I frequently reference and participate in an online email list group called the RBW Owners Bunch. Yesterday was a sad day on the list as one of the folks in our little community was killed by a hit and run driver on his commute. His name was Seth Vidal, and although I never met him in person, I had enjoyed his well thought out online opinions and responses with the group. There have been others on the list over the past few years that shared losses, but this was the first time an active member died in a way that was personal to the biking community. For me, it was a bit of a double loss in that I found out about his contribution to the open source community: He authored the “yum” linux tool that I have used at work on a regular basis for years.
Seth was a good soul in the world. One of the posts he had started in 2012 was as follows:
I’ve been specing out a potential bicycle build and I’m trying to see
what parts I can get from places which have pretty reasonable working
conditions and rights of workers – especially something resembling a
living wage, etc.
In a later response, he added:
My major concern is that I’m getting products from places where they
do not undervalue the importance of their workforce.
Seth cared about our well-being. What a great guy!
There were over a hundred responses on multiple threads when the news broke, and there was universal mourning. One of the saddest experiences I had was looking at his online Flickr photo sets. I went through his “favorites” and found most of the active members (including a couple of my photos) represented. It really struck me how much an online community can touch so many diverse folks across state and even national lines. When people come together via a shared love of a hobby/pastime, it can be quite powerful. I feel like a friend has passed away.