xach wrote
on June 21st, 2009 at 07:47 am

RIP, Erik Naggum

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 knowledge.

I think a newcomer would benefit from reading two in particular:

Here are the rest, taken from my bookmarks:

Lisp

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

Misc

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

Tokenizing/parsing

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"

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