Last Friday, September 16th GForge Group said goodbye to Tim Perdue who passed away peacefully in a Des Moines area hospice with his family by his side. At 37, Tim’s passing came too soon and was, frankly, unfair leaving all of us who have crossed his path feeling pain and hatred for the cancer that took him. Tim is survived by his wife, Lisa; two children Anna and Alex; his mother, Ramona; sister, Shannon Perdue; grandparents Duard and Sylvia Perdue; along with many nieces and nephews. That said, we want to make it clear it shouldn’t be just his family, this company or the other geeks in the Des Moines metro remembering him. Tim was generations ahead of his time and his impact, though unknown to many, has touched nearly everybody in software development, particularly those developing open source software.
To those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Tim, it is best to talk about some of the sites he worked on. He was a part of the original four person team at VA Linux that built SourceForge and before that he ran PHPBuilder.com and Geocrawler.com which were sold to Internet.com and VA Linux respectively. For you younger PHP’ers out there, PHPBuilder was the number one resource for PHP development and Tim had gambled on PHP in the enterprise well before the likes of Facebook, Wikipedia and Digg.
Getting back to SourceForge, let’s face it. If you have been around the Internet and open source development you know the name SourceForge. Back in the day it hosted some of the most popular open source projects and had companies screaming for enterprise support for the product. Tim left VA Linux after the first big dotcom implosion and, after a short hiatus, picked up the open source version of the codebase turning it into GForge, his crowning professional achievement. Under Tim, GForge has grown to hundreds of customers including some very impressive names. Amtrak, BAE Systems, Cisco Systems, Texas Instruments, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and John Hopkins University are just some of the organizations using GForge.
Tim accomplished all this coming from modest, Midwest roots. Born in Minnesota, he grew up in Swea City, Iowa and armed with an MIS degree from the University of Northern Iowa he became nothing short of a modern day myth buster. Tim proved that to succeed you don’t need an Ivy League degree, that you don’t have to live in Silicon Valley to have a successful tech company, and that you don’t need VC money to get a company off the ground. More importantly, he showed that you can create a successful business and still be a great family man.
Rest assured that we at the GForge Group are committed to continuing Tim’s vision for the company which includes top-notch customer service, continued innovation and never losing sight of good, old fashion, Midwest values.
In taking a moment to reflect on Tim’s life and his accomplishments, if you agree, as we do, that Tim was a pioneer of his time please consider making a donation to the John Stoddard Cancer Center’s Care Coordinator program.
5 thoughts on “On Losing A Pioneer”
Those of us who knew Tim on our colorectal cancer support site, The Colon Club, knew him only as a very classy guy who, despite getting a very raw deal with this disease, was always there to help others in spite of his own serious health problems. I think we all admired him greatly for his humanity, and we certainly grieve his loss and will miss his contribution to our community. I’m not surprised that he had a similar impact on his corner of the software world. He was just that kind of guy.
I can vouch that Tim contributions were highly valued at least at one Ivy and I am sure at many others. I was not aware of his struggle, this news made for difficult reading for this occasional correspondant with Tim and my thoughts are with his family and co-workers during this difficult time.
I’m really sorry to hear that. sourceforge certainly had a big impact on me.
I lost one of my team mates and friends, Ian Clatworthy, to bowel cancer just over a year ago.
Very sad to hear. The world would be a far better place with more people like Tim.
PHPbuilder has posted a tribute to Tim Perdue: http://www.phpbuilder.com/columns/obit/tim-perdue-rip_09-16-2011.php3.