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[P]
Gnutella Developer Gene Kan Dies

By Eloquence in News
Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:27:20 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

According to CNET, Gnutella developer and evangelist Gene Kan (25) has passed away on June 29th. Gene Kan and others started the original Gnutella portal, gnutella.wego.com, which was essential for helping people hook up to the network. Gene was also a founder of InfraSearch.com, an attempt to use decentralized technology for querying databases. InfraSearch was endorsed by Mosaic/Netscape co-creator Marc Andreessen. InfraSearch later became a part of Sun's JXTA project.

Gene Kan's friend Yaroslav Faybishenko has written a few words about Gene's death.


For those who don't know, Gnutella is a decentralized network architecture that is primarily used for searching and downloading files. It was initially developed as a small Windows program by Justin Frankel of Nullsoft, which is an AOL-owned company most famous for its WinAmp MP3 player. AOL pulled the plug in early 2000 and ordered Nullsoft to cease all development, when they realized that they didn't have control over Gnutella's usage. The source code of Gnutella was intended to be eventually released under the GPL (thus the "GNU" in its name), but those plans were crushed by AOL's early intervention. Still, details of the protocol were either reverse engineered or otherwise obtained, and soon alternative clients to access the network were developed.

One big problem was to find an IP address to connect to. Gnutella is decentralized: To search for a file, you send a message to a few IP addresses, which propagate it to other IP addresses they know, and so on, up to a certain limit defined in the message and protocol. (Nowadays, things are a little bit more complex, but that was the early design.) The problem is that you need to know someone before you can ask them to forward messages for you.

For this "initial discovery" of Gnutella nodes, the Nullsoft creators had provided a so-called "hostcache", a centralized server whose address was hardcoded into the early Gnutella application. Contacted by the user's Gnutella client, it would return a list of the IP addresses of the users that last contacted it. But as AOL stepped in, the hostcache was also taken down. Gene Kan and others set up gnutella.wego.com, which instructed users how to still access the network, at first with the original client and later with new applications.

Gnutella Goes to Washington

As Nullsoft's Justin Frankel didn't say a word about Gnutella, Gene quickly became the media's primary Gnutella expert, often even portrayed as the "lead developer". His excellent communicative skills allowed him to explain to the public at large what made Gnutella different from the already litigated Napster network, namely its lack of a single point of failure. His prominence reached its peak when he gave testimony before the US Senate on the future of file sharing (see below).

InfraSearch, a company started by Gene and friends, intended to use the Gnutella principle of broadcast searching a large number of hosts in real-time for business-oriented applications. You should, for example, be able to query the prices of several retailers in real-time. In its goals it was perhaps similar to what is now commonly called "Web Services" and is a major building block of Microsoft's .NET strategy. Unlike Web Services, however, InfraSearch would have allowed data suppliers to immediately add their own databases to the network without any directory approval, and searches across all suppliers would have been possible.

Meanwhile, other companies tried (and failed) to use Gnutella for similar applications not related to file sharing. FirstPeer, for example, developed a Java client that could be used to access "GNUMarkets", sort of a decentralized eBay. The idea flopped.

When Sun announced its JXTA P2P initiative in early 2001, Kan and others quickly jumped onboard. Nebulous as it remains, JXTA became a haven for many P2P developers. Since then, little news was heard about his projects. One of the projects he was involved with is called Gnougat.

CNET reports:

A memorial fund is being set up in Kan's name at UC Berkeley. Donations can be sent to the following address: In memory of Gene Kan; Manager, Gift Stewardship; College of Engineering; University of California, Berkeley; 201 McLaughlin Hall; Berkeley, Calif., 94720-1722. Checks should be made out to "UC Regents" but clearly marked for the Gene Kan fund.

I tend to think that it matters what kind of difference we make in this world, so I encourage you to take a look at Gene's projects, articles and ideas:

If you find anything else of interest, please post below.

(also posted to infoAnarchy.org)

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Poll
Have you heard about Gene Kan before his death?
o Yes 19%
o No, and I haven't heard about Gnutella 0%
o No, but I have heard about Gnutella 79%

Votes: 184
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o According to CNET
o JXTA
o a few words
o WinAmp
o alternativ e clients
o Gnougat
o Google Search: Gene Kan
o The Wayback Machine: Gene Kan's Homepage
o Gene Kan: Next Step for P2P? Open Services
o Gene Kan: Testimony before the United States Senate
o "Music on the Internet: Is there and Upside to Downloading?"
o "Collabora tive Computing in Higher Education: Peer-to-Peer and Beyond"
o HTML
o Power Point
o Time Digital Portrait of Gene Kan
o O'Reilly OpenP2P Interview with Gene Kan and Mike Clary on Infrasearch
o interview with Gene Kan and Rael Dornfest
o The Atlantic interview with Gene Kan
o here
o Also by Eloquence


Display: Sort:
Gnutella Developer Gene Kan Dies | 124 comments (104 topical, 20 editorial, 4 hidden)
Wow. (3.10 / 10) (#12)
by delmoi on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:02:36 PM EST

That's pretty shocking. You don't expect 25 year olds to die. I wonder what happened.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
private (3.00 / 7) (#18)
by sanity on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:42:05 PM EST

That's pretty shocking. You don't expect 25 year olds to die. I wonder what happened.
It is, but it is also clear that his family and close friends aren't talking about it - and we should respect their wishes.

[ Parent ]
Sounds a little odd to me... (2.75 / 8) (#20)
by DeadBaby on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:29:10 AM EST

If anything it should be looked into more. Doesn't anyone else find it a little odd the family won't even say what he died of? He was a healthy 25 year old, anyone who knew him, even in passing, deserves some type of explination I think.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Please respect his family. (3.66 / 6) (#21)
by The Amazing Idiot on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:40:28 AM EST

If they don't wnat to comment to the media what he died from, then dont badger them (or discuss it). This is an opinion based on ethics of families. Unless you are a member of that 'family', dont ask. Give regards, but dont ask.

[ Parent ]
Sensing our own mortality (4.16 / 6) (#26)
by DodgyGeezer on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:18:03 AM EST

When somebody important to us dies, it's only natural to wonder about the cause.  I suspect it helps us deal with our own mortality.

[ Parent ]
What? (4.00 / 7) (#46)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:34:24 AM EST

I find this offensive. Everyone has to earn respect, even posthumously. If he died in some sordid manner that is so unspeakable that his family won't tell us what it is, then someone paying him respect is going to feel cheated and misled when they discover that the object of their greiving was actually a rotten guy.

I mean, here is this story about him on the front page of K5 (and there are apparently memorials elsewhere), so people are broadcasting this young man's death, and asking us to all take a moment to appreciate his acheivements and his good character. It would be a damn shame to find out that he (say for instance) died when street racing in a fast car and took out a family of pedestrians at the same time, or died in the electric chair for being a serial killer. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's how he died, and I'm not trying to disparage his memory or cast mud on his grave or jump to any conclusions. But you must see that it is unfair to literally demand respect from such a wide audience, and then refuse to disclose the circumstances of his death, right?
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

His death (3.00 / 4) (#23)
by bouncing on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:26:14 AM EST

Indeed, as long as it isn't foul play, there's really no reason that everyone needs to know. Clearly, it was personal and I think we should leave it at that and honor him in his death.

