hands, so his
coding was done with a specially-modified two-pedal device that accepted

Morse code and converted it to text or computer commands. With the
little remaining strength and control of his legs, he persisted until
his fix was complete, tested, and submitted.

Fortunately, he lived long enough to see its adoption, which pleased him


You can see a photo of him working at his computer during those last
days at

The discussion about this particular fix was contained in the bug
tracking database of the Gnome project, which includes a letter from his

son about it all:

The next time I think about giving up on something I'm working on, I
hope I think of the dedication and commitment of Adrian Hands to give me

that extra impetus I need.

I hope you find this story as moving and worthwhile as I did.


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