Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Sad news · 2009-04-06 14:06 by Wladimir Palant

I got very sad news on Saturday. My friend and long-time Adblock Plus contributor Rick Petnel passed away Friday night. I was informed about his illness two weeks ago but simply refused to believe that it might end like that. Sadly, there is no way of denying it any more.

Rick, who went in the community by the name Rick752, became one of the first supporters of the Adblock Plus project in its difficult starting phase. He recognized the potential and decided to build the best Adblock Plus filter list around — with much success. Soon, his EasyList became the first entry in the list of recommendations shown after Adblock Plus installation, a decision I never regretted. It was largely thanks to Rick’s dedication and continued efforts that I could focus on the software while he took care of the filters and the coordination of the growing EasyList community. EasyList became a truly collaborative effort and it isn’t a coincidence that many authors of regional filter lists decided to build on this work and to provide regional complements to EasyList.

With his work, Rick helped improve the browsing experience for millions of people. And while he will be deeply missed, he built up a strong community that will be able to continue what he started. There are several strong candidates and I expect to announce Rick’s successor as EasyList maintainer in the next few days.


Comment [128]

  1. Marijo · 2009-04-06 14:45 · #

    He will be missed :(
    Rest in peace, Rick!

  2. LouCypher · 2009-04-06 17:10 · #

    May he rest in peace. My condolences to his family.

  3. Brian Yi · 2009-04-06 18:20 · #

    Condolences to his survivors. RIP Rick. :-(

  4. argontus · 2009-04-06 18:50 · #

    Oh my. RIP, Rick, you will be missed. A heartfelt thanks for all the work you did for Adblock.

  5. Saint Zero · 2009-04-06 18:51 · #

    Don’t worry, Heaven is Free for all. Rest in Peace.

  6. Abuzar · 2009-04-06 19:15 · #

    Very sad to hear about Rick’s passing, and at an early age. He has truly made remarkable contributions to the world and he will be dearly missed. Condolences to the family. RIP Rick :-(

  7. NGUYỄN-Mạnh Hùng · 2009-04-06 19:17 · #

    That’s sad to hear about this. I never thought it would happen like that. Rick and others helped me a lot to optimize my filters list.
    Hope he may rest in peace…

  8. Sarat · 2009-04-06 19:31 · #

    RIP Rick. Heartfelt condolences to his family. He will be missed.

  9. Diego · 2009-04-06 19:36 · #

    Rest in peace :(

  10. Shan · 2009-04-06 19:45 · #

    Rick may have passed away far too soon, but the countless hours, days, and years that he gave back to people all over the web will not be forgotten.

    Thank you for everything Rick- May you rest in peace.

  11. reepicheep · 2009-04-06 20:02 · #

    How sad. I hoped when I first read this that it was a horrible April Fool’s joke but sadly it isn’t.

    I didn’t have much contact with him but do rely on his EasyList and EasyPrivilige filters list. When interacting with him over entries I found him gracious and very helpful. I will miss his contributions. The web was a better place for his presence.

    My condolences to Rick’s family and friends.

  12. Al · 2009-04-06 20:06 · #

    Rest in peace Rick and my condolences to your family.

  13. Alex pham · 2009-04-06 20:28 · #

    Rest in peace , Rick :’(

  14. IIK · 2009-04-06 20:30 · #

    Rest in Peace

  15. Vito Kwok · 2009-04-06 20:34 · #

    Bye bye. :(

  16. Razvan · 2009-04-06 20:59 · #

    Rest in peace. His work was appreciated.

  17. AliAli · 2009-04-06 21:00 · #

    May peace be with you. Rick ;’(

  18. pirlouy · 2009-04-06 21:00 · #

    Always nice, ready to help. And his list was great. A lot of people benefits from his list. Condolences to his family.

    Merci pour tout, Rick.

