Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 21st Nov 2004 20:54 UTC, submitted by bisserke
Slackware, Slax According to a post in the Dropline forums (*unconfirmed*), Pat's situation is not getting any better. Apparently his treating doctors at the Mayo Clinic are becoming convinced that Pat suffers from Marfan's syndrome, a rather serious genetic disorder. We hope the best for Pat.
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how shitty
by stubert on Sun 21st Nov 2004 21:04 UTC

i guess i'll donate some cash seeing as how i've used slackware for a long time

Argh, why post this?
by Will on Sun 21st Nov 2004 21:06 UTC

I REALLY dislike it when rumors are posted as news. Get it confirmed BEFORE you post, please - all this will do is create unnecessary FUD.

Regardless, I'm still praying for his situation, as are many others, I'm sure.

Is there any way to donate funds towards his medical care? Does he need it?

From Wikipedia
by me on Sun 21st Nov 2004 21:09 UTC

from wikipedia
"Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder, affecting many structures, including the skeleton, lungs, eyes, heart and blood vessels. It is named for the French pediatrician Antoine Marfan, who first described it in 1896."

"The disease is characterized by unusually long limbs, and is believed to have affected Julius Caesar, Charles de Gaulle, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Mary Queen of Scots,Abraham Lincoln, and violinist Nicolo Paganini. Osama bin Laden is also rumored to have Marfan syndrome."

Quite a croud to share a diagonosis with. Fortunatly it sounds like it is treatable and usually not fatal

v hum
by Duffman on Sun 21st Nov 2004 21:10 UTC
RE:  Argh, why post this?
by Eugenia on Sun 21st Nov 2004 21:13 UTC

Because the post was believable, and I can't reach Pat to confirm. And when I say "believable", I mean I know for a fact that Pat HAS gone to the Mayo Clinic the last few days, AFTER his original message to the world. So, that message on the forum did not feel like a fabrication. Besides, we CLEARLY write "unconfirmed" and the header has a QUESTIONMARK.

by Anonymous on Sun 21st Nov 2004 21:29 UTC

Pat usually cryptographically signs his emails. Whether the guy on the dropline forums left that out when he quoted his email, I don't know.

Good luck Pat.
by nodes of yesod on Sun 21st Nov 2004 21:36 UTC

All the best for the future, and many thanks for the past.
I'm looking forward to ordering my Slack v11 Cds. ;)

Hits home
by Hunter on Sun 21st Nov 2004 21:51 UTC

My brother has Marfans.. Long limbed, had a valve replaced, lenses in the eyes, ankles rebuilt, 3 strokes later and trying to get him on social security - with the lawyers help. Memory is shot. It sucks! I was told most do not live to see 60, I know what’s coming, but when??

f that's what he has I hope him all the best!!

I hope you the best
by Marcos on Sun 21st Nov 2004 22:10 UTC

I haven't used Slackware but, as a Gentoo user, I feel sympathy for it's source based distribution.
But the most important is I wish he gets well soon. I'm sure he's a great man and lot of Slackware users love his work and want him also to to get well. I hope you the best, Pat!

by Anonymous on Sun 21st Nov 2004 22:17 UTC

" I feel sympathy for it's source based distribution. "

slackware is NOT a source based distro.

The end of Slackware?
by pete on Sun 21st Nov 2004 22:22 UTC

What if Pat will never be able to maintain Slackware again? Will Slackware die? Or are there any other developer who could take over Pats work?

Not Sure But
by Doug Swain on Sun 21st Nov 2004 22:58 UTC

Well, I would doubt it would simply end. There are a fair amount of distros that use Slackware (Vector/Slax to name a sample) and if nobody official with Slackware were to take on the challenge (which I suspect would) then one of them may very well pick up the ball. Lets hope for the best.

Get well Pat
by harper on Sun 21st Nov 2004 23:05 UTC

Long time SlackWare user here. I'm gonna donate $100, please get well Pat. Wishing you the best.


Re: The end of Slackware?
by acobar on Sun 21st Nov 2004 23:14 UTC

First: I, as many Slackware users all around the world, wish to Pat a sound recovering.

Second: I really don't think Slackware, as a Linux distro, will dye anytime soon, even if the worst happens because, as yours and my parents, it generated and influenced many others distros.

