Philippe Defert (1954 - 2013)

Many of us have been deeply saddened by the early passing away of Phil Defert following a short period of illness.  He impressed all of us by being passionate about everything he did.


One of his passions was open-source software; in the 1990s he wrote ASIS (the Application Software Installation Service), a system that built and distributed open-source applications for all UNIX-like platforms in use at CERN. ASIS was so successful that it was used at many other institutes, even outside High Energy Physics. Later he played a key role in introducing Linux at CERN and kept pushing for open-source solutions ever since.

Phil was also very passionate about helping people. Whenever he realised that somebody was in need, he was willing and available, caring sincerely and respectfully. He was always approachable and enjoyed discussions, in particular with different views, always trying to move things forward by learning from them. His enthusiasm for helping people made him a very natural and active member of the Executive Committee of the Staff Association.

For Phil, being passionate also meant never surrendering when pursuing something he was convinced of. His determination and energy motivated many followers, in particular young people.

Philippe was also an active member of the CERN scuba club, where for many years he organised regular trips to south of France and Spain. He was always ready for a laugh and a joke, a keen diver and a provider of many hilarious moments during all outings. His enthusiasm, and his welcoming and caring attitude, were very much appreciated by all of us. His loss is even more devastating, as we will always miss his fun loving and generosity.

We are grateful for the time spent with him and will remember him.

His friends and colleagues

We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Mr Philippe Defert on 11 September 2013. Mr Philippe Defert, who was born on 6 April 1954, worked in the IT Department and had been at CERN since 16 October 1987.

The Director-General has sent a message of condolence to his family on behalf of the CERN personnel.

Social Affairs
Human Resources Department