  19. tmr250z · 2009-04-06 21:27 · #

    That’s so sad to here. He seemed like a wonderful person. I offer my condolences to his friends and family. Rest in piece, Rick.

  20. David Precious · 2009-04-06 21:35 · #

    Rest in peace Rick, and condolences to his family.

    His hard work made using the Internet a nicer experience for millions of people worldwide.

  21. toledoghost · 2009-04-06 21:37 · #

    Ouch. What kind of illness kills someone only 56 years old in two weeks? Anyone know what illness he contracted?

  22. sai · 2009-04-06 21:51 · #

    Our hearts go out to him from our office, we loved his work and wish him no spam/malware/or ads in the hereafter. our blessings and condolences to his family, as well.

  23. Lee Son · 2009-04-06 21:54 · #

    I’m so sad to hear about it :(
    Thousand thanks for all what you have done for us !

  24. bob spence · 2009-04-06 22:05 · #

    I did not know Rick, but he helped make my time on the web a little better. I hope EasyList keeps the rick752 name as a small memorial to his generous efforts.

  25. P. · 2009-04-06 22:25 · #

    RIP Rick. The good always die too young. :(

  26. Linhsup · 2009-04-06 22:37 · #

    RIP Rick :( A heartfelt thanks for all the work you did for Adblock.

  27. Rey Bango · 2009-04-06 23:01 · #

    So sad to hear. Thanks for all of your work Rick. You’ll be missed.

  28. Anonymous · 2009-04-06 23:38 · #

    My condolences to Rick’s friends and family. Before Adblock & Easylist, many sites were just unbearable to surf. I’m very appreciative of his work. RIP Rick

  29. pondhopper · 2009-04-07 00:23 · #

    RIP Rick. It will be hard, prob impossible, to find another person with such dedicated fanaticism for blocking ads & content. Hope his family recovers quickly & well.

  30. Salvy · 2009-04-07 00:31 · #

    R.I.P Rick :’(
    Thanks for all your hard work

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  31. DannyKitty · 2009-04-07 00:33 · #

    RIP Rick. Thanks for all your work, and my condolences to your family.

  32. ThanksMan · 2009-04-07 00:34 · #

    RIP Rick. You made the internet better.

  33. pgomes · 2009-04-07 01:06 · #

    Thank you, Rick. You helped to improve the internet for a lot of people, myself included. My condolences to family and friends.

  34. Joe S. - A happy Adblock user · 2009-04-07 01:32 · #

    Much appreaciated, my friend. You literally did make the internet better.

  35. you rebel scum · 2009-04-07 01:32 · #

    Nothing much to add. Thanks Rick!

  36. Compass · 2009-04-07 01:32 · #

    Rick, your work and dedication will always be remembered.

    Surfing the web became a much more smooth, secure and pleasant experience because of your list.

    We can’t filter TV, Radio and the Movies like you made it possible on the internet with EasyList.

    Thanks a lot!



  37. totnik · 2009-04-07 01:58 · #


  38. kramsac · 2009-04-07 03:24 · #

    So many people use Ad Block Plus and have no idea about how many people dedicate time to make it what it is. You have contributed so much, and you shall live on in your work. RIP.

  39. DEFIANT · 2009-04-07 03:26 · #

    Thank You for making the Internet more manageable.

    Rest in Peace…Rick752.

  40. Tishers · 2009-04-07 03:37 · #

    I did not know that easylist had a maintainer but I “should” have known it. Adblock Plus and Easylist have revolutionized my internet experience and “spoiled” me by blocking so much annoying content. It is a testament to his dedication, to his passion for a cleaned up perspective of the internet that so many of us have benefited from his contributions.

    Sadly for most of us, we never knew Rick but we all enjoyed the fruit of his labors.

  41. pioneer · 2009-04-07 04:00 · #

    He is one of the ture great Internet Pioneers.

    He also looks like a nice guy.

    Thank you Rick Petnel, for sharing your time and enthusiasm with us.