[ Parent ]
Silence incriminates (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:03:57 AM EST

Unfortunately, the silence implies that his death was somehow shameful. Perhaps suicide, or accidental death cause by drug or alcohol abuse.

It it was one of those, perhaps it's better that it remains private, as no one will ever be able to use it with certainty to dismiss his achievements.

On the other hand, if neither of these causes are responsible, it is a shame to have them hang over him, for whatever reason.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Wired has the answer (4.88 / 9) (#44)
by thebrix on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:57:54 AM EST

I hope this little snippet of fair use quiets the speculators:

Quiet, Sad Death of Net Pioneer

It's horribly ironic that the news of Gene Kan's death has travelled so slowly [...] Perhaps the story of how a 25-year-old genius took his own life is simply something that is just too difficult for folks to talk about.

[ Parent ]

cultural differences. (4.00 / 5) (#42)
by Shren on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:26:34 AM EST

The average USian will tell you thier shoe size, health problems, family problems, personal prejudices, deep inner secrets, and favorite sexual positions - in the first five minutes you know them. People from other cultures are often astounded by the degree to which USians will discuss deeply personal issues with total strangers.

"I'm sorry, but I don't want to discuss my son's/brother's/friend's recent tragic death with you" is a normal, respectable, non-evasive answer in most cultures in the world, except they'd find a way to put it more politely. What is the polite way other cultures use to change the subject when personal issues come up? That's one area where I could do with some multiculturalism.

[ Parent ]

Car racing ? (3.33 / 6) (#33)
by kinenveu on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:18:50 AM EST

He owned some very powerful sport cars (cf. his archived home page). Maybe he had an accident ?

[ Parent ]
Probably Killed Himself (4.00 / 1) (#98)
by dbretton on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:00:22 AM EST

Usually: Family Doesn't Release Details = Suicide. I knew a couple of kids that killed themselves (one even hanged himself from a tree in his parents' bacyard), and both times: "family did not release the details of his death".
If you can read this, you are too close.
[ Parent ]
Personal Comments on genehkan (4.66 / 21) (#14)
by jjayson on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:12:04 PM EST

I just sent this little email to the XCF list, my labmates from Cal:
I went to high school with Gene and we had many classes together, we were both in a few extraciricular activities together, we both hung out together after school and one the weekends. I will always remember the trips to Cal State Fullerton, the innumerable movies, and the constant stream of quotes that came from him.

Gene and I were both decided what college to go to during our senior year and he is one of the people who convinced me to attend Cal. Through the first year at Cal I spent countless hours on his dorm floor (he roomed with another guy from our HS named Joe). Gene convincd me to take cs61a and cs61b over the summer. After that, he and Adam Goodman both dragged me unwillingly into the CS department. After we left Cal and I started working at Ask Jeeves, I still had contact with him and saw him up until I left the San Francisco Bay Area. Even during the down times at Ask Jeeves, Gene was always good at laughing at the situation and making me smile with that sarcastic wit that was masked in truth and assorted Beavisisms. Now, trying to move back to the Bay Area, I was looking forward to seeing Gene, again.

I had incredible respect for him personally and professionally. He was a trmendous friend that will be missed. I am still sitting here hoping that this is just a joke.



-j
"Even I can do poler co-ordinates and i can't even spell my own name." - nodsmasher
You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't
Memorial Fund (4.36 / 11) (#22)
by bouncing on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:23:41 AM EST

I would like more information about the memorial fund in his name. Specifically, what will it be funding and when? When those details are determined please post that information. I think we all want to further the causes the Gene started. Is the donation tax deductable?

Probable suicide... (3.00 / 11) (#24)
by Thinkit on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:29:33 AM EST

Here is an example of another tech suicide. I'm guessing this guy got caught in the downturn and didn't want to deal with the very negative environment towards innovation. Truly sad.

Evidence? (3.80 / 5) (#25)
by tpv on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:10:32 AM EST

Do you have any information to support that hypothesis?

The family's reluctance to talk could suggest suicide (due to the social stigma attached), but there are numerous other possible scenarios that also have social stigmas (HIV, Drugs, Street racing), or it could just be that they wish to respond privately (for religious, or other reasons)
Since I don't know very much at all about Gene, I have no way to judge between those (or other) options.

Do you know anything more than was in the article?
--
'I would therefore like to posit that computing's central challenge, viz. "How not to make a mess of it", has not been met.'
Edsger Dijkstra (1930-2002) EWD1304
[ Parent ]

Missing the point (3.20 / 5) (#31)
by scrm on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:52:11 AM EST

Frankly I'm pretty disappointed with the amount of speculation here about how Gene Kan died. Of course everyone is curious, but isn't it more important to focus on what he accomplished, to discuss what sort of a person he was, and to deliver messages of condolence, than to focus purely on the cause of Kan's death?

I'm sure it will come to light sooner or later, but now just isn't the time.

[ Parent ]

suicide isn't like giving up (3.00 / 3) (#51)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:57:17 AM EST

"I'm guessing this guy got caught in the downturn and didn't want to deal with the very negative environment towards innovation."

Although many outside of the profession of psychiatry think that suicide is weakness but it is better viewed as a trap that people fall in to.  Suicide actually has a specific neurochemical connection -- specifically 5-HT[2a/2b] downregulation in the lateral prefrontal cortex.

I don't think that you are adding very much to the discussion with your flippant and uninformed comment.

[ Parent ]

suicide.... and.. depression? (2.50 / 2) (#58)
by vile on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:23:19 PM EST

Not sure how well informed I am.. please definitely correct me if I'm wrong, but this field of study is of interest to me.. aren't the 5-HT neurochemicals related to seratonin production, reception, which handles the mood factor..? In my own personal studies of seratonin 'downregulation'.. chemically and educationally.. I've never put a gun to my face, or swallowed a bottle of pills.... so...?


It would also be good to note that this field of study is also new.. on a scale of say, broken bones.. theories..?

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
suicide: increased 5-HT[2a] binding in VPC (4.33 / 3) (#59)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:39:35 PM EST

Oops.  I was mistaken earlier.  

5-HT is just an accronym for 5-hydroxytryptamine which is just the chemical formulate for serotonin.

Serotonin has a number of different receptors that do different things such as 5-HT[1a], 5-HT[1b], 5-HT[2a], 5-HT[2b], etc...

I just checked my textbook and in 6 of 11 studies concerning suicide deaths an increase was observered in 5-HT[2a] binding in the ventral prefrontal cortex but not in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.  There was no significant change in 5-HT[2a] receptor numbers though.  These findings are distinct from those of depressed people who didn't commit suicide and of those who died from non-suicide causes.  It suggest there is a relationship between this receptor's function and suicide although the exact details or reasons are not yet fully understood.

For more information on specific neurochemical changes in relation to suicide that are distinct from depression I suggest reading chapter 29 in the textbook Neurobiology of Mental Illness (1991, Oxford Press).

