Notable people who use Emacs

Shamelessly stolen off comp.emacs. You can see it at

– Richard Stallman (founder of Free Software Foundation) is an Emacs
user. Hint: He is the original author of Emacs, after all. :-)

– Yukihiro Matsumoto (creator of the Ruby programming language) is an
Emacs user. Hint: He said so in a post to ruby-talk mailing list.
Quote from
“I wrote ruby-mode.el; I live in Emacs; I program in Emacs; I debug in
Emacs; I read mails in Emacs; I wrote MUA for Emacs.”

– Jeremy Zawodny (author of “High Performance MySQL”) is an Emacs
user. Hint: He wrote Emacs Beginners’ Howto

– Andrew S. Tanenbaum used elle. It is some clone of emacs. Then

he moved to emacs. He said so in his homepage. “Which editor do you use
for producing books? I used to use elle, a stripped down emacs
clone, but I finally decided to take the plunge and move up to
full emacs.”

– James Gosling, father of Java, currently CTO at Sun’s Developer
Products Group, uses Emacs. Hint: He wrote a C-based Emacs
implementation in 1981 (the code portions of which became GNU
Emacs). … Uh, no. He was one of the reasons that the GPL and
copyright assignments were invented. His code had to be removed
from Emacs and substantial portions rewritten by Stallman,
because he refused to let his stuff get distributed by the FSF.

– Jamie Zawinski, one of the main coders for Netscape Navigator
and one the founders of the Mozilla Foundation, uses Emacs. Hint:
He wrote Lucid Emacs. There’s an Emacs timeline document on his
website, … So you can bet your sweet ***
that he is not using Emacs, but rather XEmacs (which is the
successor of Lucid Emacs).

– Guy Steele. Co-inventor of Scheme, author of “Common Lisp the

Language”, co-author of the Java language specification, first
person to port TeX, served on the standards commitees for C,
Fortran, Common Lisp and Scheme. And finally designer of the
original Emacs command set.

– John McCarthy. Inventor of Lisp, one of the founders of AI

research. (proof:

– SF writer Neil Stephenson uses Emacs for some of his books “I use emacs, which
might be thought of as a thermonuclear word processor.”

– Donald Erwin Knuth (creator of TeX) is an Emacs user. Hint: See that
Fvwm2-config and its screenshot.

– Eric “ESR” Steven Raymond is an Emacs user. Hints: Author of “Learning

GNU Emacs”. See also this:

Notable people who don’t use Emacs

– Larry Wall (creator of Perl) is NOT an Emacs user. Hint: His geek
code for Emacs ( decodes as: “I
refuse to categorize myself on Emacs. Emacs? I don’t even know what
that is…”

– Tim O’Reilly is NOT emacs user. He uses vi:

– W. Richard Stevens (RIP) was NOT Emacs user. He used vi. Hints:

– Paul Graham, author of several Lisp books, designer of Arc, founder
of Viaweb (which became Yahoo! Store), ironically uses vi and NOT
Emacs according to . More proofs needed.

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  • Jeremy LeJyBy

    David MacKay is using emacs. (See his interview

    I don’t know if you would count him as famous: he teaches physics, invented the software Dasher (inspired by compression techniques of information theory), author of the book “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air”, and now Chief Science Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

    I assume you know him because you mentioned Dasher at some time?

  • Ooooh, I remember liking Dasher. =) I don’t know him personally, but that’s awesome!

  • wvxvw

    Martin Odersky (author of Scala programming language) is using Emacs, he said so in one of the talks he gave, which can be found on YouTube, but I don’t have a link at the moment.

    Benjamin Pierce, author of “Types and Programming Languages” – an influential book on type theory uses Emacs (well, the book was typeset in TeX, using org-babel, so I’d guess he knows a thing or two about it ;)