  42. bakekitsune · 2009-04-07 04:12 · #

    I just read about Rick’s passing on
    My deepest condolences to Rick’s family and his friends — which, considering how widely used ABP is — includes just about everyone.

  43. Lam · 2009-04-07 04:17 · #

    Rest in peace! people will remember you. Thanks for your devotion.

  44. Matt Nordhoff · 2009-04-07 04:26 · #

    Oh wow. I don’t know what to say, but my condolences to his family, and may he rest in peace.

  45. Katherine · 2009-04-07 05:35 · #

    Thank you for all you’ve done for the internet community.
    Rest in Peace.

  46. fullmetaljacket · 2009-04-07 06:26 · #


    rip dude, worry no more, there is no annoying ads in heaven. :D


  47. Dan · 2009-04-07 07:18 · #

    My condolences to his family and friends. Thanks making Adblock Plus one of the best Firefox extensions!

  48. TuNG · 2009-04-07 07:18 · #

    May Rick’s soul rest in peace.

  49. · 2009-04-07 07:36 · #

    RIP, thank you for your great job in internet.

  50. BoltClock · 2009-04-07 07:37 · #

    Rick did not live in vain. My heart and prayers go out to all his loved ones.

    Rest in peace, Rick.

  51. Haothiencz · 2009-04-07 08:26 · #


  52. G.S.Alex · 2009-04-07 08:29 · #

    Good Man.


  53. Alan Baxter · 2009-04-07 08:31 · #

    I enjoyed working with Rick. I’ll miss him.

  54. Bambo · 2009-04-07 08:35 · #

    Sad, thanks for all the work.

  55. Jerry · 2009-04-07 08:39 · #

    I am from Vietnam, Rick, all the users here will miss you a lot.


  56. aquabow · 2009-04-07 08:39 · #

    Thanks for Rick’s great work!
    Rest in peace!

  57. Tri · 2009-04-07 08:44 · #

    R.I.P From vietnamese

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Thanks – but don’t you think this is premature? I am still alive. Please read the blog post properly (and don’t believe everything you see on SlashDot).

  58. nowhere · 2009-04-07 09:44 · #

    thx for you great work..
    there is no annoying ads in heaven.

  59. itsnotvalid · 2009-04-07 11:13 · #

    RIP rick752
    You will never be forgotten!

  60. congminh1709 · 2009-04-07 11:37 · #

    Thanks for your ABP, Rick. Rest in peace …

  61. Andrea Grandi · 2009-04-07 12:17 · #

    R.I.P. :(

  62. ilinkcn · 2009-04-07 12:21 · #

    Hope he may rest in peace.


  63. mhenriday · 2009-04-07 12:34 · #

    Very sorry to hear this. The best tribute to Rick and his work will be to see that it continues ; therefore it is encouraging to read Wladimir’s statement to the effect that a successor will be named in a few days. Le roi est mort, vive le roi !…


  64. tanchuvt · 2009-04-07 13:14 · #

    Rest in peace.
    You will be missed.

  65. dzx · 2009-04-07 13:28 · #

    Saddening news, his contribution has definitely improved my browsing experience. It’s so easy to forget ABP is there, but when it’s not, boy is there a difference.

    Best wishes to his family, RIP Rick.

  66. Miles · 2009-04-07 14:19 · #


  67. NothingCtrl · 2009-04-07 14:56 · #

    Rest in Peace

  68. echipvina · 2009-04-07 15:08 · #

    You will be missed.

  69. smk · 2009-04-07 16:29 · #

    Thanks for your dedicated work to adblock plus.
    Your list helped so many people block the ads on the internet
    You will be missed

  70. Ricky · 2009-04-07 16:53 · #

    Since I hadn’t know him personally, I can’t say I’ll missed him, but I’ll remember him.
    I’ll remember him as the little guy who’s effort contributed greatly to a much better browsing experience. Many millions of netizen benefited from his effort.
    For this I am forever grateful, I thank you and we will all remember you, Rick. R.I.P.

