Steve Yegge on XEmacs

This post by Steve Yegge surely has to be one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read:

  1. It’s technical without being undecipherable
  2. It’s got enough humor and irony to keep me smiling
  3. It’s opinionated, but in the neutral sense of the term. You might also say “he has a thesis”.
  4. It’s informative
  5. It’s well-researched
  6. It’s respectful
  7. It makes me want to learn more


Emacs is a revolutionary, almost indescribably QWAN-infused software system. Non-Emacs users and casual users simply can’t appreciate how rich and rewarding it is, because they have nothing else to compare it to. There are other scriptable applications and systems out there — AppleScript, Firefox, things like that. They’re fun and useful. But Emacs is self-hosting: writing things in it makes the environment itself more powerful. It’s a feedback loop: a recursive, self-reinforcing, multiplicative effect that happens because you’re enhancing the environment you’re using to create enhancements.

I’m trying to dig through my memories of Steve Yegge and damned if I don’t recall writing him off a while ago for being a self-important idiot. This blog post has convinced me to give him another try.


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