Skip to main content

OFE community mourns the loss of co-founder Basil Cousins

8th March 2023

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing away of OpenForum Europe co-founder, Basil Cousins, after a very long illness. He died peacefully at home with all his family present. His wife Trisha died early last year, but he was very close to his large family.

He had not only a long life but a very fulfilled one also. Basil worked in technology since the early 80s, observing the modularity of software development. This early effort in common application development laid the foundation for his devotion to open source. Later, he joined forces with other open source enthusiasts to promote open standards. This collaboration with Bob Blatchford and Graham Taylor later led to the creation of OpenForum Europe.

Basil’s endless curiosity was not limited only to technology but extended to religion and spirituality. He held a Master’s Degree in Philosophy in Russian Orthodoxy and Islam.

In 2021, Basil was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award by OpenUK. His passion for technology and open source stayed strong to the last days of his life. “I am a strong believer in open source. I think the universe itself is open source. The whole universe is like software”, Basil said at the State of Open 2023 conference a month ago.

Basil was an exceptional figure in our field and his impact is immeasurable. Quite simply he was an inspiration to us all. We are deeply grateful for Basil being so instrumental in building the organisation that we today work for.

Basil was probably the most positive person I have ever worked with – always full of new ideas. Liked and respected by everyone he was the world’s best networker. I first met him in the early 1980’s when I was at ICL (now Fujitsu) and he was a senior customer. Even then he was a strong advocate for interoperability and went on to lead much of X/Open’s work in this area. Later we worked together, both in ICL and later on Unix International in the UK, but it was only in 2001/02 when, realising we both were looking at the business opportunity from Open Source, we combined efforts. The result was our co-founding of what became OpenForum Europe – the rest is history. I have lost a great friend”

– Graham Taylor, Chairman Emeritus and Co-Founder of OFE

“Our professional careers are marked not by the organisations we work for so much as the people we collaborate with. Today I learned that one of the formative people in the development of my engagement with technology, policy, and law has died. Basil Cousins was an exceptional influence for myself and many others, combining a childlike curiosity with a generosity of spirit. Instead of electing to be cautious or miserly, he chose to seek out and elevate new generations. A warm contributor who never sought the limelight, he will nevertheless be remembered fondly and with gratitude by many hundreds.”

– Shane Coughlan, General Manager, OpenChain, The Linux Foundation, Non-Executive Director, OFE

Basil’s ideas not only laid the foundation for OpenForum Europe but still drives our mission and vision. In addition to his engagement and influence in the debates around the state and future of technology and society, he had a tremendous impact on countless individuals that in turn have dedicated their lives to the betterment of society. OFE and its community would not be here without Basil.”

– Astor Nummelin Carlberg, Executive Director, OFE


Basil also participated in our State of Open Photo Exhibition. View his photos here.

Scroll to top of the content