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The Ask Ubuntu Community has lost a long time contributor from its ranks of esteemed contributors with the recent death of Gunnar Hjalmarsson. Gunnar was a highly valued contributor to Ask Ubuntu for 10 years and 9 months.

His profile tells us that on Ask Ubuntu he reached 4.4m people, crafted 1,061 answers and asked 3 questions. It saddens me that we do not know that much more about Gunnar, although his Ubuntu Wiki fills in a few gaps perhaps.

I would welcome those who perhaps know Gunnar better to post answers or comments to this post so that we can all then better appreciate the man and his work beyond the bare details given here.

Our thoughts and condolences to the family of Gunnar Hjalmarsson...

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    Though In my 6 years of being on Ask Ubuntu, I have never had the pleasure of crossing paths and learning from Gunnar Hjalmarsson , I am deeply saddened by the loss of such a great contributor on Ask Ubuntu. Rest in peace Gunnar!
    – stumblebee
    Feb 24 at 2:22
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    I had interacted with Gunnar a few times and he was always kind and helpful. He was undoubtedly the language support guru of this community, with valuable contributions both here and in the Ubuntu distribution. He will be missed... Feb 24 at 7:49
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    May he rest in peace, and may his legacy continue to inspire and guide us all. Feb 26 at 17:52
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    Gunnar was always frustratingly correct... I thought on quite a few occasions I had the special characters thing in Ubuntu hacked, only for him to chip in and show a simpler way to do it. I miss him already 😭 RIP my friend.
    – graham
    Feb 28 at 14:49
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    Did not know him, however it is really nice to see a community like this notice and come together. Mar 14 at 16:11

2 Answers 2

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Gunnar played an important role in Debian-packaging and distributing IBus Avro, a phonetic keyboard for the Bangla (my native) language, as well such packages for as many other languages.

I can easily set up the tools for writing Bangla in my computer partly due to the efforts of Gunnar.

Despite not being a native speaker of this language, he would put extreme efforts to help with the bug reports in GitHub, many of which were reported in Bangla. He would patiently use online translators to understand the cause of frustration of the users.

He once commented about the decline in the number of questions in Ask Ubuntu about IBus Avro, which means, people are having less trouble configuring it. In other words, his efforts for distributing the software were very successful.

He also had a thorough knowledge of how to configure input methods in all kinds of desktop interfaces as well as in all versions of Ubuntu, which had different underlying settings.

He was an active contributor to IBus and other similar tools, and helped with the development and packaging of writing tools in many languages, not just Bangla.

While I did not know him personally, I interacted with him on several occasions in Ask Ubuntu and GitHub. He was always very kind in answering my questions in Ask Ubuntu.

While Gunnar's absence will be felt, his contributions will continue to benefit millions of users who write in their native scripts on Debian based operating systems. He will definitely be remembered.

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I used to watch for LP bug reports related to languages with RTL scripts (Like: Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Urdu ...), i18n & l10n in general. That time, the translations were incomplete for may components of the core system.

Later, I joined Ask Ubuntu to learn more about these issues from users directly. There where I saw many posts got handled by Mr. Gunnar. He managed to give support for many users here and in launchpad even with slow response ones.

Part of the knowledge I have is from his contributions. Thank you.

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