Good luck Pat, you are a good dear friend even though we didn't have the opportunity to meet each other.


Get well.
by Smeggy on Sun 21st Nov 2004 23:19 UTC

I wish Pat the best. Although it may sound morbid, I believe Slackware would survive if he didn't. Get well buddy.

by woodstock on Sun 21st Nov 2004 23:28 UTC

I also wish him the best and a speedy recovery.

Stop predicting Pat's death...
by T.D. Bancroft on Sun 21st Nov 2004 23:53 UTC

Guys, he's not dead yet. I doubt that Pat's enjoying all of the "What are we going to do when he kicks it" talk. Not all that encouraging.

hope he's going to recover soon
by haha on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 00:07 UTC

Although I prefer Windows, of all Linux distros I've tried, Slackware was the best - fast, stable and simple, hope that guy is going to recover soon and continue his good work!
I'll order Slack disk set from them.

Re: The end of Slackware?
by Anonymous Coward on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 00:45 UTC

It does raise the interesting issue of Slackware (something I have thought of before) along the lines of 'business continuity'. Slackware has more or less been, be it right or wrong, a one-person distro. Yes, Pat has help, and input from others (who are predominantly those he trusts). Pat has always had finally say (in my eyes a good thing) as to what makes it into a release. But, God forbid, should something happen, now, or years from now, what kind of an impact might/could this occur to Slackware as we know it?

by Sn0we on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 01:00 UTC

Hmmm, it sounded more like they'd potentially found the cause, in which case the prognosis would have to be better.

Poor sod.
by Snooo on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 01:28 UTC

Really hope he recovers. Have used Slackware at home. Whilst its not really for me (I needed a simpler-to-maintain desktop OS), its an excellent learning experience for anyone wanting to get to grips with linux directly. The dropline email scared the shit out of me...

i dun think so
by on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 02:11 UTC

Marfan's syndrome.. no no i dun think Pat with that kind of syndrome
still wish the best for Pat..every moment

by Mike on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 02:39 UTC

I was diagnosed marfanoid when I was a teenager. It's not a big deal. I just have to have regular checkups on my eyes (Marfanoids can have slipped lenses) and regular heart checkups.

It's honestly never affected anything I do.

Feel Better Pat!
by Sardaukar on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 03:26 UTC

Slackware remains my favorite linux distro after many years. Pat, I hope you feel better man. Stay strong.

by bleyz on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 03:36 UTC

How believable this rumour may be, it's unpolite to repeat it here.

Pat's previous(?) account and in fact this one seem to point to anything but that syndrome.

What indeed is worrying is that they may be wasting his time. To be honest, I can't understand why he moved to a smaller place, but it may be as good as the next one.

I'm looking forward to hear that some doctor saw the writing on the wall, did what was needed and recovery is coming speedy and full.

by arben on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 03:58 UTC

I've been using Slackware since 2.3 (from the InfoMagic CDs).

Hope Patrick gets better. The best thing about slackware, is that ever since the big change to glibc 2, you don't need to upgrade your linux distro every 6 months, no non-standard *features* to trip you up. I am using slackware 8 upgraded with a new kernel, libc,libstdc++ and lastest gnome etc...

Good luck
by dmd on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 06:53 UTC

Best of luck to Pat. What a terrible situation ;)

Words are flying...
by Brown Jenkin on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 08:34 UTC

I don't like when people talk about unconfirmed news. It's probably true that Patrick is in a bad situation, but I think the better way to help him is not to make hypothesis or something like that. I just hope he could recover

Good Luck!
by linear on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 08:46 UTC

Good luck Pat, such a huge crowd is behind you!

Get well Pat! :(
by Eddie303 on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 09:12 UTC

As I live in Romania, I cannot help Pat with donations, but if somebody says he needs some medicine not found in the USA, maybe I can send some. There was something about Cillins, I don't know, if he gets it he may survive a while, but that is strong medicine, and does not take care of the human body ;)

pat doesn't need donations now...
by th on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 09:19 UTC won't help here. pat needs good doctors and treatment ;) of course those things need money but i bet pat won't think about money much now. i really wish he gets better. i'm too afraid of many deceases that might hit me, even i'm healthy now... life sucks and people die. unfortunately mostly wrong people die too early.

best luck for pat ;)

Get Well Soon
by Bruce on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 09:26 UTC

Very best wishes towards a speedy recovery. Do take care of yourself, the penguin galaxy will not shine quite as bright without you.

