In Memoriam - Gunnar Hjalmarsson

We were recently made aware of the passing of long-time Ubuntu Community member Gunnar Hjalmarsson. Gunnar has been a steadfast contributor to Ubuntu and Debian for well over a decade. His work around translation and localization efforts has helped enable people from around the world to use and enjoy the software that we all love. It goes without saying that people like Gunnar are the foundation of our community, and his passing is a tremendous loss.

If you’d like to pay your respects, you can visit this site (In Swedish).


I would also ask at this time that if anyone has any stories about working with Gunnar that they would like to share, please leave a reply below.

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I’d like to begin by sharing Gunnar’s self-written biography on the Ubuntu wiki from 2013. He started using Ubuntu in July 2010 and submitted his first bugfix in September. He also began contributing to Ubuntu’s desktop documentation in 2011. Gunnar became a member of the Ubuntu Documentation Team, the Ubuntu Desktop Team, and a Ubuntu Core Developer. He was also a leader of both the Ubuntu Swedish local community and Ubuntu Translators.

Gunnar also contributed his volunteer work to Debian, becoming a Debian Developer and a member of the Debian GNOME and Input Method teams.

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As one of many non-native speakers of English in the Ubuntu community, I cannot thank him enough for his effort and his legacy to the localization and internationalization in Ubuntu. He had been a pillar in such an area for more than a decade, and the output of apt changelog language-selector-common clearly proves that. Without him, using Ubuntu in users’ local languages may have been challenging, and his contribution kept Ubuntu reachable to new users and made the community diverse as an outcome.

In addition to his excellent work, he was one of the nicest people I interacted with in the community. He always listened to people and notified each language community for feedback before making changes. My sincere condolences.

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I have worked with Gunnar on almost every Ubuntu release I’ve driven so far, he was always the main point-of-contact for all translations-related coordination. He was always so well prepared and helpful… it was really a true pleasure having him with us. He was truly dedicated. I remember a few times, during language-pack deadlines such as translation freeze or call-for-testing periods ending, he was always very strict to stick to the promised timelines. Always making sure to give people enough time to finalize their translations or validate their languages.

He will be missed.

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I’m so sorry to hear this news. He was kind and helpful to us translators. May his family find comfort.

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My condolences and strength to Gunnars family! What a very nice guy he was with a great attitude, he helped me tons on irc on the #ubuntu-translators channel with advice and bug helping.
The community will miss you Gunnar, may you rest in peace mate.

here a little log from a discussion we had recently;

GunnarHj: lotuspsychje: Sure, no problem. I assigned it to the Dutch translators.
lotuspsychje: thank you very much, always productive to work with you mate : )

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Very saddened to hear about Gunnar’s passing. I didn’t know him personally, but he helped us a lot in getting better Arabic support in both Ubuntu and Debian. Sometimes, he would even contact me and ask me how are things going so far regarding testing this bug or that bug’ fixes. He even went out of his way sometimes to write patches to fix Arabic-related issues in Ubuntu and Debian, and then ship/package them by himself… All for a language he didn’t speak and for people he didn’t really know.

I am not even sure there will be someone to continue the things he was doing for the community… He provided so much of his time for the open-source community and in many fields.

I hope his family members are ok, and that they can find comfort through all of this.

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