_why programming is not so thankless

The Ruby world got shaken quite a bit last week. _why the lucky stiff, one of the most famous and productive member of the Ruby community, online persona vanished. Days later, little is know about the reason he's gone.

Many people are angry about this but most miss him.

The weird thing in all of this, is that _why is not his real identity. It's just the identity someone use to publish his work. Even when giving talks, he never used his real identity. While I guess it is a bit bizarre to be a public figure and making so much effort to hide one's real identity, it does gave him the power to completely vanish. And by the effect this has on the net, this is pretty amazing.

Programming is rather thankless. you see your works become replaced by superior ones in a year. unable to run at all in a few more. - _why

Being a software developer, this quote from _why rings a bell. It is true that the work we do is often replaced or deprecated in a very short time. But this does not mean that it was worthless. On the contrary our work, if being replaced or deprecated, does survive in many ways. At worst, it gave an example on how not to do things. At best, it inspired others and gave them ideas  on how to do things better, on how to improve our art.

Maybe _why felt strongly about how fast some of his code was replaced or became obsolete. But what I see is that his code is still wanted. The sites and repository he maintained have disappeared, but  the Internet is very resilient and the community help his code and his contribution survive. Many care about his work and this is something that will never disappear.

Is programming rather thankless? I don't think so!

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