_why was not just famous within the Ruby community, but one of its creators. He had contributed thousands of lines of code to Ruby’s open-source libraries. He wrote one of the most famous guides to Ruby
It would not run. It took me more than an hour to figure out I had left in an extra space in my code, preventing the whole thing from working right. But then, after some 98 minutes and some serious Googling, a three showed up in my Terminal shell. I had written a program.
In late 2009, _why’s disappearance played out in real time on the Internet, as Rubyists noticed his projects had stopped loading and relayed the news on popular forums. It was not just one site or server, they fast realized. _why, his blog, his Twitter feed, and all of his open-source code had disappeared from the Internet, and all at once. The term of art is “infosuicide,” a rare but hardly unheard-of occurrence.
“High-level” languages like Ruby and Python have become particularly popular for producing Web applications, compared with “low-level” languages like C, Rossum explained. “Let’s say I am giving directions for how to leave this room,” he says, gesturing to the white-walled, white-boarded Google office around him, visible in our Google+ hangout, a kind of video chat. “In Python, I would just say something like, ‘Get up and go through the door.’ In other languages, I might have to say something like, ‘Stand up, but not with so much force that you fall over, take three step[…]
Eventually, I got to a receptionist. Yes, he works there, she said. No, she would not give me his direct line, or patch me through. I could send an email to her, and she would forward to him. Finally, late in my reporting, I got word back-channeled to me from another Salt Lake City programmer: Jonathan is _why, he is fine, and he just wants to be left alone.
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