- Just a linux user.

by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 09:39 UTC

I'm glad he is finally getting this checked out. Hopefully he recieves a quality diagnosis, and all the proper treatments. I look forward to hearing from a healthier Pat ;)

(I can't believe you people are even talking about distributions...)

if someone reads this, please pass it on to pat
by the good doctor on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 09:56 UTC

Cipro has very serious side effects. A brochitis infection should never have been treated with Cipro. And Cipro should never be taken as any sort of "get me better" antibiotic. It is really only for uses like combatting a life threatening deadly poison -- such as anthrax. Unfortunately Cipro pays the reps well so you find Cipro being used where it should not be used.

My suggestion to Pat is to get more diagnosis before any long course of antibiotics, especially Cipro. It may have been the Cipro that damaged his heart in the first place:

CARDIOVASCULAR: palpitation, atrial flutter, ventricular ectopy, syncope, hypertension, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, cardiopulmonary arrest, cerebral thrombosis, phlebitis, tachycardia, migraine, hypotension.

And the general list of side effects:


During clinical investigations with oral and parenteral ciprofloxacin, 49,038 patients received courses of the drug. Most of the adverse events reported were described as only mild or moderate in severity, abated soon after the drug was discontinued, and required no treatment. Ciprofloxacin was discontinued because of an adverse event in 1.0% of orally treated patients. The most frequently reported drug related events, from clinical trials of all formulations, all dosages, all drug-therapy durations, and for all indications of ciprofloxacin therapy were nausea (2.5%), diarrhea (1.6%), liver function tests abnormal (1.3%), vomiting (1.0%), and rash (1.0%). Additional medically important events that occurred in less than 1% of ciprofloxacin patients are listed below.

BODY AS A WHOLE: headache, abdominal pain/discomfort, foot pain, pain, pain in extremities, injection site reaction (ciprofloxacin intravenous)

CARDIOVASCULAR: palpitation, atrial flutter, ventricular ectopy, syncope, hypertension, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, cardiopulmonary arrest, cerebral thrombosis, phlebitis, tachycardia, migraine, hypotension

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: restlessness, dizziness, lightheadedness, insomnia, nightmares, hallucinations, manic reaction, irritability, tremor, ataxia, convulsive seizures, lethargy, drowsiness, weakness, malaise, anorexia, phobia, depersonalization, depression, paresthesia, abnormal gait, grand mal convulsion

GASTROINTESTINAL: painful oral mucosa, oral candidiasis, dysphagia, intestinal perforation, gastrointestinal bleeding, cholestatic jaundice, hepatitis HEMIC/LYMPHATIC: lymphadenopathy, petechia

METABOLIC/NUTRITIONAL: amylase increase, lipase increase

MUSCULOSKELETAL: arthralgia or back pain, joint stiffness, achiness, neck or chest pain, flare up of gout

RENAL/UROGENITAL: interstitial nephritis, nephritis, renal failure, polyuria, urinary retention, urethral bleeding, vaginitis, acidosis, breast pain

RESPIRATORY: dyspnea, epistaxis, laryngeal or pulmonary edema, hiccough, hemoptysis, bronchospasm, pulmonary embolism

SKIN/HYPERSENSITIVITY: allergic reaction, pruritus, urticaria, photosensitivity, flushing, fever, chills, angioedema, edema of the face, neck, lips, conjunctivae or hands, cutaneous candidiasis, hyperpigmentation, erythema nodosum, sweating

SPECIAL SENSES: blurred vision, disturbed vision (change in color perception, overbrightness of lights), decreased visual acuity, diplopia, eye pain, tinnitus, hearing loss, bad taste, chromatopsia

In several instances nausea, vomiting, tremor, irritability, or palpitation were judged by investigators to be related to elevated serum levels of theophylline possibly as a result of drug interaction with ciprofloxacin.

In randomized, double-blind controlled clinical trials comparing ciprofloxacin tablets (500 mg BID) to cefuroxime axetil (250 mg - 500 mg BID) and to clarithromycin (500 mg BID) in patients with respiratory tract infections, ciprofloxacin demonstrated a CNS adverse event profile comparable to the control drugs.

