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Goodbye Joe

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Joe Armstrong is mainly known as the father of Erlang, and the Erlang family has always been relatively small and closely knit. Anyone whose first Erlang conference (usually Erlang Factory, Erlang User Conference, or CodeBEAM) had Joe in the attendance would have a similar reaction. There was a feeling of awe about how accessible the community was. Here you were, and big names like Joe and Robert—who everyone knew by their first names—were right around the same room, friendly, and willing to talk to anybody. You'd feel like you were welcome no matter who you were.

Today, we've learned of Joe's passing away. I wasn't a super close friend of Joe, but I have known him and talked with him at various conferences over the last ten years or so. He's unsurprisingly been a huge influence in my career, and so I thought I should write this little post about him and his impact. My words can't give justice to the man he was, but I felt I needed to write this up.

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Remembering Joe

  • Remembering Joe, a Quarter of a Century of Inspiration and Friendship

    I first came across the name Joe Armstrong in 1994, when I bought the first edition of Concurrent Programming in Erlang, a book he co-authored. Our first interaction happened in 1995, when I was looking for a company interested in sponsoring my Master’s thesis. I dialled the number for Ellemtel Utvecklings AB, home of the Ericsson computer science laboratory, asking to be connected to Joe Armstrong. Getting a Hello, my unprepared opening line was Skall jag ta det på Engelska, or would you prefer if I took it in Swedish? A silent pause was followed by laughter, the same laughter many of us have come to associate with Joe.

A Life of Learning | Coder Radio 354

  • A Life of Learning | Coder Radio 354

    We celebrate the life of Erlang author Dr Joe Armstrong by remembering his many contributions to computer science and unique approach to lifelong learning.

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