There was a time several years ago when the Ruby community was very vibrant and energetic, and in all that energy, just a little hostile to newcomers. There was a lot of hype about the best new testing methods with RSpec and this new thing called Cucumber, 100% paired programming all the time, 100% TDD, and 110% test coverage, fat-model, skinny-controller, decorators and service-based architectures, and on and on. These were all good things on the path to quality software as a community goal, but to a newcomer, it was overwhelming. It was the fanatical attitude and the all-too-common phrase, "you're doing it wrong."
I had already been doing Ruby for a couple years when all of this hype came to a peak. I remember pushing back over dinner table discussions with various speakers at conferences that this attitude was hurting the community. It was erecting a barrier to beginners. We were telling people they couldn't just build something that did something. They had to do it this way, using all these tools and methodologies. Unless you know and fully understand the purpose and constraints and context for what someone is building, how can you tell them they're doing it wrong? Where was the support for learning progressively? What happened to the joy of just building something? After all, this is where Ruby, as a language, shines!
I bring all this up, because I met Jim at one of the first Ruby conferences I had ever gone to around this time. Though I had been doing Ruby for a couple years, I was relatively new to the conference-going community, and so not part of the "in-crowd". I remember the highlight of that conference for me was talking with Jim.
He seemed not to care for the existence of any sort of clique while simultaneously being its unknowing leader. He was very approachable and friendly. But more importantly, he was a great listener and thinker. I remember talking with him about my views on TDD and pair-programming (at the time, the view that "it depends" was controversial), and how the hype was hurting the community. He was one of the few who gave it considerable thought, and after discussing it, even encouraged me to give a talk. As someone new to the conference and public developer community, and outside the speaker in-crowd, this was very encouraging.
I had been asking what happened to the joy of just building something in the community at that time, but I can honestly say, Jim never lost it.
Jim, you'll be missed.
What the hell is wrong with you? Is dignity obsolete?
Jim Weirich was a real gem. Friendly, approachable and chatty, he didn't have that aloofness so unfortunately common to some "personalities" in the ruby commmunity. In the last couple of years he had been interested in controlling drones with ruby, regularly posting articles on the Neo blog and speaking about it at conferences. It was my great pleasure to spend an hour or so with him in Singapore last year just chatting about drones, his argus control library, and applications present and future - he was a genuinely interested, interesting, friendly man with a fantastic, giving spirit.
He was one of the founding fathers of what I like to think of as the "real" ruby community and will be sorely missed.
On top of that, he was well known for his talks and ability to explain things.
A recommended read: an early statement on Ruby on the C2 Wiki (scroll down to "User stories")
Either someone else steps up to the plate and actively maintains the software, or something else will replace it. Source control makes it easier to revisit the past, but it doesn't ensure that the past will continue to stay current.
This talk is a must-see, really shows off Jim Weirich's craft and overall ability to be a great pedagogue.
Great talk. Greater man.
he was hacking as usual
He sang Ruby Coding High at that conference:
Thanks for helping us all get on a Ruby Coding High Jim, we'll miss you.
I would say it is appropriate for any of you who have had the pleasure of knowing Jim to add some information to his Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Weirich for those of us who didn't meet him.
A Hacker left us.
 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7271909