Farewell, Malcolm

Python    Django    Personal    2013-03-19

Following an amazing week at PyCon, I woke up this morning to discover that I'd lost a good friend, and that the Python community has lost one of its most brilliant minds.

Details are still unclear, but Malcolm Tredinnick passed away this past weekend, apparently as the result of a seizure.

I met Malcolm first online - I was very new to Django, and had just written a blog post about a kludgy method I'd worked out for using a model manager to switch between multiple databases. This was well before multi db became a regular part of the ORM, although at the time it was already a much-requested feature. My method worked, but it was not elegant or pretty, and when I saw Malcolm's name among the comments on my blog post, I was immediately intimidated. But he gave me some tips and taught me a few things through his questions and comments. And when I met him at DjangoCon the following year, he was nothing but kind, encouraging me to continue learning and writing.

For a brief time, I lived in Lawrence, Kansas, and I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time with Malcolm whenever he was in town. We always made a point to grab lunch together when he was there, and our chats covered everything from photography (which he did well) to world travel (which he did often) - everything except the Django ORM.

We weren't the closest of friends - the last time I spoke with him was online back in January. I was preparing to teach a Git/GitHub class, and he gave me some encouragement. I feel so lucky to have known him as well as I did, though. He was a kind person with a big heart and a great sense of humor, exactly the sort of mentor that I aspire to be.

It still doesn't quite seem real. Adrian Holovaty has created a wonderful memorial page on Storify: Malcolm Tredinnick memorial. Jacob Kaplan-Moss has posted an official announcement on the Django web site: Goodbye, Malcolm. No doubt, he will follow up in the days to come with more details and, hopefully, information on where to send condolences.

In the meantime, I encourage everyone to honor Malcolm's memory by following his example.

Submit that patch for a Django ORM ticket that you've been putting off for a while.

Go into #django and help some new users.

Answer questions. Be nice.

Teach people. Help them, nurture them.