If that were the case my father in law would be world famous
It may have been a pretty weird blanket statement, but there may also have been a hidden context that makes it a reasonable statement.
There were many minor bits of analysis that he did to code, taking up challenges about performance, for example. I remember one example where he clearly spent hours on one performance claim, rewrote the proposed code within an inch of its life and gave an irrefutable argument about what the performance was.
His deep knowledge of SGML (I suspect deeper than all but a handful of folks) was a great source of insight on comp.text.sgml for what seems like a long time. His many rants about C++ were informative as well as confrontational. He told of working in C++ and generating very nice looking code, to the satisfaction of the client. He cheated a bit, however, as he used Lisp to generate the code.
There have always been reactions to his blunt, confrontational style. There are subjects, however, for which there are a right and a wrong. Erik wouldn't hesitate. Did not Richard Feynman reduce an ill-prepared presenter to tears with relentless questions?
Good teachers are not necessarily putting the student's feeling of self-worth first.
I lurked on comp.lang.lisp quite a lot in 1999-2002, and I made a point of reading Erik Naggum's posts on technical topics. Those posts made me feel that I learned something. When I had time, I sometimes read his non-technical posts, too, and most were pretty entertaining, as long as not taken too seriously.
He will be missed.
Yes, I get that. What I'm trying to understand is why. Is it really just the usenet postings, or did he do something else that I'm not aware of?
And to those intelligent people who sincerely disagreed with him, he may have looked like just another elitist troll contributing to the intolerant atmosphere that they might believe held back Lisp, but such is the nature of bias, on both sides.
Still I will miss him, his rants were often full of wisdom, and his critiques of mainstream software practices were spot on.
His eloquence and clarity of thought is something I can only aspire to.
Unfortunately there were many people _without_ good intentions who tried to engage him in dialogue. They got the blowtorch.
I really like his essay, "The Long, Painful History of Time":
See also local-time, a common lisp package based on his ideas:
Thanks Erik, I didn't know you, but you made my life happier for a whole minute :-D
update: Mod me down all you want, twitter fans. I'll be happy to tweet your deaths as well, if I can fit it in between what I had for breakfast and the funny thing my cat just did.
If twitter had been around, I would have posted there too.
Years on, I still get email from old friends of hers who found out via the page and want to chat about her to me.
I'd take it less well if he were in my family, but I'm sure they learned the news first.
This is a fine example of the nastiness I guess, but it kinda makes sense in a weird sorta way !
(" I am unable to keep my company in operation for health reasons, but it is one of those things I just cannot give up. Instead of being a commercial undertaking, it is now only a hobby. Until my health improves, which it might never do sufficiently" - http://naggum.no )
This doesn't make him justice, but his rant about XML is one of my favorite rants ever: http://harmful.cat-v.org/software/xml/s-exp_vs_XML
There's more discussion and some minimal confirmation on reddit:
Unlike most of the posters there, I'm glad he's gone. The world is a better place without him, and maybe now the Lisp community can begin to heal.
Of the posts of his I read, it seems that he would go that direction only when someone else already painted themselves the victim of emotional hurt from his earlier technical criticism.
You could argue he should've reacted differently to this self-victimization, but I worry what that would do to the signal-to-noise ratio of the forum in question. If people who require emotional coddling are encouraged to participate in technical forms, then a lot of the conversations focus on that rather than on technical point.
ESR was not entirely wrong when he stated you can pick exaggeratedly "friendly" or useful; Naggum's goal was to keep the forum firmly planted in the realm of useful, even if it meant offending some people along the way. I think there is some virtue in this. Of the posts of his I read, there were nuggets of very good wisdom in all of them.
Expressing glee at another person's death is pretty sick, but wanting an apology from people who downmodded you for it is just outright twisted. Seek help.
With regard to me "seeking help": were you consciously quoting Erik's post, or was that a matter of unconscious irony?
.. and now that he's gone, you have finally gotten up the courage to do some bullying of your own, to a man who can't fight back because he's... you know... dead?
Umm, yay you?
What's your next trick, clubbing some baby seals?
The fact is, people post crap on the interwebs every day. It is true the net is a series of tubes and unfortunately some of those tubes are sewage pipes. Deal with it.
When you die and some idiot troll posts a link to this thread and expresses glee that you're gone, hopefully someone will come along and call that asshole out, too.
I agree that Erik wrote a very violent mail, but I am sure he was not serious.
Did you read Xah Lee's mail too?
I see. The OP dared to send a private email to Erik. Do you think this "fault" justifies the response "I'm overjoyed that I actually hurt your feelings. I wish I could hurt your feelings so much you would commit suicide" etc. etc.?
* I agree that Erik wrote a very violent mail, but I am sure he was not serious. *
Huh? Please cite even one sentence from his mail that was in the least bit lighthearted or joking. If you sent this email to someone today, the police would be at your doorstep within hours.
* Did you read Xah Lee's mail too? *
Yes, he sounds like a psychopath.
There's no way a sane person can read that thread and come to the conclusion that Erik was the good guy there. I don't mean to jump on the bash Erik bandwagon, since I know nothing about him other than what's been written in this forum. Whatever his contributions were to the hacker community, that thread was obviously not his finest hour.
"will be building a dam, when there is a pussy flood. for i am a collector of nature, and a lover of its treasure. i will use my savings, to quench those thirsty, and lubricate those angry, for i have suffered and suffered; the pain and anguish." —Xah Lee, 2002.
