A facebook status update broke the news from a reddit submission about a tweet status update saying that someone named Erik Naggum died today.
Although, I never had heard that name before (or it never really had registered before), I was curious and started scouring the interwebs. Turns out that Mr. Naggum was a respected Common Lisp/Emacs hacker, a highly regarded usenet flamer, a Perl hater and a overall great geek.
Here’s some of his work, from wikiquote …
- Excuse me while I barf in Larry Wall’s general direction.
- A novice had a problem and could not find a solution. “I know,” said the novice, “I’ll just use Perl!” The novice now had two problems.
- This is your brain. This is Perl. This is your brain on Perl. Any questions?
- It’s not that Perl programmers are idiots, it’s that the language rewards idiotic behavior in a way that no other language or tool has ever done.
…and here is a succinct insight from Mr. Naggum, into the reasons why vim or emacs or the UNIX way in general still exists where other approaches have miserably failed:
the clumsiness of people who have to engage their brain at every step is unbearably painful to watch, at least to me, and that's what the novice-friendly software makes people do, because there's no elegance in them, it's just a mass of features to be learned by rote. however, this suits people a hell of a lot better than setting out at age 6 to become a great ballet dancer and achieving their goal 20 years later after every tendon and muscle and joint has been asked to perform just a little bit more than nature ever intended over and over and over again. to most people, this is insanity. but in reality, it's art, and it's the _art_ in what we do that makes us human.
We need more hackers like him !
Erik, i’ve never known you nor your work …I just read your words and yet …I share in the grief of the people who have.
RIP Erik Naggum (1965–2009)