[ Parent ]

possibly confusing cause and effect? (4.00 / 1) (#74)
by Delirium on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:44:34 PM EST

Of course it's a matter of debate whether "mind" and "brain" are synonymous (i.e. is "mind" just the net result of the functioning of the physical brain cells), but if they are, all this talk about certain chemicals in the brain "causing" moods might be confusing cause and effect -- the chemicals and the moods may well be synonymous. In that case you could say that certain chemicals "cause" depression, or you could say that being depressed "causes" the production of those chemicals, or you could simply say that the production of those chemicals is the definition of depression. Certainly brain function is more complex than a simple "[x] chemical means [x] mood" relationship, but you get the idea.

[ Parent ]
Note: I didn't say "X caused Y"... (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:18:43 PM EST

Check the quotes of mine to notice that I didn't postulate that one things caused another.  I was just stating a connection.

"Suicide actually has a specific neurochemical connection..."

"It suggest[s] there is a relationship between this receptor's function and suicide although the exact details or reasons are not yet fully understood."

[ Parent ]

Thank you (none / 0) (#121)
by vile on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 03:22:42 PM EST

I'll do that.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Jesus Christ (none / 0) (#124)
by phliar on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 01:28:34 AM EST

Here is an example of another tech suicide. I'm guessing this guy got caught in the downturn and didn't want to deal with the very negative environment towards innovation.
Dear god. I know him. We used to work together. His encouragement had a lot to do with me working through hard times with my flying... his passion for acrobatics was infectious. Flying -- flying acro -- was everything to him. Most people probably thought he was an obnoxious asshole, but he was smart and fun to be with and talk airplanes.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Let me hazard here (2.56 / 16) (#27)
by psychologist on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:28:02 AM EST

Now, I don't want to annoy anyone here, but Gene Kahn was generally regarded as an asshole among gnutella developers. They accused him of hijacking the gnutella next generation project to increase his personal fame and wealth.

Could it be that after failing at his business, the hate that was shown to him from the community caused a depression in him that led him to commit suicide?

I don't know. Perhaps someone who worked in the gnutella development circles, or who hung around in the gnutella chat room will know. Why doesn't someone go and ask?

I did think it was funny.... (4.25 / 4) (#30)
by morkeleb on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:51:13 AM EST

I'm on the _gdf Yahoo group, and I did find it strange that there was only one post in reference to his death and no follow-ups or comments. The group went on just talking about code. Of course it's possible that a lot of people who are on that group never knew him, because the development circle has widened considerably since Nullsoft released the first gnutella client, and so didn't feel it was their place to respond.

When you say he was hated, are you referring to things like this Wired article ?


"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
Yes, but that was just the tip of the iceberg (4.66 / 3) (#36)
by psychologist on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:12:31 AM EST

There was a time ago when Gnutella was supposed to deliver the world from damnation, cure hunger, fix the aids problems, and make a bunch of people really rich. This was in the boom time.

At that time, hundreds of people joined to help in the development. But kan wouldn't let control out of his hands. He got capital VC, didn't tell anyone, and developed his own product. While doing this, he kept giving reasons as to why the next gnutella generation could not be developed. It seemed as if he was purposely hampering the development, so that his VC funded project would gain advantage.

After a while, someone found out because of some slip up he made. The various mailing lists and groups were full of angry discussions about it.

All this while Kan was portraying himself as the person behind Gnutella, but not a thing was actually being done. People were giving up proposals, and these proposals were publish, but the groups never actually did any work on them. The leaders, among which Kan was, didn't seem to want anything to happen.

Anyway, the hardcore people melted away from the groups, and real innovation came from provate companies - bearshare and limewire.

I haven't followed recent happenings any longer, but I suppose that Kan also went his way, trying to develop his GoneSilent. It doesn't seem to have worked, as there is no project.

Could it be that he took loans to fund the project, and couldn't repay them? I don't know.

And how I know all this? At the time, I was researching communication forms on the internet, as they could possibly be used to circumvent government control. P2P was high on the list, as direct connections between people would make it very very difficult to spy on transmission. So I was sent to research all the forms of P2P - IRC, IM, Gnutella, Napster, etc - and joined mailing lists everywhere, and studied the technologies behind them. I also read all these petty catfights.

[ Parent ]

Huh? (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by gojomo on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:14:50 AM EST

None of this makes sense or matches what I know.

No one ever controlled Gnutella enough to warrant the criticism "wouldn't let control out of his hands." Also, according to my sources, GoneSilent/InfraSearch never got VC money -- good angels, but angels only. So the starting premises of your tale don't ring true.

There was never any way for Kan or any group to stop companies or individuals from innovating, just like noone could stop InfraSearch from pursuing their own path.

I have not seen any statements from Kan portraying himself as the creator of Gnutella, while I find lots of statements from him, dating back to 2000, when Gnutella was first unveiled, explaining its AOL/Nullsoft origin.

It's tough to forge a cooperative process out of "hundreds" of enthusiasts, when there is no default leader (the original Gnutella creators being locked up at AOL), and people resent the young leaders that do emerge. I have no doubt that some people blamed Kan for their frustrations and high expectations... but I suspect any such blame was severely misdirected.

You also don't seem to know much about GoneSilent/InfraSearch, because if you did you wouldn't note "there is no project", and sling unfounded speculation about unpaid business loans -- but rather realize his company and team were acquired by Sun over a year ago. Further, I've heard it was a "fair" exit for investors, which was an excellent outcome given the total flameouts of other companies at the time.

I think you're spinning innuendo that couldn't even fairly be called "half"-truths. Perhaps you don't have a grip on "what really happened" anywhere?

[ Parent ]

I'm not in the mood (3.33 / 3) (#43)
by psychologist on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:37:19 AM EST

I've told the story as I know it. I've not been in the scene for a long time, so maybe I am no longer current.

If you doubt my story, just go and talk to the people who were around when GnutellaNG was just 30 people. Go to IRC. Read the gnutellang and the gnutella mailing lists.

I'm tired, and I'm not in the mood to argue out stuff that I know happened.

[ Parent ]

Chill out.....it's just gossip (3.33 / 3) (#45)
by morkeleb on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:12:57 AM EST

I think you're spinning innuendo that couldn't even fairly be called "half"-truths. Perhaps you don't have a grip on "what really happened" anywhere?

It is the Internet after all. He was just answering a question I asked to the best of his ability. And it isn't as though he's saying this is first-hand information. He admits he picked it up from flame wars on mailing lists and discussion forums.

And if you do a Google search on the guy - you will find some of the same things I turned up (such as the Wired article).


"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
do we know each other? (2.00 / 2) (#50)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:50:27 AM EST

Sounds like you were in the community.  If so you probably know me although I do not recognize that psychologist handle of yours.  Who are you?

http://www.exocortex.org/p2p

[ Parent ]

Well, well, well, ve meeet again, Herr Exocortex (2.50 / 2) (#61)
by psychologist on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:55:36 PM EST

Actually, I remember your website well because of the name. It is very memorable.

We have probably spoken to each other in the past. However, I am not at discretion to say which of the members I was, since my role there was just to collect information on P2P for the government. Yes my friend, there were spies in your midst.

Ok, not quite so dramatic, all I did was keep abridge with the trends in P2P (which was seen as a resource that could utterly slip government control), and whenever any official wanted to prepare a paper on it or such, they'd call me to tell them what was up.

[ Parent ]

Unfounded character knocks (4.25 / 4) (#34)
by gojomo on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:11:02 AM EST

I don't know anyone who considered Gene an "asshole".

