Ray Donnelly, our friend and co-worker, was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic colon cancer in March 2018. Ray comes from a large Northern Irish family with 3 sisters and 2 brothers and married Pam, his girlfriend (and now caretaker) of 17 years in September of this year in Copenhagen. You may know Ray better by his online alias, mingwandroid
, which you’ll find sprinkled around hundreds of open source projects
that Ray has contributed to. As a self-described “recovering games programmer who loves tinkering with compilers, build systems, and all things open source,” Ray’s contributions are multitudinous and impactful. From MSYS2 to Anaconda, Ray has pushed back the frontier of software, helping to unify capabilities across platforms and provide the very latest functionality, speed, and security.
Ray ported Python so that it could be cross-compiled using MinGW-w64/GCC to be hosted on Windows, built on GNU/Linux as part of a complete toolchain build for final embedding into GDB. This was a requirement for Qt Creator debuggers to work correctly. He then released his own version of the Google Android NDK using the above GDB/Python work. These were the first NDK toolchains released to run natively on Windows (rather than being Cygwin based), to support ARM Neon and to be based on the Linaro Android GCC sources. Subsequently this work, including the Python port was merged to Google's upstream Android source code repositories.
Ray co-founded the MSYS2 project. The project ported ArchLinux's Pacman to Windows and maintains 'PKGBUILD' recipes and patches for more than 1000 Open Source software packages. MSYS2 is now the recommended upstream or build environment for many Open Source projects, Git for Windows, Rust, The Glasgow Haskell Compiler, Gnome and KiCad among them.
Since joining Anaconda, Inc. in February 2016, Ray has done a huge amount of work to propel the Anaconda Distribution forward. Most notably, he was responsible for the great leap forward in our compilers with the Anaconda Distribution 5.0 release. In case you missed it, this blog post
highlighted the performance and security improvements. Ray managed to wear out his keyboard from the amount of effort he put into the Anaconda Distribution 5.0 release! Ray is responsible for the development of the R and MRO conda packages. He is also the one the Anaconda Distribution team relies on whenever it comes to tricky compiler issues. On many occasions, he has tracked a tricky bug into assembly code and fixed it. He has made numerous patches to address CVE vulnerabilities. He has managed to jump through crazy hoops at times to ensure that the Anaconda Distribution remains compatible with the widest range of systems and hardware. Whatever the challenge, he has remained a critical member of the team who supports his fellow teammates.
In spite of his remarkable ability and contributions, Ray is very humble, hardworking and affable. Despite his daunting condition, he remains upbeat and incredibly dedicated to continuing his work and open-source contributions.
Ray has undergone treatment in the UK since his diagnosis in March. Unfortunately, the doctors there believed operating on Ray’s tumors would be too risky to attempt. Ray obtained a second opinion at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, where they believe surgery is both possible and advisable. Here’s the catch: with immigration laws and health insurance policies, we can’t get Ray covered for his operation to happen at M.D. Anderson. To give Ray the best chance at surviving this, we want to pitch in and help him obtain the best care possible.
Since he has given so much to the Anaconda community and the broader open source community - we want to give others the opportunity to help him as well. In recognition of Ray’s vast contributions to our community, and in the hopes of helping him beat cancer, please join us in contributing towards his treatment. Contributions here will be matched 1:1 up to $50,000 by Anaconda, Inc. Ray has an immediate need for funds leading to surgery in the beginning of December, and will have an ongoing need for continuing treatment afterwards.