Aaron Sumner

Bye bye, _why.

If you code Ruby, you probably know who why the lucky stiff is, and by now you've probably heard that _why has abruptly disappeared from the web–his prolific art/programming projects have all been deleted, just like that. John Resig has posted a nice "eulogy" to _why. I just have a couple of thoughts.


The first two Ruby-related titles I read were Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby and Agile Development with Rails (first edition). Say what you want about the former, but it was a refreshing change from pretty much every other software-related book ever. It encapsulated the whole "make programming fun again" ethos espoused by the Ruby community, and _why's focus on writing quality code made my near-clean break from PHP all but inevitable at that point. (For the most part, my PHP work now involves Moodle, WordPress, or one-page sites with just enough of a server-side requirement to make it worth my time. But that's neither here nor there.) In that regard–and I say this at the risk of public exaggeration–_why was a large part of what made Ruby what it is. On top of that, he wrote a ton of useful, educational frameworks and applications to help make the language and its community of developers more vibrant.

Anyway, my real point is this: There's speculation as to why _why did what he did, or if he was merely a hacking victim. Assuming it was of his own volition, which I think it was, then I tip my hat to him–no overtly public, profanity-laced name-callings; no "I'm taking my ball and going home"-style hissy fits. Class.

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