I think some people resented the attention he got as an early figurehead for Gnutella. But individuals, who chance and circumstance anoint as symbols of larger movements, always have to deal with that sort of carping. Kan's early tech work and yes, outright boosterism helped launch Gnutella.

Gene hadn't been active in Gnutella developer circles for a while -- Infrasearch was not, to my knowledge, building on the public GnutellaNet, nor was Sun's JXTA search work. Many/most people active in the current developer forum may never have dealt with him. Also, it's not an especially social or chummy forum -- all brass tacks. (The WTC attacks went almost entirely unmentioned even though a number of forum participants are based in NYC, south of Canal street even.)

I only met Kan twice, briefly, but on those occasions, and in his presentations, interviews, and writings I never saw arrogance, only insight.

[ Parent ]

To be expected (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by psychologist on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:14:01 AM EST

This was stuff from the beginning of the gnet movement. Read my reply to the other reply.

[ Parent ]
psychologist is right. :-/ (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:39:07 AM EST

It sucks but psychologist is right. Gene Kan was regarded in a fairly negative light by the gnutella developer community. My name is on the original gnutella site and my site is about the 8th hit in Google when you type in P2P -- I'm a fairly credible witness to this fact unfortunately.

The P2P Idea Site

[ Parent ]
apology for a hasty comment (none / 0) (#91)
by bhouston on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:23:10 AM EST

I was thinking about it and talking to some others about Gene Kan and his relationship to the Gnutella developers on the various sites.

I shouldn't have said that he wasn't well liked but rather that he just didn't really hang around any of the Gnutella developer forums.  Some people did criticize him for being absent and others for being what they percieved as a media hound but when I think back he was probably no more criticized than anyone else is such a prominent position would be.

I guess I was probably hasher on this subject that I should have been.  For that I apologize to all.

[ Parent ]

sort of, but gotta give respect to the dead (4.50 / 2) (#47)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:30:51 AM EST

As someone who ran a semi-major P2P site in the early days, The P2P Idea Site, I can testify that your statement concerning his reputation among lowly P2P developers isn't totally incorrect. Like many during the heady days of P2P he did minimizing the contributions of others and maximize others perceptions of his work. It was a very competitive subculture from March 2000, which Gnutella was released, until December 2000 when P2P started to falter.

Many P2P developers that I knew felt sort of used when he suddenly left the Gnutella community (and didn't even pass along the passwords to the gnutella.wego.com sites) for his own company. Many felt that he didn't want to let others continue the work on those popular sites because they might remove his name from the prominence it had. It was this behavior of his that led me to create my own site where I featured the work of others. The 3rd party contributions on my site have lowly dissappeared as a result of link rot now though.

Many in the community felt he would not have been able to get his company started if he had not maximized the perception of his own contributinos as much as he did. Its debatable whether this perception of Gene Kan was a result of real wrong or just based on good old jealousy.

[ Parent ]
developer dislike wasn't a factor (2.00 / 2) (#52)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:00:53 PM EST

"Could it be that after failing at his business, the hate that was shown to him from the community caused a depression in him that led him to commit suicide?"

Although you are correct in stating that he wasn't well liked by lowly P2P developers I doubt that had anything to do with his death.  Really why should what a few people think of his cause him to commit suicide.  I think that his problems where probably more meaningful and broader -- he might just have had a long running problem with depression.

[ Parent ]

The wired article is making me believe myself (2.00 / 1) (#62)
by psychologist on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:05:25 PM EST

Think about it - I've never really known any depressed person who was eloquent and spoke well in front of many people. So I assume that his depression is recent - after his company was acquired by sun.

The signs of impending awfulness were there, Oliver said. Very recently, Gene had changed his resume, which was stored on the University of California at Berkeley's server, to read: "Summary: Sad example of a human being. Specializing in failure."

What did Kan think he failed at? Not at making money - he sold his company for 10 million, after about 2 years of work. I worked for 6 years all over the world, and hardly even made a 10th of that.

I don't know, but maybe Kan was the kind of Person who needed respect from others. The news of his death is not spreading fast. Why? People didn't like him. They didn't respect him. Think what would happen if the Winamp developer died. That would be front page news.

Maybe Kan wanted that respect, but couldn't get it. Maybe he kept reading the opinions of people on him, and was affected a bit too strongly.

I don't really know, but my gut insinct, and the limited information I have about his personal life does make me suspect it.

I continue to ask myself: At what did Kan think he failed?

[ Parent ]

I'm tired of talking about this publically... (none / 0) (#63)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:25:23 PM EST

I think that you sort of right but sort of wrong.  I don't want to speculate about this openly because I'm probably wrong to a degree as well.

It is a shame that he is gone.  He is the second person that I've known to go this route.  Its always a loss because you never know what they could have attained if they could only get past the rough spots.

[ Parent ]

Just curious... (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by Sesquipundalian on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:35:27 PM EST

How come you think he suicided after a failure?

I am not able to rule out other causes, like for example he may have decided that he was done, like he had finished what he'd set out to do in life, or something...

Anyways... just wondering.


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
his resume :-/ (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:41:31 PM EST

His recent resumed stated before it was removed from the web and google:

"Gene Kan

Summary: Sad example of a human being. Specialising in failure.

1990-current Failure specialist
Executed numerous technical, commercial and personal projects, typically resulting in failure.

References available upon request."

http://www.xcf.berkeley.edu/~genehkan/resume_gene.html

[ Parent ]

Your psychologist title should be revoked (4.33 / 3) (#65)
by jjayson on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:38:47 PM EST

If you had even the slightest clue, the tiniest fragment of understanding about depression you would know that clinically depressive suicides cannot be reasoned about. Don't think you can understand a person by just reading a few sound bites about him by others that do not know him.

-j
"Even I can do poler co-ordinates and i can't even spell my own name." - nodsmasher
You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't
[ Parent ]
Regarding my psychological qualifications (3.00 / 5) (#69)
by psychologist on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:57:30 PM EST

I am an interrogator, a war time situation analyser, and an agent. I am not an armchair coo-people-to-wellness psychologist. I don't have any practical experience with depression. I just know the basics that was taught in school.

I didn't say he could be reasoned with. I just hazarded guesses as to why he felt his life was a failure, when it seemed so rosy from the outside.

Till proven wrong, I will consider my statements as valid options. I know my abilities, and they include being able to understand a situation given very little data. I've been doing that for 6 years now, and I am not often wrong.

But I admit it, the info here is fragmentary. I can't really make any statement based on the info I have.

Sorry about snapping about my profession, but I always get this attitude where people think that I am one of those couch potatoe fixing psychologists.

[ Parent ]

rating (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by gbroiles on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:38:42 PM EST

This was rated below 1 and hidden so I've rated it up, it doesn't look abusive or troll-ish to me. Perhaps the person (jjayson) with the 0 rating would care to explain why that seemed reasonable?

[ Parent ]
Because he is lying. (3.50 / 2) (#86)
by jjayson on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 01:32:14 AM EST

psychologist is cleary not a criminal psychologist. If he was, he would understand mood disorders as some of the most famous criminal minds and many violent acts (including self-inflicted) are influenced by mood disturbances or simiar halluination inducing problems (like schizophrenia or amphetamine induced psychosis).

I would appreciate you didn't encourage the more malicious trolls.

