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KDE loses stalwart, Uwe Thiem

By   |  July 14, 2008

KDE stalwart and African developer Uwe Thiem passed away on Friday afternoon. Uwe was a long-standing developer of KDE and an ardent advocate of free and open source software.

Uwe was born in Germany in 1954 but lived the last 14 years of his life in Namibia, a country he loved. On his personal website he wrote: “I came to sunny Namibia in December 1994 and fell in love with this beautiful country almost immediately. The vast open spaces, the relaxed lifestyle, the people, the diversity of cultures, the wildlife – all of it makes me feel like I belong to Africa where mankind has once taken its first steps.”

Uwe was the organisational contact for KDE in Africa. He was also the author of two books: KDE Application Development and KDE Programmierung.

Although I only met Uwe once in person I knew him well through regular emails to me and comments posted on this website. In person, Uwe was exactly what you expected: someone full of energy with strong opinions and a love of life.

A week before he died was the last time I had contact with Uwe. We were discussing his article on the KDE4 desktop that we published at the start of July. I had no idea that he was in poor health.

Uwe will be greatly missed by all who knew him and free software in Africa is poorer for his passing.


13 Responses to “KDE loses stalwart, Uwe Thiem”

  1. kmf
    July 14th, 2008 @ 10:31 am

    I worked with Uwe in Namibia.
    What an amazing person. He will be missed.

  2. Alan McKinnon
    July 14th, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

    I never met Uwe in person but I kept bumping in to him on-line, usually on the gentoo-user mailing list. A helluva nice guy on-line – a real geek who was happy to help where he could and really loved Free Software, Linux, gentoo and all things KDE.

    Last time I checked he still owed me a pitcher of Namibia’s finest. Now I’ll never be able to collect it.

  3. Roy Schestowitz
    July 14th, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

    My deepest condolences to the family of Uwe.

  4. Oliver
    July 14th, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

    My condolence to all he left behind. He was certainly a driving force and will leave a gab hard to fill.


    for more information visit:,246.0.html

  5. Tony Stohne
    July 14th, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

    Yes, he will be missed. I never really knew the guy, certainly noy in person, but I kind of developed a liking for the man (the human). Apart from his KDE contributions he was also a very active, responsive and giving member of the Gentoo users mailing list.


  6. Tightwad Technica » Uwe Theim, RIP
    July 15th, 2008 @ 5:02 am

    […] nice piece on Uwe is here. A man cut down before his […]

  7. A.J. Venter
    July 15th, 2008 @ 8:44 am

    I knew Uwe quite well, he was an old friend. We worked together on some major projects over a many years. About a month or so ago he sent me the first draft of his first ever piece of English fiction.

    He was a true geek at heart with a genuine love of technology and empowering people. A person who lived his live motivated by his passions, not the least of which was fine teas – which he imported himself.

    Go well my friend, heaven is a better place for having you.

  8. The Blog From Hell » Blog Archive » Rest in peace Uwe Thiem.
    July 15th, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

    […] afternoon saw the tragic and very premature passing away of my dear friend Uwe Thiem. This article, and this one gives more detail on Uwe’s massive contribution to FOSS, particularly KDE. I […]

  9. Bretton
    July 15th, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

    My condolences to his family and kin. I also never got to meet him in person although we exchanged emails in the past with an open invitation for a pint sometime. :-(

    His presence will extend far beyond the reach of mortal geography, and his virtual fingerprints will linger in code, lists, and the semantic web — and I’ve only the briefest glimpse of what he was involved in over the years.

  10. Mogamat
    July 21st, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

    Uwe was always ready to help and share his vast knowledge with those around him. May the Allmighty place contentment in the hearts of his family and may he rest in peace.

  11. Evan
    July 25th, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

    Hamba Kahle, Uwe. Enjoyed our email contact over the years and cannot believe you are gone.

  12. Bimal
    July 29th, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

    (Sorry for my bad english)
    Hi, I love kde.. and I don’t know Uwe Thiem personally but after heard that he died because kidney failure,I know him, but anyone noticed what is kidney failure? My mother also died before one year, because kidney failure.

    Anyone noticed why kidney fails? I have findout some points.
    (We all programmer facing this common problem. So, I decided to post it here)
    (1) First is eat food at regular time, like I am taking my lunch at 12:30 everyday. And at evening, I take my dinner at 9:00pm everyday.. this is my fix time for dinner and lunch. Never miss this timing.
    (2) Drink more water. As in our computer life… we are working with PC.. we have no time to drink water / or we are too lazy to go to “water bottle” and drink water. To solve this problem, put a bottle of water and a glass near pc, before power-on your PC. and drink water periadly…. like in every hour, drink half or a glass.
    (3) sleep at regular time daily… as I am daily sleeps at 10:30pm/11:00pm…(I am missing this timing because my new job.. but will solve this…)
    (4) Never miss toilet… don’t be lazy for this.. every human’s body’s IN and OUT must be perfect…

  13. Tectonic » Best of 2008: The year’s top posts
    December 12th, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

    […] one of the last things that our friend and fellow open source activist, Uwe Thiem, wrote before he passed away in July. A long-time open source advocate and a core KDE contributor, Uwe was a key figure in open […]

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