Open Source Community Rallies Around Popular FOSS Editor

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 17, 2010

When Linux Journal Associate Editor Shawn Powers left home with his family early Sunday morning, he had no idea their home and everything in it would be reduced to a pile of ashes a few hours later. A fire decimated his house and killed all five pets trapped inside.

Within hours, the FOSS community rallied around Powers, setting up a fund for donations and collecting more than $3,000 in less than four hours. In a manner repeated often in the open source community over the years, open source users, developers, and enthusiasts came to the aid of one of their own.

Blogging from his office late Sunday, Powers says the cause of the fire is likely electrical. He won't know if the house can be repaired or will be considered a total loss until the insurance company assesses the extent of the damage. In the meantime, his church, friends, and the Red Cross have all stepped in to clothe, house, and feed Powers, his wife, and their three daughters until the family is back on their feet. 

Powers had no idea of the donation efforts underway until many hours later. "Linux Journal put up a 'ChipIn' page, which is literally a link that people can send us money directly to my paypal account. It’s 7:00PM, and there’s already over two thousand dollars donated. That’s real money from real people, and we’re really humbled," he says.

"I really don’t know what to say. I really don’t. “Thank You” certainly doesn’t seem sufficient, but I think it’s all I can offer. So many people have contacted me, that I have no hope of responding to everyone, at least not in the short term. Just know that you’ve made me cry, in a good way, and today — that’s quite a feat."

Visit the family's ChipIn page to make a donation, and follow Powers on Twitter for updates. One hundred percent of all funds collected will go directly to the Powers family to help sustain them through this difficult time. To arrange for computer hardware or other material donations, please contact Linux Journal's publisher, Carlie Fairchild.

 All of us at OStatic extend our thoughts to the Powers family and our sympathies over the loss of Tigger, Tux, Kiki, Bruno, and Ella.