-j
"Even I can do poler co-ordinates and i can't even spell my own name." - nodsmasher
You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't
[ Parent ]

Oh my god (3.71 / 7) (#88)
by psychologist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:07:47 AM EST

I'm not going to go into a long argument about who I am, and who I am not. If you don't believe me, fine, that is your problem. It doesn't affect me in anyway.

[ Parent ]
the difference between lying and just wrong? (4.00 / 2) (#90)
by gbroiles on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:12:36 AM EST

No, he doesn't seem to be a psychologist at all, nor particularly well-read with respect to mood disorders, but psychology isn't really an exact science, and disagreeing with him doesn't seem to be a good reason to rate his comment a 0. If you gave him a 1, I'd understand (not necessarily agree, but also not feel inclined to interefere) - but it's my impression from the FAQ that 0 ratings are for spam, and his message was on-topic, albeit controversial and not necessarily well-grounded in research. If every message guilty of those sins were to get zero'd ..

[ Parent ]
notice what I rated and what I didn't (3.00 / 2) (#92)
by jjayson on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:32:04 AM EST

I did not rate his comment that expressed his opinion, but I did reply. However, his comment that lied about his background, I did rate, since I view outright (undebatebly lies) as essentially spam.

-j
"Even I can do poler co-ordinates and i can't even spell my own name." - nodsmasher
You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't
[ Parent ]
Regarding this issue (1.50 / 2) (#97)
by psychologist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:56:06 AM EST

Please read my latest diary, as well as this comment. Comment might require TU status.

[ Parent ]
You are 25 and are doing this for 6 years now (none / 0) (#122)
by mami on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 05:28:02 PM EST

In which school did you learn your skills and for how long?

[ Parent ]
This is so trite. (3.50 / 6) (#70)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:11:09 PM EST

This dusty old line about clinical depressives being exempt from reason due to brain-chemistry imbalances is *so* counter-intuitive. I battle my brain chemistry every day -- it's call taking responsibility for my own life. Ultimately, this argument comes from the same people that want to sell you a personality pill. If you are going to absolve a suicidal personality of responsibility for his destructive (note that I didn't say "self-destructive") actions by retreading this argument, at least provide some semblance of proof.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

You are kidding - right? (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by termfin on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:43:01 PM EST

Think about it - I've never really known any depressed person who was eloquent and spoke well in front of many people. So I assume that his depression is recent - after his company was acquired by sun.
I don't know why you call yourself a psycologist - because you clearly don't know the first thing about what you are talking about.

Firstly, many many clinically depressed people are very successful and creative, just look at Francis Ford Coppola, Buzz Aldrin, and Tim Burton.

Secondly, if you have ever actually seen Gene speak in public, he often had a quiet and depressed demeanour.

Gene wasn't disliked or disrespected, except by the small number of bitter jealous people that seem to resent anyone who has some success in life.

[ Parent ]

Ok, I never saw him speak (3.00 / 1) (#68)
by psychologist on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:49:56 PM EST

What I was picturing was an outgoing person, who talked a lot and was friendyl with everyone. That was the picture I got from the media I have read about him, and that picture doesn't fit in with the profile of a depressed person.

And how many times must I say this - I am not an armchair shrink! I studied criminal psychology and interrogation. I don't claim to have practical experience with depression in non-wartime situations.

I was just guessing about the reasons for his suicide. I never even saw a picture of him, so my guesses will certainly not be 100% right on mark.

[ Parent ]

criminal psychologists (3.25 / 4) (#72)
by jjayson on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:12:54 PM EST

Any criminal psychologist even slightly competent understands mood disorders. You are so played out; find a new troll account.

-j
"Even I can do poler co-ordinates and i can't even spell my own name." - nodsmasher
You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't
[ Parent ]
Not to trivialize this. (3.00 / 1) (#111)
by xrayspx on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:53:22 PM EST

Although you are correct in stating that he wasn't well liked by lowly P2P developers I doubt that had anything to do with his death. Really why should what a few people think of his cause him to commit suicide. I think that his problems where probably more meaningful and broader -- he might just have had a long running problem with depression.

I think the question of why the opinion of a few developers would matter is irrelevant. Why should ANYTHING cause anyone to commit suicide? You don't do that unless you're on the edge anyway, there's no telling what a given persons 'last straw' is.


"I see one maggot, it all gets thrown away" -- My Wife
[ Parent ]

Anomosity is inevitable when you are well-known (4.33 / 6) (#53)
by termfin on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:13:28 PM EST

Now, I don't want to annoy anyone here, but Gene Kahn was generally regarded as an asshole among gnutella developers.
As a relatively high-profile P2P developer myself, I have observed first-hand how it is virtually impossible to achieve anything without earning the scorn of at least some people. A disturbing number of people seem to operate on the assumption that it is impossible to get anywhere without treading on the hands of others, and from that conclude that anyone who has achieved some form of success is automatically deserving of their dislike.

[ Parent ]
Failed business? I think not (4.50 / 2) (#84)
by ibsound on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:53:29 PM EST

I worked with Gene at Infrasearch and would like to point out that the company did NOT fail. Infrasearch was sold to Sun Microsystems for a considerable amount of money when most dot-coms were dropping like flies. Infrasearch had developed a working piece of software that would have done wonders as a search engine had Sun not killed it. I'm sure working off his "golden handcuffs" at Sun sucked ass, but I don't think it had much to do with his decision to terminate. I miss you Gene, you were a cool character.

[ Parent ]
Kites (3.50 / 12) (#32)
by IvyMike on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:17:34 AM EST

On the page by Yaroslav Faybishenko, there's a picture of Gene Kan apparently flying a stunt kite. I had never heard of Gene before today, but any adult that flies kites is automatically on my list of cool people. If you knew Gene, I'm sorry for your loss.



Kiteboarding (2.50 / 2) (#71)
by func on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:19:30 PM EST

Look closer - he's wearing a wetsuit, and that kite is connected to him by a harness.  He's about to go kiteboarding; that stunt kite is big enough to lift him off the ground with extreme prejudice, and he's going to use it to power either a small surfboard with foot straps or a wakeboard.  

Now that's cool - if you can keep the kite in the air and your board beneath you, simultaneously, you can get major, major speed and airtime.  Check out wipika.com for some good photos - you'll see what I mean.  The power to weight ratios of these toys put a CR500 to shame.  :)

[ Parent ]

Gene's Death: Officially a suicide (4.44 / 9) (#49)
by grommet on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:40:44 AM EST

Wired News article: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,53704,00.html

some details (4.00 / 2) (#56)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:22:36 PM EST

From: "Brad King"
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002 11:33:04 -0700

I am very saddened to inform the pho group that Gene Kan died two weeks ago. While I haven't verified this from the family, several people who knew him have informed that he was found dead in his apartment around June 27-29. There was a note found alongside his body, but I've got no details outside of that.

[ Parent ]

Another Prozac Related Suicide? (3.73 / 26) (#77)
by ip4noman on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:25:33 PM EST

"We did all the things you're supposed to do," said Cody Oliver, Gene's business partner in peer-to-peer search technology gonesilent.com. "We got him on Prozac...."


