Tech evangelist and open source advocate Atul Chitnis passed away on June 3 after battling cancer for almost a year. He was 51. Founder of popular conference FOSS. IN, he was an early champion of the open source movement in India. A prolific writer on technology — considered strongly opinionated by many — his blog’s motto perhaps best summed up his attitude towards life: You are not remembered for doing what is expected of you.
A multi-faceted person, Chitnis described himself in his biography as “a technologist, businessman, consultant, writer, actor, musician, family man, community catalyst”. But what he enjoys — most — and was best known for — was writing “humanised” technology articles. He was a columnist and consulting editor for PCQuest magazine. Prasanto K Roy, editorial advisor, Cybermedia Group, describes Chitnis as tech super evangelist. “An outstanding communicator, he has done more for technology as a person not connected to a company,” says Roy. Amid spontaneous outpouring of grief from his friends and fans in blogosphere as the news of his demise spread, many said Chitnis made technology look simple for the masses. Chennai-based Vijay Anand, a techie who mentors start-up companies, says in his tweet: “Honestly Atul Chitnis is as close as we have gotten to a Steve Jobs in India. His detailing on products will drive you crazy.” Roy aptly describes Chitnis as the gurus’ guru.