Post-Marketing Adverse Events: The following adverse events have been reported from worldwide marketing experience with quinolones, including ciprofloxacin. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. Decisions to include these events in labeling are typically based on one or more of the following factors: (1) seriousness of the event, (2) frequency of the reporting, or (3) strength of causal connection to the drug.

Agitation, agranulocytosis, albuminuria, anaphylactic reactions, anosmia, candiduria, cholesterol elevation (serum), confusion, constipation, delirium, dyspepsia, dysphagia, erythema multiforme, exfoliative dermatitis, fixed eruption, flatulence, glucose elevation (blood), hemolytic anemia, hepatic failure, hepatic necrosis, hyperesthesia, hypertonia, hypesthesia, hypotension (postural), jaundice, marrow depression (life threatening), methemoglobinemia, monoliasis (oral, gastrointestinal, vaginal) myalgia, myasthenia, myasthenia gravis (possible exacerbation), myoclonus, nystagmus, pancreatitis, pancytopenia (life threatening or fatal outcome), phenytoin alteration (serum), potassium elevation (serum), prothrombin time prolongation or decrease, pseudomembranous colitis (The onset of pseudomembranous colitis symptoms may occur during or after antimicrobial treatment.), psychosis (toxic), renal calculi, serum sickness like reaction, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, taste loss, tendinitis, tendon rupture, toxic epidermal necrolysis, triglyceride elevation (serum), twitching, vaginal candidiasis, and vasculitis. (See PRECAUTIONS.)

Adverse Laboratory Changes: Changes in laboratory parameters listed as adverse events without regard to drug relationship are listed below:

Hepatic – Elevations of ALT (SGPT) (1.9%), AST (SGOT) (1.7%), alkaline phosphatase (0.8%), LDH (0.4%), serum bilirubin (0.3%).

Hematologic– Eosinophilia (0.6%), leukopenia (0.4%), decreased blood platelets (0.1%), elevated blood platelets (0.1%), pancytopenia (0.1%).

Renal – Elevations of serum creatinine (1.1%), BUN (0.9%), CRYSTALLURIA, CYLINDRURIA, AND HEMATURIA HAVE BEEN REPORTED.

Other changes occurring in less than 0.1% of courses were: elevation of serum gammaglutamyl transferase, elevation of serum amylase, reduction in blood glucose, elevated uric acid, decrease in hemoglobin, anemia, bleeding diathesis, increase in blood monocytes, leukocytosis.

With large doses of Cipro, many of the above side-effects can become permanent conditions. Reading the dosages that were taken, I feel sad for Pat. Cipro is not a vitamin and should not be used to self-medicate.

In order to get a quality diagnosis, I would assemble a team of specialists, including an infectious diseases specialist and an oncologist. Pat may wish to fold in a Chinese medicine specialist as well. The goal here is to get a full spectrum view of what is going on. And then navigate to the solution.

Good luck, Pat.

The Good Doctor
--alfredbester-- --at--

one more thing
by the good doctor on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 10:03 UTC

If Pat is still at the Mayo Clinic, he should have the doctors check to see how all their data lines up with Cipro side effects -- as being aware of this possible coloration will allow the doctors to have cleaner insight regarding the original condition.

From Pat's description of events, it could be that he was exposed to a poison or toxin of some kind. The tape has to be rewound to the start and then played back frame by frame to see what really may be going on. Hopefully the Mayo people are doing this and Pat is fully cooperating.

Get well
by Paulo Pinto on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 11:12 UTC

Slackware was my very first Linux distribution and I even come to use it from time to time.

I know how bad it is to cope with strong diseases.

Just get well Patrick and I whish you all of the best.

Poor dude
by the non-medical guy on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 15:35 UTC

From the sounds of it, he's arguing more than anything. I sure hope he cooperates. I don't think his life is in danger, but he is obviously in TONS of pain, and that's gotta be very rough.

This message is a sick hoax
by Simba on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 17:22 UTC

I'm almost sure this message is a sick hoax for two reasons: One, it is dated only one day after the original message. Did Patrick really get checked into Mayo and have all those tests run in only 24 hours?

