Patrick Volkerding is the founder and maintainer of Slackware Linux. Slackware users ("Slackers") often refer to him as "The Man" as a token of respect for bringing them what they believe is the greatest Linux distribution out there.
For a short while Chris Lumens and others have assisted his work on Slackware, but for the last couple of years he is working alone again. Volkerding still manages to bring out new releases.
During 2004, Volkerding fought a chronic and dangerous bacterial infection possibly caused by actinomyces. An actual diagnosis was never found. On December 18, he wrote in his ChangeLog that he was recovering and returning to work after being treated in the Mayo Clinic. On January 22 he wrote he still was not fully recovered, and was still working to try and find a definitive diagnosis and treatment.