    “One guy, small effort, felt and benefit millions around the world.”

  71. tattoo · 2009-04-07 17:46 · #

    I use ABP everyday, I cann’t live without it. He will be missed…

  72. Adblock Plus Fan · 2009-04-07 18:28 · #


  73. JP · 2009-04-07 18:40 · #

    Very sad news. My deepest sympathies to the bereaved family. I pray for the peace of the departed soul.

  74. pekkle · 2009-04-07 18:58 · #

    R.I.P :(

  75. a china user · 2009-04-07 19:38 · #


  76. lovelywcm · 2009-04-07 20:43 · #

    It’s really a sad news.

    Rest in peace, Rick. We will never forget your contribution.

  77. Joel Craig · 2009-04-07 20:49 · #

    Thanks Rick for making the internet a better place for all of us. Your hard work, dedication, and generosity will never be forgotten. Rest easy, dear friend.

  78. Pseudonymous Coward · 2009-04-07 21:07 · #


  79. Donn Avers · 2009-04-07 22:31 · #

    Will be missed. RIP.

  80. Seth Wagoner · 2009-04-07 22:58 · #

    Shocked to hear. Rick made the world a better place for a few million of us, and that’s a lot more than most people manage with their lives. Rest in Peace buddy, I’m sorry I’ll never get a chance to buy you a beer. I hope the new Easylist maintainer(s) can do even half as good a job of saving my frazzled eyeballs & attention span from overzealous marketeers.

  81. berzerk · 2009-04-07 22:59 · #

    Rest in peace, dear friend.
    Your lifework was in favour in the interest of all internet users worldwide, to make their days more meaningful, scratching away the crap and dust all over the world wide web.

    We will miss you Rick ! ;(

  82. tiik · 2009-04-08 00:53 · #

    i can not believe this!

    Rest in peace.

  83. Alan · 2009-04-08 01:21 · #

    My condolences to Rick’s family and friends.

  84. Mourning Rick · 2009-04-08 02:56 · #

    As a family member and friend of Rick’s it is heartwarming to read all of the messages. Unfortunately Rick did not maintain his health as well as he did his computer work and suffered a massive stroke and bleed in his brain. Going years without ever seeing a doctor, he lived with a silent killer high blood pressure. The damage was extensive. If only he had applied the same diligence and attitude to his body as he did with AB we would not be mourning his loss right now. Neglect and stubborness serves no one! So if anyone reading this thinks that this can’t happen to them, be reminded by Rick that it can, it does, and it’s forever!Please apply the same attitude and ethics to your body as you all do with your computer!If you don’t see a doctor, in honor of Rick, please do!

  85. Chen · 2009-04-08 07:33 · #

    Thank Rick very much and Rest in Peace. I believe no ads in heaven any more.

  86. Rick · 2009-04-08 09:21 · #

    Thank you for literally improving my quality of life, Rick.

    Rest in Peace.

  87. anamaniac · 2009-04-08 10:36 · #

    Thank you.

    Rick was the bane of all online advertising companies. I love him more than any god.

  88. rexnebular · 2009-04-08 12:19 · #

    I never knew the man and his friends behind this perfect filter list.

    May he rest in peace.

  89. bluefin · 2009-04-08 14:55 · #

    My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
    whole of adblock user community will miss you, RIP Rick :(

  90. HKVN · 2009-04-08 15:57 · #

    Thanks Rick! I love him :(.

  91. iwo · 2009-04-08 17:43 · #

    Wish there be nothing more ad to block.
    Rest in peace.

    Thank you Rick for a well done to clean the web clearly with firefox etc.

  92. mc · 2009-04-08 20:48 · #

    My father passed away recently from the same cause. Although far from a computer maven he helped any and all that crossed his path. May we all take heed of “Mourning Rick”‘s advice and contribute to society in such a manner as Rick Petnel.

