Vale the gentle genius +Malcolm Tredinnick  (1970-2013) 

TECHNOLOGY communities around the world are mourning the loss of brilliant software developer Malcolm Tredinnick.

Tredinnick, 42, died suddenly in his North Sydney home on the weekend after what appears, according to early reports from ambulance officers at the scene, to be some form of seizure.

After 20 years experience as a leading software developer, solutions architect and systems administrator, Tredinnick had been four months into his new job as Global Head of Software for emerging technology business Bell Digital Media, based in Sydney, but with offices in Kuala Lumpur and soon to be Manila.

Bell Digital Media CEO Simon Dulhunty found Tredinnick at home on after he uncharacteristically failed to turn up to work on Monday.

"We are absolutely shocked and saddened - our people are upset, they loved Malcolm," Dulhunty said.

"He was a unique person - easily the smartest person in any room he walked into, but a kind, generous and caring man with a big smile and big heart."

Tredinnick had worked across a broad cross-section of the technology industry and was a core contributor to Django (framework for rapidly developing database-backed websites), where his work and name is revered.

"Malcolm was a massive contributor to getting Django version 1.0 out the door - he was a core developer and active participant - he was a giant who is sadly missed," said Russell Keith-Magee, the president of the Django Software Foundation.

Tredinnick's experience ranged from backend systems in banks and stock
exchanges to large social network websites.

He was also an experienced conference speaker and trainer across the globe.

Dulhunty said: "I asked him for a line about himself one day for a presentation we were doing and he said to me: "Oh I don't know, maybe just say I am often to be seen scratching my head trying my best to translate complex business and technical requirements into common understanding for basic-level, simple minded people like you."

"That was his gift though - having a brain with the bandwidth of the universe, with incredible computing power, yet a very comfortable person sharing a joke or a chat about any - and I mean any - subject in the world from the political history of Malaysia to evaluating (screen writer) Aaron Sorkin's work episode by episode."

Dulhunty said he met Tredinnick at Fairfax Media two years ago through mobile expert Olivia Storelli (now Bell Digital Media's Chief Mobile and Operating Officer) and the team that was assembled was responsible for The Australian Financial Review iPad app and several other award-winning apps.

"Malcolm was the secret to the success of the AFR iPad app," Dulhunty, who was the General Manager of Mobile Development for Fairfax before leaving to start Bell Digital Media last October, said.

"Last December Olivia rang me and said "Malcolm's interested in working with us again" and I couldn’t believe our luck because I knew he would be a special part of building our teams and he was exactly that.

"Not only at a skill and capability level did Malcolm leave a legacy, there are small things as a human being that will never leave me - like the fact that for a new staff member he drew a map of the best bars around Darling Harbour to eat and drink, and the way he would leave books or titles of books for me to read.

"And he continually surprised people who he met in typically modest ways - like us having to drag out of him that he was a world-ranked chess player who had travelled the world playing tournaments – and he’d say to me - "Hey, I'd never exaggerate it and say I was top 10 in the world, but I once played a player that was.”

In fact, at his peak Tredinnick was around the top 100 players in Australia.

He was also an avid reader and traveller who loved beautiful imagery and scenery.

Since his death, tributes and condolences have flowed in from around the globe.

On twitter, Joseph Kocherhans wrote: "Crushed to hear about @malcolmt. One of my favourite people, ever. A mentor to me and so many others. The world needs more of him, not less."

"Horrible to hear @malcolmt has died:-( He was a brilliant, kind, hilarious man. Contributed more to Django than basically anybody. RIP," wrote Adrian Holovaty.

James Tauber tweeted: "@malcolmt was one of those rare people who combined a huge brain with a huge heart. His contributions and good humour should inspire all", while Eric Florenzano said: "Gutted to learn that @malcolmt has passed away. He was such an inspiration. I looked up to him so much as a young developer."

Andrew Godwin said" "Django has lost a pillar of its community and the world has lost a great man, while Julien Phalip said: "One of the smartest, friendliest and wittiest persons I knew. I will miss him:'("

Derek Willis tweeted: "Each of us would do well to follow the example of @malcolmt: his humour, his patience, his aversion to quick fixes. He was a good man."

A saddened Steve Holden said "… I felt smarter just standing next to him. RIP:-("

Others mentioned that even in brief encounters they were left with a lasting memory and connection to Malcolm.

"I only met @malcolmt once, but was blown away by his knowledge and kindness. Sorry to hear about his death," said Bobby Grace.

Born in 1970, Tredinnick studied mathematics and computer science at Melbourne's Monash University, completing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 1992.

He worked as a contractor and consultant across the globe, including at
CommSecure, Friendster and Camelot Venture Group.

He was also involved in start-ups and wider networks where he was “just interested”.

Some of the best words to be found about Treddinick appear on his LinkedIn

Marc Garcia, Student of Master in AI, wrote: “Malcolm is a high level software developer. He has incredible skills to understand huge and complex software (like Django), being able to make the best decisions to solve specific problems. Working with Malcolm is like having a success insurance.”

Jeffrey Triplett, Developer at Revolution Systems, LLC, wrote: “Malcolm is a brilliant developer, great mentor, and an outstanding speaker which is a rare combination. He has the ability to take very complex problems and distill them down to a level that everyone can understand and relate to without talking down to them. He was a pleasure to work with and a great guy on top of everything else.”

Ben Welsh, Database Producer, Los Angeles Times, wrote: “I wouldn't have a job without people like Malcolm. His technical work on the Django core is impressive. But so is the insightful and generous support he provides to the less experienced in developer forums. If it wasn't for that kind of help, a hack reporter like me could never have faked his way into being a web developer.”

Jay Mitra, Senior Systems/Network Engineer, said: “Malcolm's high level of technical expertise combined with an approachable and friendly demanour make him a good manager and mentor.”

Gary Capell, Site Reliability Engineer at Google, wrote: “
Clueful, calm, organised, supportive, pragmatic, fun. I'd be happy if every manager I had was like Malcolm.”

by +Simon Dulhunty 

#python   #django   #opensource  
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