The truth is, most of us are going to leave behind a mixed legacy. Some good, and some bad. Traditionally we try to remember the good at times like this.
If one of your friends or family members died tomorrow, would you want to come across a discussion dissecting that person's every last flaw, or blaming them for far-reaching problems?
Given that Naggum was such an online personality in the functional programming world, it's likely that some of his friends are among us right now. Surely we can refrain from statements that increase their pain.
Look, I get it. I concede your point that he said a lot of things that shouldn't have been said.
But you and kragen are basically being trolls now, and if you claim to be the ones who have some respect for empathy and civil discourse, you'll just zip it.
Moreover, the world needs these type of people on all sides to make sure the truth gets heard. Even if Mr. Naggum wasn't speaking the truth his opinion helped keep minds open to his side of things.
Honestly, as annoyed as I get at times by people like him I can also see how it's a noble pursuit. As much as people say they don't care what other's think just about everyone does to some extent. In that way it can't be an easy job to scream what you believe is the truth until people listen. So really people like Mr. Naggum are giving up a large piece of happiness to continue their devotion to what they believe is truth. That's admirable.
I'll quote briefly from what Erik wrote in http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.lisp/browse_thread/... , which someone linked to above:
I'm overjoyed that I actually hurt your feelings. I wish I could hurt
your feelings so much you would commit suicide. sadly, this has failed,
the only thing I regret is that I didn't see your fantastic stupidity as
a result of your shattered psychology -- it's fairly uncommon to be so
fucking retarded because of a psychological problem, but clearly, you
have been immensely stupid all your life, and now that I come and hurt
your stupid feelings, so you turn on me like a vicious and mad dog -- and
that's exactly what you are to me: a mad dog in need of a bullet through
his sick brain before he actually manages to hurt someone or himself.
do the world a huge favor and commit suicide tonight.
Just as I hear Paul Graham's name blasted frequently online, for a variety of reasons, I'm certain Naggum inspired as many people as he scared off. Never assume an internet personality is the whole story.
I'm certain Naggum inspired as many people as he scared off.
I realize you mean well, but this is glib. Erik Naggum, in his online capacity, was a consummate intellectual bully. (It's hard to imagine anything less true of PG than that.) You know how everyone talks about how dysfunctional the Lisp community is? Naggum did more than anyone else to poison it. Go read the archives of CLL and see for yourself how it starts out as a wellspring of intelligent and civil discourse and then decays under the influence of some smart, funny, nasty characters. The whole thing is a case study in the fragility of online communities.
As one longtime Lisper explained to me, Naggum was so smart and willing to put so much time into it that he became a torque on the whole thing. Most people who found his style obnoxious simply left, and for many (not all) who remained he became the local standard. People began to imitate him and it ultimately affected not only that group but the Lisp world as a whole. Many nice people have tried to repair the damage, but it may never happen: the niceness required to do so is orders of magnitude greater than the poison. It's like trying to clean up an oil spill.
Erik Naggum was obviously really smart and could be quite funny (I enjoyed that aspect of his writing), and for all I know he was a smashing great guy in person - but as far as the above-mentioned harm goes, those things made it worse, not better.
Edit: given that HN's defining quality is to foster intelligent and civil discourse in a way that doesn't get poisoned, your equivalence (and the place you posted it) are kind of ironic. But I know you weren't trying to make a huge point out of it.
If Erik was a 10 on the asshole/sociopath scale, you're running at about 8.5 right now.
But I can't see the man who said this advocating violence of any kind...
"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."
I've been unable to find any mention of using violence. But it is difficult to search for an answer.
You digust me. These types of remarks should be reserved for the lowest of the low, the dictators, the committers of genocide, the murderers, the rapists, etc.
Every person alive today is a little bit poorer because of the poor state of Lisp implementations, which can largely be attributed to Naggum's vicious dominance on comp.lang.lisp, and so for a long time Lisp lacked any kind of widely-used forum for technical discussion among sane people.
I think it's more accurate to say that programmers have been slowly accepting the ideas behind Lisp for fifty years: linked lists, recursion, dynamic typing, flexibly-sized data structures, conditional expressions, garbage collection, and a small core language with everything else in libraries were all present in (and central to!) 1959 Lisp, and very far from the mainstream in 1959. The main features of 1959 Lisp that have not been widely adopted are simple syntax and atoms. (Macros came later.)
For most of the time between then and now, new language features have tended to appear early on in Lisps and much later in more mainstream languages. Compare Python or Haskell list comprehensions with the Common Lisp LOOP macro, for example; or consider Loops/Flavors/CLOS.
I essentially don't use Lisp today because Lisp systems fell badly behind other languages in many ways: Python, Ruby, Lua, Objective-C, OCaml, and so forth are better options today. There's no mystery to why this is: people stopped working on Lisp systems. That was partly due to the AI winter, but it actually worsened in the 1990s. I don't know how much of that was because of Erik driving people away and how much was for other reasons.
It's times like these I wonder why pg put in a cap on downmodding someone.
You may disagree with someone for what they post online, but intolerance like that is uncalled for.
It is precisely because I think harshness of the sort Erik Naggum sometimes exhibited is generally harmful that I think your comments are objectionable and deserve every bit of downmodding they've received.