Hmmm. Could this be another Prozac related suicide? There have been many. As I have noted in other forums, these psychiatric drugs are implicated towards motivating people to suicide, and other terrible violent acts. Andrea Yates, who drowned her 5 children, had been taking Haldol. Eric Harris, who helped murder 12 of his classmates at Columbine HS in Littleton, CO on April 20 1999, was taking Luvox (a Prozac-like drug).

Just another example of how capitalist economics fucks up human societies. Happiness-inducing plants you can grow in your backyard with 10,000 other uses are prohibited (where's the profit in it if you grow it yourself?), and we are left with dangerous pharmecuticals in it's place. When someone gets depressed, we instantly think that prescribing a dangerous drug with a known side effect of PRODUCING suicidal thoughts is "the right thing".

Sad... R.I.P., Gene Kan.



--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
fear mongering, Prozac is safe (3.75 / 4) (#80)
by bhouston on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:13:51 PM EST

Prozac has not been proven to cause suicides.  Of course you will be able to find examples of people that were taking prozac and who committed suicides because there are millions of people taking it.  If Prozac did cause suicide wouldn't you think the media and the scientific community would be all over it since it would be a huge controversy.

Your just causing people unnecessary and unjustified fear concerning a very safe medication.

[ Parent ]

may not cause suicides (3.00 / 3) (#115)
by Delirium on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:48:32 AM EST

But I'd hardly call Prozac "very safe". It's a very powerful neuroactive drug, and as such can have unpredictable effects on some people, along with a hefty host of side effects even when it works "properly."

[ Parent ]
Well, except for one thing. (5.00 / 2) (#116)
by haflinger on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:17:51 AM EST

There is a debate in the medical and scientific community over the safety of Prozac.

Check out the David Healey story. And he's by no means the only example, although he's probably the most outrageous.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

Thanks; Prozac signs of a sick society (4.00 / 3) (#118)
by ip4noman on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:07:03 PM EST

Ok, since my above got an unjust zero, and I've just lost trusted status because of it, I'm a-gonna write some more about this!

Presciribing Prozac for suicide. This is the sign of a truly sick society, especially in light of our mantra "Just say NO to Drugs!" We are hipocrites and liars.

Our reductionistic for-profit "medical industry" (let's not call them healers) treat suicidal tendances, or suicidal thoughts as just some symptom, like coughing. They look up this symptom in some big book, drag their finger across the page to the meds column, and voila! The answer: Prozac! A med that alters brain chemistry in response to a simple chemical imbalance. Kind of like putting in a quart of oil when your car is a little low.

The only problem is, the the human psyche is amazingly complex. People get suicidal rarely (IMHO) from a simple chemical imbalance: they get suicidal because their wife or husband left them, or they got fired from their job, or they got fired from 10 jobs, or something embarassing or humiliating happened to them, or they have incredible guilt about something. These causes are different in every case. Medicating these with anything, safe or not, is the wrong thing to do, without addressing the true underlying causes of the depression. The counsel of a caring friend is probably 100x more likely to cause a lasting mood change than some chemicals the doctor/pusher hands out for a buck.

Besides: shouldn't it be someone's right to commit suicide? The cause/effect can never be properly unsnarled once you put someone on meds. Did they kill themselves because of the meds? Who knows. We'll never known. But it is WRONG for doctors to be playing God and prescribing these dangerous drugs to depressed people. They all are dangerous, they all have side-effects and "contra-indications". They all can cause harm.

These drugs are NOT about healing, but about making a profit, to the pharmecutical company which manufactured it, to the doctor and the phramacy, and to the tv stations and newspapers which take the ads, to the polititicans which take money from the pharmacos and their lobbying organizations.

Doctors pushing psychoactive chemicals which are indicated in hundreds or thousands of suicides and violent episodes each year, in a society where TV and radio stations tell us to "just say NO to drugs" is a hipocrasy of an unimaginable magnitude, from a culture possessing the arrogance of God, the morals of a spoiled child, and a logic which can only be called insane.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Errr... no (4.00 / 7) (#81)
by Pseudonym on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:27:52 PM EST

I'm not surprised that a lot, possibly even a disproportionate number (though I haven't seen any credible figures to this effect), of people who use Prozac commit suicide. Neither should you if you think about it for a moment.

Prozac is used to treat depression. People who use Prozac are, by definition, a self-selecting group who are already greatly at risk of suicide. If there is a correlation between Prozac use and suicide, all this proves is that Prozac is not a "silver bullet" cure.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Anti-depressants actually lead to it... (4.12 / 8) (#82)
by Medieval Gnome on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 10:25:41 PM EST

By the very nature of how antidepressants work, suicide is more likely right after getting on the meds than right before. Antidepressants give more energy and more of an ability to concentrate, which is exactally NOT what is needed when recovering from a dramatic emotional low.

So while one could say that Prozac could have led to this, but it is also very unlikely that another medication (like zoloft) would make any differance.

And don't flame me for talking about what I don't know, I was there about 2 months ago. Depression is not an easy thing.

[ Parent ]

Have their been any good studies of this? (3.50 / 2) (#94)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:45:32 AM EST

By the very nature of how antidepressants work, suicide is more likely right after getting on the meds than right before. Antidepressants give more energy and more of an ability to concentrate, which is exactally NOT what is needed when recovering from a dramatic emotional low

This sounds very plausible. Have there been any studies on it? I'd also be interested in more analysis. How long is the period of heightened vulnerability? If this effect is demonstrable, it strongly argues for intensive monitoring in the weeks after anti-depressants are prescribed.

[ Parent ]

There probably has, but... (2.66 / 3) (#112)
by Medieval Gnome on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:23:53 PM EST

I don't know about studies or anything precise about it. All I know is my own experiance (I never had a suicide attempt beore getting on zoloft, and had 2 after) and what my psychologist said to me. Sorry for not having more information, but a little bit of googling should find something somewhat substantial.

[ Parent ]
Many people get through this (4.66 / 6) (#55)
by xah on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:18:08 PM EST

Many people get through this.

http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

http://www.xcflabs.com/~yaroslav/gene/..hidden bit (2.60 / 5) (#57)
by nek0 on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:00:23 PM EST

Login: genehkan Name: Gene Kan
Directory: /home/genehkan Shell: /bin/zsh
Office: Belmont CA, 650-464-8181
Last login Sat Jun 29 17:25 (PDT) on pts/5 from 12-236-45-76.client.attbi.com
New mail received Thu Jul 4 08:26 2002 (PDT)
Unread since Sat Jun 29 14:51 2002 (PDT)
Plan:
Boredcast Message from soda!dpetrou (ttyAG/ACGY) at 23:12 ...

this is a great episode. this is where wesley gets beamed off the fucking universe.

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I've found it!), but 'That's funny...'" - Isaac Asimov


Fast cars, Fast Life (3.44 / 9) (#60)
by mazzella on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:41:26 PM EST

I had the pleasure of emailing Gene a number of times regarding his other favorite activity, moding and racing RX-7's.  He had done some a howto for tuning the twin-turbo system on the RX-7... using needle valves from Homedepot, and some vacuum hoses... I remember printing out his instructions, treking down to HD, finding the parts, and installing them.  

We also had a email-chat about MBTE in gas, and some other rotary related things... I really didn't know he how much he as into the whole P2P thing.

Very sad, indeed.

This was the only honorable exit possible for Gene (1.06 / 30) (#76)
by Steve Ballmer on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:31:51 PM EST

Gene, although a talented developer, was the Edward Teller of the intellectual property piracy movement. His reckless actions continue to plague our global economy, and his decision to self-terminate was the only honorable path left for him.

You smug **** (4.00 / 3) (#79)
by Boss Duck on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:03:05 PM EST

I don't care how much you disliked the fellow, there's no excuse for that.

And people wonder why I dislike Microsoft so much.

-BD

=========================================
"No," said the Caterpillar.

=========================================
"No," said the Caterpillar.
[ Parent ]

Huh? (3.33 / 3) (#87)
by Torka on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 02:27:29 AM EST

What's with the Microsoft comment? That obviously isn't going to be the real Steve Ballmer.

[ Parent ]
Heh. (4.50 / 2) (#93)
by zztzed on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:54:09 AM EST

You know, if I were some famous person who liked to participate incognito on sites like K5, I'd register with my real name, exactly for that reason -- no one would ever believe that it's really me.

[ Parent ]
I know it's you... (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by BinaryTree on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 07:27:33 AM EST

...Mister Don Mynack! You're my favorite entertainer EVER.

[ Parent ]
troll troll troll troll troll troll troll troll (3.00 / 1) (#107)
by sanity on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 02:07:24 PM EST

Wow - I must say I can imagine no more pathetic a person than someone who spends their time doing nothing more than desparately trying to provoke a response. Go away troll.

[ Parent ]
Reuters is covering it (4.83 / 6) (#83)
by xah on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:44:15 PM EST

It's made the top stories section in Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=topnews&StoryID=1182886.

Say what you will about him, he made it possible for a lot of people to enjoy music that they couldn't have heard otherwise. It's too bad he didn't get this kind of recognition during his life.

His website is depressing (4.75 / 4) (#89)
by AKA10 on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:10:51 AM EST

The last archived copy of his website has a pretty dreary outlook on things compared to his earlier site.

The bottom of the page has a big not smiling "similey" and says "Have a day." while his resume consists of just a :( sign. The cars link just has a short poem about someone running a BMW into a railing going 50...

I did not know the guy personally but his work did have an impact on me and he will be missed.

Losing the good ones (3.40 / 5) (#95)
by texchanchan on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:13:33 AM EST

An innovative techie with good communication skills commits suicide at 25. Sounds like bipolar disorder. We lose way too many people this way, people that could live long and happy lives. If you're depressed, get antidepressants. They don't "adjust your personality," they restore your brain chemistry so that your personality has a working infrastructure.

This is based on personal knowledge, not on professional credentials (don't have any).

So horribly sad to lose a young, promising person like this who might have been possible to save if only he'd known how easy depression is to relieve.

Probably a lot of young people prefer death to what they inaccurately believe would happen to them if they admit having depression, based on stereotypes and irresponsible media images.

Antidepressants are not happy pills or chemical straitjackets. They just restore your level of neurotransmitters to normal so you can proceed with your usual activities. Your GP can prescribe them. If you need them, get them now.

Clarification (2.00 / 2) (#96)
by texchanchan on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:15:24 AM EST

Personal knowledge of antidepressants, not of Gene Kan. I never knew him, and I'm only guessing at why he killed himself.

[ Parent ]
Spiritual Vaccum (1.75 / 4) (#100)
by bayankaran on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:23:57 AM EST

Spiritual vaccum is the reason.

No amount of fast cars and other 'stuff' can help you.

[ Parent ]
Bullsh*t (3.50 / 4) (#101)
by unformed on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:57:59 AM EST

regarding your statements on antidepressants.

If you're depressed, get antidepressants. They don't "adjust your personality," they restore your brain chemistry so that your personality has a working infrastructure.

That's a complete crock of shit. Have you ever even taken antidepressants, or a large dosage of them?

Yes, antidepressants restore the level of neurotransmitters, so that you don't get depressed anymore; and they cause a hell of a lot of side effects.

You become dull, and can't do much. (Watch A Beautiful Mind for a perfect example) It kills your sexual drive; it kills your creativity; it kills modd swings. The reason most people fall into extreme depression is because of the way they think, because they "creatively" think up many different scenarios of their life that aren't exactly positive, and hence causing sadness. Antidepressants stop the thought process in order to prevent you from having those kinds of thoughts, and as a side effect it kills the rest of your thought/emotional processes too.

Sure, I'll agree that it might work for some people; unfortunately I don't know any.

I was on multiple antidepressants for quite a while. A few months into it, I had a seizure; I've never had one before and never since. I immediately stopped taking the antidepressants after that. Of course, then the doctor wanted to give me other neurological drugs to "prevent seizures". Of course, reading the side effects for it shows that they cause, hmmm.... DEPRESSION.

My best friend was on the --maximum adult dose-- of Prozac when he was 16. He was an extremely intelligent kid, but for the year he was on the drugs, he couldn't do anything: no emotional nor intellectual processes. Imagine a 16 year old you can't laugh nor cry, who has no sexual drive, who can't think, who's just fucking dead all the time, so as to not get sad.

Antidepressants DO fuck with your head. Ask anybody who's been on them for a while.

I personally, would much rather live a short, eventful life where I had feeling, had thoughts, and had to deal with the occasional extreme depression, than live a long, dead live with I'm drugged up all the time. (BTW, yes antidepressants are drugs, and yes, I know what depression truly is.)

[ Parent ]

Yes, I have taken them for 22 years (4.75 / 4) (#103)
by texchanchan on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 01:07:25 PM EST

Have you ever even taken antidepressants, or a large dosage of them?

Yes, I have taken them for 22 years. I have taken trilafon and other tricyclics, Prozac, Zoloft, buproprion, Effexor, and lithium. I've also taken minor tranquilizers to relieve the horrible mental pain of depression.

You become dull, and can't do much.

Whoa, baby!! My entire career from my first good job (at NASA, editing space shuttle manuals--not as technical as it sounds) to my present dot-bomb unemployment has been done while taking antidepressants. I always have too many projects going. The present major one is buying a house and moving and finding a job (!).

(Watch A Beautiful Mind for a perfect example)

You must absolutely ignore any depiction of mental illness or psychiatry that you see in a TV show or in a movie. They are wildly, horribly wrong 99% of the time.  

Antidepressants stop the thought process...

Look up texchanchan+slashdot on google and see if you think I have a thought process that works.

it might work for some people; unfortunately I don't know any.

You do now! :)

Antidepressants DO ---- with your head

To be more accurate: Antidepressants CAN ---- with your head, if you are taking one or more that aren't right for you. Sometimes you have to try several (sequentially) to find the one that works for you. You would need to work with a specialist for this. Your GP probably doesn't know enough about the different types.

Depression is a physical illness. I know this personally because, thanks to various factors, I don't get the low mood much any more when I have an episode of depression. But I still experience severe discomfort until the higher levels of antidepressants kick in.

I personally, would much rather live a short, eventful life where I had feeling, had thoughts, and had to deal with the occasional extreme depression, than live a long, dead live with I'm drugged up all the time

And so would any sensible person--BUT--even better is a long, LIVE life where you have feelings and thoughts. And that's what I'm doing now.

