Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Dan Weinreb passed away (xconomy.com)
258 points by pyb on Sept 7, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments

A couple years ago, I passed a very pleasurable hour in front of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles when the man behind me in line noticed the database book I was reading, and struck up a conversation. Glad I had the luck to rub elbows with one of the Lisp old school. RIP.

Interesting, didn't know that. I used to hack on the Symbolics and recall using Statice a neat OO db he did.

He was a HN user too:


Will the black bar come out?

Dan was awesome. A few years ago, when I was an undergrad trying to raise money for my first startup in Boston, he was a huge help. Took the time to grab a couple meals with me and explain how things worked, introduced me to angels, and was really insightful. He had no expectation of anything in return - just gave freely of his time and experience.

I wish I had kept in better touch with him. He will be missed.

About a year and a half ago I commented on a blog post he has made (it was a rather minor point in regards to consistency in distributed databases, I think). Dan replied to me via email with a follow up question and we had some correspondence about distributed systems, databases, and (naturally) Lisp. He ended up helping me edit a rough draft of a blog post, which ended up being very well received.

Several things struck me. First, expertise went across many disciplines of CS (from programming languages, to hardware, to databases) and beyond. He could have easily had fame as "Lisp guy", or "object oriented databases guy", or "CPU design guy" but he went above and beyond.

Finally, despite his repute, not only was he approachable (as evidenced by many stories here of folks carrying on correspondence with Dan), but he was curious and interested in learning from others, e.g., he noticed I listed OCaml on my LinkedIn profile and asked a question related to an article Erik Meijer's wrote about Linq and F#.

He will be sorely missed.

The wikipedia edit doesn't cite any sources, but I've heard it from his coworkers at ITA and from https://twitter.com/CommonAngels/status/244137900336361472

Very sad to hear it. I really enjoyed hearing Dan's stories from his early days at MIT and his renewed interest in Common Lisp in the past few years was great.

He had a great Google Tech Talk on YouTube/Google Video a few years ago about ITA, but sadly it was taken down for some reason.

Here's a link to a note Dan wrote about the video being marked "private", as well as a link to some notes about the talk.


I met Dan at a coffee meetup in Cambridge several years back. He was considerate, erudite and unfailingly interesting and excitable.

I wish I gotten to spend more time with him.

I'd love to see his google tech talk. Perhaps, in memory of Dan, google can go through the video and redact any portions they feel are not suitable for public release. Then, repost it to YT.

Is anybody aware of a link to the video that works. After searching for a bit, it seems that every page I visited points the video back to YT. Surely, somebody made a copy of it somewhere???

RIP Dan.

Sounds like an idea for a petition

A shock, to me, as I had no idea he had cancer. And very sad indeed. I didn't know him well, but I was a Zmacs user from the early days. (I still miss Zmacs in some ways.)

Dan was a great hacker.

Dan was a super guy and a good friend. Incredibly smart, incredibly experienced, well respected and wonderfully nice to be around.

It's incredibly sad and a big loss for the technology world, but let's not forget to direct our thoughts to his wife and son that he leaves behind.

I met him a couple of times at Boston Lisp meetings.

Awesome guy. Very low key. Consider me officially bummed.

Why do so many great people pass away so young, and evil people like Dick Cheney live till old age even though they have 100 heart attacks?

Dick Cheney has phylacteries (Horcruxes).

I didn't know him and never heard of him but it sounds like world is a bit worse off without him. Too young. RIP fellow Geek.

fuck cancer

I'm very interested if we'll hear anything from rms' side about this.

That really sucks :( RIP man.

I met him @ International Lisp Conference in 2009 and within 10-15 odd minutes of our chat, he taught me so much about airline reservation system (& common lisp) that it will be safe to say that Industry has lost a gem of a person and top notch computer scientist. RIP Sir, you will be missed.

That is sad to hear!

For what it's worth, I had a question I keep on thinking to ask him, but for whatever reason never got around to it. One should settle such questions. Would have loved the memory of his answer.

Would you like to share the question with HN?

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact