Famous Emacs Users (that are not famous for using Emacs)

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I don’t think using Emacs could make a better programmer, nor do I think that having a couple of relatively famous middle or old aged people using (or previously using) Emacs could prove that Emacs has some unique power.

However, when I started, there were a few Emacs users that I have high respect for, which is one of the reasons that made me continue to play with Emacs. Here I have created a list of famous Emacs users and hope it will (mis)guide newbies.

This list will be updated occasionally (the latest updates will be on the top) and revision is highly welcomed.

Rich Hickey – the creator of Clojure


Jonathan Blow – the author of game Braid

Note: this picture is from gamefans.com

  • Jonathan Blow has a few series of living coding, where he used Emacs for programming.

Wang Yong – ex CTO of Deepin Linux

Note: this picture is from deepin.org

  • Wang Yong is the author of many widely adopted Emacs addons, see his EmacsWiki page for details

Marijn Haverbeke – the author of Eloquent JavaScript and CodeMirror

Note: this picture is from full-frontal.org

Jeffrey Friedl – the author of Mastering Regular Expressions

Note: this picture is from www.lightroomsecrets.com

Michael Widenius – the author of MySQL and MariaDB

Note: this picture is from www.computerweekly.com

Joe Armstrong – the creator of Erlang

Note: this picture is from www.computerworld.com.au

  • In The Setup, Joe mentioned: “I write books using XML markup in emacs (nxml mode)” and “I write code in Emacs”
  • His page on Wikipedia
  • Thanks to 周冲zxc for providing this information.

Amelia Andersdotter – Politician

Note: this picture is from Wikipedia

Steven Brust – the author of Vlad Taltos

Note: this picture is from allaboutcorwin.com

Vernor Vinge – the author of True Names and A Fire Upon the Deep, Hugo Award winner

Note: this picture is from www.quotezuki.com

Whitfield Diffie – security expert (Diffie-Hellman key exchange)

Note: this picture is from Wikipedia

  • jf on Hacker News mentioned: “Whitfield Diffie is also an Emacs user. I once sat behind him at an awards ceremony and was able to observe him hacking on Emacs lisp during the event.”
  • His page on Wikipedia
  • Note: I couldn’t find any direct evidence to prove that Diffie is an Emacs user

Marc Andreessen – the creator of the Mosaic browser and the founder of Netscape

Note this picture is from www.forbes.com, Marc obviously had more hair when he was younger

Richard Gabriel – the author of Worse is Better

Note: this picture is from www.dreamsongs.com

  • Gabriel is the founder of Lucid Emacs, see his WikiPage for more details.

Guy Steele – coauthored Scheme with Gerald Jay Sussman

Note: this picture is from thestrangeloop.com

Peter Norvig – the author of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach

Note: this picture is from www.inside.com.tw

  • In this Q&A, Norvig mentioned: “I dislike all three major OS – Windows, Mac, Linux. I like Python and Lisp. Emacs.”
  • His page on Wikipedia
  • Thanks to TheWaWaR for providing information

Jamie Zawinski – an important programmer of the Mozilla project team

Note: this picture is from www.quotezuki.com

Daniel Weinreb – cofounder of Symbolics

Note: this picture is from Twitter

Julian Assange – the founder of WikiLeaks

Note: this picture is from Wikipedia

Martin Fowler – coauthor of Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code

Note: this picture is from martinfowler.com

  • In an article on his blog Internal Reprogrammability, Martin mentioned that he is an Emacs user
  • His page on Wikipedia
  • Thanks to RomeaWong for providing information

Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook founder

Note: this picture is from Wikipedia

  • In the movie Social Network, Mark’s actor was editing PHP and Perl in Emacs, for example:
    Note: this picture is from Quora
  • In one of Mark’s early blogs, he mentioned “it’s definitely necessary to break out emacs and modify that perl script”, this line was also used in the movie’s script.
  • His page on Wikipedia

Yukihiro Matsumoto – the creator of Ruby

Note: this picture is from www.techcn.com.cn/index.php?doc-view-131413.html

Guido van Rossum – the creator of Python

Note: this picture is from Wikipedia

?Linus Torvalds? – the creator of Linux and Git

Note: this picture is from www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/06/torvalds-nvidia-linux/

Donald Knuth – the creator of TeX and the author of TAOCP, Turing Award winner

Note: this picture is from Wikipedia

Eric Raymond – the author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar and How to become a hacker

Note: this picture is from Wikipedia

Richard Stallman – the creator of GNU Emacs, the founder of GNU

Note: this picture is from www.zeuux.com/group/richardstallman/photo/content/5820

Note: English is not my first language, so please feel free to point out any mistakes you might find.

37 thoughts on “Famous Emacs Users (that are not famous for using Emacs)

  1. K G

    A couple more emacs users – Martin Odersky [static-typing fanatic, JVM geek], Rich Hickey [created/designed Clojure].

    On a related note –
    What was Sun Microsystem during Java’s early days :
    Guy Steele, James Gosling, Bill Joy [created vi] — all were part of Java Language spec.
    Did they trash-talk about emacs/vi?

  2. Wenshan Post author

    😀 I think he could be quite “famous” for his work on Mozilla solely.

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  8. M. Edward Borasky (@znmeb)

    Long ago, I wanted to switch from some bizarre Dec VAX editor to Emacs. I typed “emacs” at the command prompt and got a message that it wasn’t installed.

    I went to the system administrator and asked him to install Emacs. He told me they had to remove it because it was a memory hog and that I should use ‘vi’ instead. So I never learned Emacs and I’m a vi(m) user to this day. But then, I’m not famous. 😉

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  10. notip

    No women, black people, etc. Welcome to yet another great white silicon valley circlejerk

  11. Jisang Yoo

    Also, Amelia Andersdotter, a politician

    One paragraph from http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/pirate-party-andersdotter :

    ( When Andersdotter was young, she became familiar with open source technology because she wanted to be a mathematician and to learn the TeX typesetting system. “A friend who was much older than me told me that I would need Emacs to write TeX,” she explains. “I didn’t know that it wasn’t true, so I learned how to use Emacs. It’s almost 10 years later now, and I’m not a mathematician nor am I particularly good with TeX, but I do still use Emacs and org-mode.” )

  12. yannanth

    Linus hates GNU Emacs, not all Emacsen… otherwise, why would he maintain his own fork of the venerable editor? 😛

    To the author: ‘uemacs’ is actually ‘microemacs’ (from the Greek letter μ, or mu, which looks a lot like ‘u’), which has a long history (Torvalds didn’t write it).