--Texchanchan

[ Parent ]

alright (3.33 / 3) (#105)
by unformed on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 01:49:34 PM EST

assuming you're telling the truth, and i actually have no reason to doubt you, i'm glad for you.  I personally never had any luck with antidepressants; although i must admit, i'm only 20 years old, and also haven't tried many different kinds (personally: Wellbutrin, and two or three others that I don't remember.) Add to that my shrink was an incompetant POS who just wanted a quick buck.

Regardless, I've (more or less) overcome it myself by  different personal mental remedies, a varied way of conditioning.

Anyways, so now I know someone who did have it work. I'll (somewhat) step back. I do still feel that a doctor who prescribes a drug without actually understanding you first isn't going to help (and all the ones I've met were that way). Of course, a good doctor is a completely different story.

[ Parent ]

Best of luck in future (4.00 / 3) (#108)
by texchanchan on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 02:21:45 PM EST

you're telling the truth

Oh, yes. (I could scan my medicine bottle labels and post them somewhere :)

my shrink was an incompetant POS

There are a lot of those out there. It runs about 50% good, 50% bad in my experience. The bad ones can mess you up. They won't listen, and they attempt to force you into the mold of their own theories.

The good ones on the other hand--well, it's like finding a good mechanic. Helpful, considerate, non-bossy, pays attention to your concerns, addresses your worries, explains everything in whatever detail you want. Makes a world of difference. I wish I could find one. At this point, with all the experience I have, I pretty much decide what I need and ask my GP to prescribe it. <==Not recommended for people just starting out. But it's a lot better to know a good specialist.

a doctor who prescribes a drug without actually understanding you first isn't going to help

Unless he hits the right drug by chance. I've had both experiences. You need to work with somebody who will pay attention to what you say, and use his knowledge to find the right pharmo for you.

Regardless, I've (more or less) overcome it myself by  different personal mental remedies, a varied way of conditioning.

This sounds like what I learned, but it took me 20 years! Now when I get a depression, I have learned to separate out the emotional component ("I'm no good, I'm a failure, I've done a horrible thing") and neutralize it by basically saying "Those are lies generated by faulty brain activity." So I'm no longer "depressed" when I'm depressed. However, I still don't have enough neurotransmitters, so I am clumsy, slower on the uptake, less energetic, and in pain. That is why I ramp up the anti-depressants (carefully!) to relieve the condition. Usually it goes away in 3 or 4 weeks, as compared to 4 or 5 months before drugs.  

Re, it giving you a seizure, once a GP prescribed twice the max dosage for me and, not knowing any better, I just took what he said. That's the only time I ever had a hallucination (just as I was falling asleep, which is considered "normal" although I didn't know that). So you need to educate yourself about dosages and interactions. The docs don't always know.

[ Parent ]

Wellbutrin (4.00 / 2) (#109)
by jjayson on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 02:36:37 PM EST

As it just goes to show that everybody reacts differently to the same medications, I have been on Wellbutrin for about one year now and it has worked wonders. My dosage cycles depending on my bipolar symptoms, so I take varied amounts from 100mg up to 450mg. Wellbutrin seems to be the only thing that has worked for me.

I started off on Paxil, Prozal, Effexor, and have gone through a few others, but they either left me feeling numb, had no effect on me I could feel, or set off manic episodes. Withing two weeks of starting Wellbutrin, I could feel the difference and it actually made me more productive since I could have rational thoughts and keep my concentration level up. You just need to find a good psychiatrist (I have gone though about six now) and work with them to find what works with you.

What you saw in A Beautiful Mind (I just saw it two nights ago and really enjoyed it) was Dr. Nash taking antipsychotics, not antidepressents. I take Zyprexa as my antipsychotic and Depakote as my mood stabilizer and I do regulate the dosage so I don't take too much when I don't need it and feel detached from everything and not being able to think. However, at the end of the movie you will hear Dr. Nash's character say how he takes the new meds and still works. Psychiatry has come along way since the 1960s. I know of other people who take lithium and are still very productive and excellent computer geeks while at it.

I can understand what you are saying, though. I have gone off my medications just to be able to get more work done at certain times and right now I am trying a little personal experiment of living without them for a while and see how it works.

-j
"Even I can do poler co-ordinates and i can't even spell my own name." - nodsmasher
You better take care of me, Lord. If you don't
[ Parent ]

Well said (4.00 / 2) (#102)
by plyons on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:09:43 PM EST

In an educated society it still amazes me there's still such stigma associated with the treatment of depression and other brain disorders.  People aren't ostracized for taking cancer treatment or insulin or ant-acids.  The brain is an organ just like the lungs, heart and stomach and its treatment shouldn't be ignored.  If most people had a stomach ache for a couple of weeks they would go to a doctor but people will go years without consulting a doctor when they are suffering from depression, anxiety or other common chemical imbalance.  

[ Parent ]
antidepressants and bipolar disorder (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by 5150 on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 01:34:32 PM EST

Just a clarification, antidepressants may help someone who suffers from clinical depression, but must be used with a mood stabilizer for anyone who suffers from bipolar. If someone who has a bipolar disorder is put on just antidepressants, well lets just say a manic attack is sure to follow.

[ Parent ]
Well, except that... (none / 0) (#117)
by haflinger on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:26:20 AM EST

We don't know if he was taking antidepressants. He may have been.

Also, not all antidepressants are created equal. I've known people on chloropromozene, and that's a zombie drug. After a little while, like a week or two, they just lose the ability to express themselves totally. Blank faces, all day.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

And ? (1.42 / 7) (#99)
by ceallach on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:08:03 AM EST

Why should I care? I don't know this guy, he was just another developer out there. There are lot's of people working and developing neat things, and lots o f people dying every day. This should only be of interest to friends and family. It's really not front page news....

--
More smoke! The mirrors aren't working!!!

Give it a rest (none / 0) (#106)
by sanity on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 01:57:31 PM EST

Just because you didn't know him or his work doesn't mean others didn't. Clearly they did since enough people thought that it was important to vote it to the FP.

Or perhaps you think that only celebrity actors are deserving of public respect, after all - they do much more for the world than mere Open Source programmers.

[ Parent ]

Celebrity Actors? (none / 0) (#110)
by ceallach on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:57:11 PM EST

Hunh? where did _that_ come from? Quite frankly I could care less about celebrity actors..... bad form to attribute words or thoughts to other people other than what they have expressed. And from the comments it appears that most of the posters know little or nothing about him or his work

--

--
More smoke! The mirrors aren't working!!!
[ Parent ]

So don't read it. (4.00 / 1) (#114)
by gauze on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:43:25 PM EST

I don't read at least 85% of the content on here based on the headline.
There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
[ Parent ]
Maybe he's afraid to ask help? (none / 0) (#119)
by joelbryan on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:45:15 PM EST

Maybe he's afraid to ask help to you guys that he thought linux developers are so technical and doesnt' know how to understand him, you always talks about computers but you don't talk about life, he's family, he's parent's.

Yeah, he's right. (none / 0) (#120)
by joelbryan on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:48:01 PM EST

You should consider making linux GUI more accessible to Blind people, and people with disabilities.

[ Parent ]
Gnutella Developer Gene Kan Dies | 124 comments (104 topical, 20 editorial, 4 hidden)
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