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.