You are here

Mats Bengtsson 1959 - 2008

Mats Bengtsson in Sweden

Mats Bengtsson, the founder of Coccinella, passed away on November 29, 2008. He was born in 1959 and had a very successful career in academics and specifically in his field of interest, theoretical physics. Early in school he distinguished himself particularly in mathematics and he even produced his own math books in primary school when his teachers were not able to help him further on. He graduated at Lund university as an engineer, continued as a research student in theoretical physics and presented his doctoral thesis, ”Parton showers in a phenomenological context”, at the age of 28 years. He spent a post-doc period in Germany (Aachen), but previously he had also been at the Cern laboratory.

After his exams he started to work at ABB for a short period of time, before he ended up in Linköping where he received a research position at FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency. In Linköping he and his partner Mari stayed for quite a few years. During his entire life Mats had several hobbies such as gliding and model railroading. Unfortunately, Mats was struck by a chronic condition during the last 15 years of his life, but was able to work hard in periods on his special project, the Coccinella program which is an interactive communicative Internet program. He initiated and developed this computer program and released it as open-source on the Net so others may contribute to the program’s development and refinement over time. Hopefully Coccinella will remain and be continuously upgraded in Mats’ spirit and visions.

By Mari Lundberg, Mats girlfriend

Coccinella 0.96.12 *will* be released on March 18, 2009. However, this release will not introduce many changes because Mats was the driving force of the Coccinella project. Therefore, I will blog over the next few months about interesting projects and challenging features that Mats had on his TODO list. Hopefully, this will interest you to build further on the shoulders of a giant!


My sincere condolences to the family and friends.
I did not met Mats, only a few mails links us, but he was a so nice person. Always answering nicely even to my most idiot mails about problems in Coccinella.
I'm still planning to use Coccinella in a open-source, free licenced gaming project, I hope à will succeed, I'm close to the beta release but waiting for an important improvement un Coccinella. Without Mats's work, this project did not exist. The first release will be dedicated to Mats.


Although my first contact with Mats was about 5 years ago - I had not any idea about his sickness. :(

I consider Mat's works as inspiring masterpieces. His spirit will lead us.


I have visited this webpage a few times in last three weeks, but I had not seen the bad new until now.
I'm really shocked and sad, he looked to be a great person.

I was very depressed when I this morning surfed the Internet and found this page at the Coccinella site. Nowadays I seldom look around the Tcl world, but actually I was the one who once introduced Mats to Tcl/Tk and lent him my Ousterhoot book. I used to be work-mate to Mats at FOI, in fact I write these lines from my office next door to his old office. This was at a time when he already for some time had had severe pain and strain from his neck, and no doctor was able to help. His research in mathematics and physics was extremely theoretical and demanding. So he turned into programming, which till then was merely a secondary concern to him.

I must admit that I was skeptic when he talked of his idea of shared and distributed whiteboards. That could not possibly be carried out by a single starting programmer. But it could. And that can only be explained by Mats’ extraordinary brilliance.

Now my thoughts and sympathies go to Mats’ life companion Marie and other family.

/Alf Bengtsson

I'm sorry to hear of Mats passing....

I first came to Mats about 5-6 years ago (not sure of timeline) when I was looking for a decent Jabber IM machine. I liked his Coccinella and used it, but needed a Socks 4 setup for Simp Lite. Mats was able to bump up his TODO and get the proxy setup in no time! I remember us talking about the weather and also other things such as his moving to another house.

He will be missed........