David Holden, RIP

A sad loss for the RISC OS community.

It has recently emerged that David Holden, a long standing RISC OS advocate and owner of APDL, passed away on 15th May, 2014, after a short illness, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer less than six weeks previously.

The funeral is being handled by Francis Chappell and Sons, a funeral directors based not far from David’s home in Sydenham, from where he also ran the business, and is taking place tomorrow, Friday, 20th June, 2014 at 10:30 at Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery.

However, Aaron Timbrell, who has for many years run his businesses with close ties to David and APDL, has contacted the funeral director, who has informed him that it’s a graveside service, and that there is very little space. They have also said that it has been requested that there be no flowers or donations – so while it is only natural that RISC OS users may wish to pay their respects, it may be that David’s family and close friends would prefer to give him a smaller, more intimate farewell, so please bear that in mind.

The sad news emerged because the APDL website appears to have been taken down by the hosting company, to be replaced by their standard holding page – which often happens when hosting fees have not been paid, and this was therefore the initial assumption about what may have happened – and this led to one RISC OS user, who lives fairly locally, popping over to David’s home, whereupon a neighbour informed him of David’s passing.

Subsequent discussion has included the suggestion of raising the money to pay for the hosting, and therefore keeping the APDL website alive. However, it is worth also considering another possibility: That David’s family may have asked the hosting company to take the website down in order to avoid the distress that could be caused by having to deal with customers at what must be a very upsetting time for them.

David’s involvement with RISC OS goes all the way back to the 1980s and, having been a part of the community for such a long time, there can’t be many current RISC OS users who haven’t had some contact or dealings with him at some point, whether that be by email, phone, through forums, or at shows – at which he was a regular exhibitor until a few short years ago. He was also instrumental in the formation of RISCOS Ltd, through which RISC OS 4 was released, and RISC OS development was able to continue and, although these days it is a different fork of the operating system that continues to see active development, it’s entirely possible that without that step we wouldn’t be where we are today, even if none of the further development work that went into RISC OS 4 has made it into RISC OS 5. There can be no doubt that David had an important role in keeping RISC OS alive after Acorn’s doors were closed for the last time, and that RISC OS has therefore sadly lost an important figure.

My own dealings with David were both as a customer of APDL, and as a developer – after I had decided to stop selling Soft Rock Software’s budget games, David approached me to ask if he could collect them together to sell on a single CD, which I was happy to let him do. Outside of ‘business’ I’ve spoken to David on numerous occasions, both in private, and in public on usenet and other forums, and even on those occasions when we disagreed on some point or other, he always remained polite and friendly, and happy to discuss things sensibly, ever diplomatic.

Rest in peace, Dave – I’ll be raising a glass in your memory tonight.


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