Erik Naggum was the first person I killfiled in GNUS. His style was
sometimes shockingly blunt and aggressive. After a while, though, I
realized I was missing out, and I came to treasure the information and
insight in his messages.
I learned yesterday that Erik died. I'm sorry to hear it; I
occasionally contacted him to clarify or expand on some technical
matter he wrote about in the past, and he was always helpful. I
thought I would just be able to do that whenever I wanted, but now
it's too late.
His death has, not surprisingly, led some people to go through the
same initial experience I had, seeing some blunt and shocking language
and wondering why anyone would care about its author. Here are some
links that I hope show a small part of Erik's contributions to
I think a newcomer would benefit from reading two in particular:
Here are the rest, taken from my bookmarks:
Unix solutions vs. Lisp solutions for the same problems
A lengthy explanation of types as they relate to CL
How much use of CLOS?
Programming in Lisp, delivering in some other language
A cute read macro dispatch scheme
Lazy-loading with SLOT-UNBOUND
Using CHANGE-CLASS for object "deletion"
"Unix quality" vs "Lisp quality", with sockets as an example
"if you can't outperform C in CL, you're too good at C.
" (see the whole thread for details)
Alist vs. plist
What Lisp could take from C
Destructors, finalizers, weak pointers
Kitchen hygiene compared to Lisp hygiene
Design patterns for Lisp
An introduction, written just two months ago
The Long, Painful History of Time
The oil industry in Norway is really big
The "Norwegian Dream" (vs the American Dream) is to win the lottery
"most everything worth doing is associated with effort and some pain"
"Western culture is favorable to mediocre people and hostile to smart ones"
Core ideas behind SGML and XML
Feedback loops of lisp, reward, punishment, psychotic environments
"the market does not in fact lead anything or anywhere"
"Just let other people have their desires and needs. Do not let them affect yours."
The purpose of a newsgroup
"Which is the best car? How do you choose?"
"One general concept of the free exchange of information on the Net is that people are equals in principle and that their differences are the nothing more than accidents of time."
Learning new things
"How come people with the most misguided political ideas believe revolution is the answer and people with reasonable political ideas manage to succeed in slowly transforming their society to their liking? Please think about it."
"If you have to subordinate your defense of truth or what you believe in to who else believes it, I seriously suggest you rethink your value system."
A tribute to Yuri Rabinsky
Adapting emacs for rapid prose editing
"It is a really bad idea to believe that one can learn to get it right from doing it wrong many times."
The purpose of higher education
Erik's computer-oriented biography
Books in Erik's library
A bibop-style memory management scheme
"people seem unable to
get over the fact that they no longer want to use a language and just move on
to something better"