bram moolenaar's work

This morning, I saw the sad news that Bram Moolenaar passed away yesterday. I never knew Bram personally, but I knew his work. Vim, the text editor he created and maintained, has been woven into the fabric of my life for nearly two decades.

Bram released the first version of vim in 1991 and worked on it continuously ever since. Thousands and thousands of commits, features, bugfixes. His last change was dated July 8th 2023, less than a month before his death.

In UNIX: A History and a Memoir, Brian Kernighan observed, “It’s instructive to examine the languages that programmers use every day and see how often they were originally the work of one or two people”. Vim is like that too. The first page of the vim documentation states, “Most of Vim was made by Bram Moolenaar, but only through the help of many others.” Of course, vim has an active community of users, plugin writers, and contributors. But the project as a whole has always been shaped by Bram, and it’s difficult to imagine how vim could have become so unique, ubiquitous, and loved without him.