  93. guest_7 · 2009-04-08 22:46 · #


    I’ve read your name if but in passing.

    I’ve never known you.

    I’ve seen your face on an online obituary for the first time today.

    Neither do I know Wladimir.

    Yet – Reading about your death touched me.

    Maybe because I feel personally attached to the software you helped produce, as a passionate user.


    There are lines I read recently in a book review which might offer some comfort for you and for us. Let me share them with you:

    ‘s Nachts komen de vossen
    by Cees Nooteboom

    I think it was written and published only very recently and hence is yet to be translated into English…

    But this is what I’ve taken from it so far:

    Where are the dead people ?

    In heaven ?

    Good answer. Perhaps.

    Wherever the dead may be – their presence still lingers, they are still present.

    You live on. You live on in your offspring, you live on in your deeds, thoughts and works.

    Although the dead have died – they are not really dead.

    Although you, Rick, have died – you, too, are not really dead.

    ~ ~ ~

    My words are simple. I am not a writer or a poet.

    But I feel a weak link, a weak connection both to the Dutch author’s book (which I am yet to read myself) – and to you, Rick.

    You shall not be forgotten.

  94. hole · 2009-04-09 16:44 · #

    I’m sorry for the guy and his family. R.i.p. and thanks for your hard work man, you will be remembered.

  95. Helen · 2009-04-10 16:35 · #

    My heart and prayers go out to his family too. You will be greatly missed Rick.

    I will be thinking about Rick every time I open my browser.

    My deepest condolences to his family and friends.


  96. Forever Bunny · 2009-04-10 21:25 · #

    I only installed Adblock Plus a few minutes ago, and found out this sad news seconds ago. My thanks to all involved for their contributions to the add-on, and my sincere condolences to all his family and friends.
    Perhaps he can live on, or at least leave a kind of legacy, in the add-on.

  97. Koko · 2009-04-10 21:29 · #

    I am sincerely sorry to hear this sad news. Thanks to Rick my general internet browsing experience has reached new heights, and I thank him for all his work put into this project. R.I.P. Rick.

  98. blackca · 2009-04-11 07:33 · #


    Thanks a lot. from a little Taiwan user.

  99. Sid · 2009-04-11 21:17 · #

    RIP. Extremely sad. I can surely say he was a legend in my eyes. We loved his work out here in India. Deepest condolences to his family and friends. :(

  100. Vietnamese Comunity · 2009-04-12 08:08 · #

    Thank you for the contribution of the Internet community worldwide. Extremely mourn the loss of this, rest in heavens, Rick

  101. Thanh ( VN ) · 2009-04-12 17:15 · #

    Thank you for the contribution of the Internet community worldwide ! people will remember you forever !

  102. NightSad_VN · 2009-04-13 15:15 · #

    Rest in peace. Thank you for what you done for our community.

  103. Fad · 2009-04-13 19:35 · #

    What a shock & surprise to find this out today.

    His contributions to making AdBlock one of THE most necessary addons will be sorely missed.

    Very sad news indeed, condolences to all the family.

  104. Ricardo · 2009-04-13 20:26 · #

    In our electronic world we rarely know, in person, the people we tend to be comfortable with and secure that their knowledge is right on target. Rick was one of those people. Race, religion, nationality are unimportant. It is the character of the individual that stands out. Thanks Rick, for all the help you have given us.

  105. Matt Katz · 2009-04-13 21:27 · #

    Love, respect and condolences from the add-art crew. Easylist and Rick make the lives of millions of people just a little bit better.

  106. Fv. · 2009-04-14 17:09 · #

    My thankfulness and respect to what you have helped us. Your work is never as shining as Apple but improves our life no less than it. RIP.

  107. pcbase · 2009-04-15 09:11 · #

    Thanks u Rick and all Adblock plus team.