But even more damning is the fact that on the 16th (the date of this supposed email), Patrick posted a response on Slashdot stating that he was feeling somewhat better, which seems to be in conflict with the ominious words in the post that this thread is based on.

Please check into the sources of this stuff before you post it. It should have been obvious it was probably a hoax from the date stamp, as well as the fact that it comes from a completely unidentified source who has only posted 5 times in dropline before.

Get Well
by Dreadnought on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 18:41 UTC

I wish Pat the quickest recovery

Using slackware since 1999 and counting, also use it in a LUG with some of my friends.

Sick hoax?
by Bamboe on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 18:52 UTC

Well, I'm the guy who posted the mail on the dropline forums. Yes indeed, I'm only a lurker there, but I'm a +5 year slackware user and have followed slackware development closely. (I have been active on other forums, like the formerly official slackware forum that has moved to now)
Anyway, I've got the mail because I'm subscribed to the slackware OT mailinglist ( ). It was posted there by AthlonRob, which is one of the regulars at alt.os.linux.slackware and one of the people behind slacksec (, the organisation that provides security updates for slackware while patrick is out of the scene).
So in fact, I can't verify by myself if the mail is genuine, but I certainly didn't write it myself and I don't had any reason to suspect it would be a hoax. (and neither would anyone else on the slackware OT mailing list)
Maybe it's a bit overstated that I've got the mail from confidential sources though.
And about the timing: the post on slashdot was November 16, 02:38PM, and he sent the mail at 17 Nov 2004 21:02:34, which is about a day and a half later.
I don't know exactly when he arrived at Mayo's clinic, but since he was in really bad shape I guess the people at Mayo's would not have been too lazy doing the medical tests.

Re: Bamboe
by Simba on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 19:24 UTC

I'm still somewhat skeptical that the post is authentic because of the timeline. His Slashdot post indicated he was feeling quite a bit better and it did not give any indications that he was planning to go to Mayo. Now I suppose it is possible he suddenly took a drastic turn for the worse and that is why he decided to go to Mayo. But if that is the case, I would have thought he would have gone to an emergency room. After all, Mayo is more than a five hour drive from Fargo.

re: the-good-doctor
by Simba on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 19:44 UTC

I suspect you are exagerating the dangers here. If Cipro commonly caused heart attacks and many of the other cardiovascular side effects you mention, it would not be on the market.

Probably these occured very rarely, and were the result of allergic reactions to the drug. And if that is the case, then these kinds of serious and even fatal side effects can even occur with the old standard antibiotics since some people are allergic to them.

re: Simba
by Anon E. Mouse on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 20:36 UTC

If Cipro commonly caused heart attacks and many of the other cardiovascular side effects you mention, it would not be on the market.

Ever heard of Vioxx?

re: Anon
by Simba on Mon 22nd Nov 2004 22:43 UTC

Yeah, and Vioxx was recalled because of these problems. I don't see Cipro being recalled. Do you? That's probably because as I said, the serious and potentially fatal effects that are mentioned are very rare and are most likely the result of serious allergic reactions to the antibiotic, which as I said, has also been known to occur occasionally with many other antibiotics. Penicilian is fatal to some people for instance.

Slackware 11? Give this guy a break for goodness sake...
by Knowledge on Tue 23rd Nov 2004 03:06 UTC

God gives life and takes life if he wants to. Sometimes we are to meet the termination of our lives in a very strange way because it is already ordained. I guess that right now, for Patrick, nothing else matters than fight for his own life and hear the things God wants him to hear, and of course that will depend on his will to hear or not.

I am stunned and stupidly mad when I read comments like "Oh yes, he needs to live because I need to use Slackware 11". What kind of sick comment is that? I think you guys need to help him and give him also a break from this damn geeky world.

I don't understand why he is all the way at his parents house. Was he not married or something? Well... I have my doubts about that post. It is better if someone actually meets this guy to know it for a fact.

RE: Slackware's Volkerding's situation worsening?
by Meat_Head on Tue 23rd Nov 2004 09:39 UTC

Marfan's syndrome doesn't match the majority of Pat's symtoms!

Cipro and many other medications are listed with heart related side effects but Marfan's syndrome & Actinomycosis aren't on the list!

Marfan's syndromes cause is genetic.

Cipro cannot treat Marfan's!