Erik Naggum

IRL Name: 
Erik Naggum

Erik Naggum was a Norwegian computer programmer recognized for his work in the fields of SGML, Emacs and Lisp. Since the early 1990s he was also a provocative participant on various Usenet discussion groups. He contributed many patches to GNU Emacs from version 19.26 to 20.4. A fan of Common Lisp, he took Emacs Lisp in the direction of Common Lisp. He contributed early support for multiple character sets. He quit over the introduction of MULE to GNU Emacs and for a while maintained a “multi-byte survival kit” for Emacs 20 users who wanted Emacs 19 character set behaviour.

He made significant contributions to RFC 1123, which defines and discusses the requirements for Internet host software, and RFC 2049, which defines electronic information transfer of various binary formats through e-mail.

His premature death was caused by a massive bleeding ulcer, related to ulcerative colitis, which he was diagnosed with about 15 years before his death.


A Usenet flame warrior and a veteran of countless flame wars on comp.emacs and comp.lang.lisp.

He hated Perl with a passion, and considered Perl to be a problem, not a problem solver.

He disliked C++, though not as much as he hated Perl, but he generally thought that C++ was too difficult to understand to such a degree that only about 5 people on the planet truly understood it and hence was of little value for humanity.