Developer community mourns Vim creator Bram Moolenaar’s loss.

Developer community mourns Vim creator Bram Moolenaar's loss.

Remembering Bram Moolenaar: The Creator of Vim

Bram Moolenaar

Developers worldwide are expressing their sorrow at the passing of Bram Moolenaar, the renowned Dutch software engineer and creator of the Vim text editor. On August 3, 2023, Moolenaar succumbed to a medical condition that rapidly progressed in the last few weeks, according to a statement issued by his family on the Vim-announce Google Group. The news has sent shockwaves through the developer community, as Moolenaar’s contribution to the world of computing has been immeasurable.

Vim: A Lifesaver for Developers

Vim, short for “Vi IMproved,” is a free and open-source, screen-based text editor that has played a pivotal role in numerous software developments since its release in 1991. It remains a monumental achievement in the realm of coding tools. Unlike other text editors, Vim follows a modal editing approach with both command-line and graphical user interface forms, making it a highly versatile and efficient platform for developers.

Vim Screenshot

Vim’s influence extends beyond the realm of Linux, where it reigns as the default editor in many distributions. It is available for Unix, macOS, OS/2, DOS, and Windows, attracting a diverse community of users and supporters. The lightweight and intuitive nature of Vim have made it a favorite among programmers, and its impact cannot be emphasized enough.

A Legend Remembered

As news of Moolenaar’s passing spread, tributes poured in from all corners of the globe. One Reddit user expressed profound gratitude for Vim’s speed and fluidity, which significantly contributed to their career progression. Another commenter described Vim as a legendary tool whose name resonates even beyond the Unix and open-source worlds.

Moolenaar not only revolutionized text editing software but also pioneered a community-driven and open-source approach to its development. He introduced the concept of “charityware,” where users are encouraged to donate to the International Child Care Fund Holland, benefiting children in Uganda. This unique approach exemplified Moolenaar’s benevolence and selflessness, as he consistently prioritized the greater good over personal gain.

Vim Logo

In a previous interview, Moolenaar humbly shared, “I have never wanted to make money from Vim. It started as a hobby, and most of the time I had a job that paid well enough.” This mindset epitomizes his dedication to delivering exceptional software without any commercial motives.

According to reports, donations to the International Child Care Fund Holland amount to around €30,000 per year, enabling approximately 50 children to complete their education from primary school to university. Moolenaar, who was based in the Netherlands, dedicated a significant portion of his life to the creation, maintenance, and continuous improvement of Vim.

A Legacy that Lives On

While the last full version of Vim, 9.0, was released over a year ago, Moolenaar was actively working on updates to the tool until a month ago. His dedication and passion for empowering developers were unparalleled. Additionally, Moolenaar’s influence extended beyond Vim. Throughout his career, he contributed to various projects, including A-A-P, a system for distributed software development, and Zimbu, a programming language. His most recent endeavor involved modernizing the Merchant Center at Google.

Vim Users

Although Moolenaar has left this world, his legacy and Vim continue to empower and inspire developers worldwide. The impact of his creations and his open-source philosophy will endure, leaving an indelible mark on the technology industry. The loss of Bram Moolenaar is deeply felt by the global developer community, but he will always be remembered as the visionary behind one of the most iconic and influential text editors of all time.