  108. Lee O. · 2009-04-16 00:01 · #

    I never knew who this man was, but I’m a bit sad, since this is the single best plug in for a browser EVER, and his filter list makes the web 100% more enjoyable. I’ve installed this plug in and filter countless times for friends, family, and customers. As long as EasyList exists, I’ll use it.

  109. Valerie Sonn · 2009-04-16 15:40 · #

    Rest in peace, Rick, and thank you for your service to the Internet community.

  110. Radomir Simić · 2009-04-16 16:37 · #

    Sad, sad news. Thank you, Rick, for all your hard work. May you rest in peace…

  111. GigaWatt · 2009-04-17 03:12 · #

    sdt… :(… i used his filter list for quite some time… rest in peace Rick

  112. RandomGuy · 2009-04-17 03:14 · #

    RIP Rick. Thank you for providing the whole world with the EasyList.

  113. gaixixon · 2009-04-17 07:00 · #

    My condolescence to Rick’s family.

  114. Anonymous · 2009-04-17 17:46 · #

    RIP Rick

    Thanks For your Hard Work

  115. webcrawler · 2009-04-17 20:00 · #

    so sad to hear that.Rest in Peace Rick.God Bless your family and loved ones.

  116. Waywardson · 2009-04-18 11:01 · #

    Thank you, Rick.

    If it weren’t for people like you, the very look and landscape of the Internet would be (and is) alienating to the rest of us.

    If it weren’t for people like you, we wouldn’t know the value of quiet little resistances that seemed tiny, worthless, or mundane at the time.

    If it weren’t for people like you, we wouldn’t have such a perfect tool with which to negotiate our own agency in an environment that is increasingly corporate both online and off.

    Fancy words, but you deserve it. And a funny story: I once said, “Imagine if they invented Adblock for real life?” To which my boyfriend replied, “No way. There would be riots in the streets. The government would take away from you.” I agreed: “It would be like “They Live”.”

    My condolences to your family; good night and godspeed, sir. And if you believe in such things, may an even better existence await you in the next life.

  117. MH · 2009-04-18 14:35 · #

    Thank you very much. We will miss you !

  118. Linda Rousay · 2009-04-20 05:39 · #

    It’s always sad to hear of the passing of someone who tried and succeeded in making life a little easier for someone else.

  119. istanbul · 2009-04-20 12:14 · #

    Rest in Peace,Rick
    Allah razı olsun..

  120. Annonnym · 2009-04-21 17:42 · #


  121. nhat hien · 2009-04-24 20:56 · #

    we ‘ll miss you!!!!!!!!!!

  122. Johannes · 2009-04-25 16:24 · #

    Rest In Peace.

    Thank you for all your work!

    Thanks to your work I can actually enjoy some sites which look like utter crap without adblock.

  123. Mudassar · 2009-04-27 04:31 · #

    I am also really very sad.
    Rest in Peace, Rick

  124. Sherry · 2009-04-27 13:28 · #

    I’m sad to hear that.. Thank you for the hard work. You made Internet surfing a much greater experience for all of us here.

  125. Randall Lind · 2009-04-28 10:26 · #

    I remember when I first started using Ad Blocker 3 years ago or so. I sign up for all subscriptions and Firefox ran slow. I posted on the forum and ask why.

    Rick laugh at me so I ask him what he recommended and like a good sells man he said his. Every since his lists are all I use and it has made surfing the web so much better.

    I will miss all of his help. I liked how if you found an ad popping up he always had it added to his filter soon after it was discover.

    I am glad to hear that his list will live on and me maintain.

  126. Hoa Truong · 2009-05-01 01:55 · #

    Rick you were a great man I pray your soul will rest in peace.

  127. Adblock Fan · 2009-05-03 10:00 · #

    He made our lives all a bit better. Thank you Rick.

  128. tumashu · 2009-05-05 06:51 · #


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