SGML: Memory of Yuri Rubinsky (1952-1996)

SGML: Memory of Yuri Rubinsky (1952-1996)

Newsgroups: comp.text.sgml
Path: msunews!!!!!!!torn!sq!gvb
From: (Gerry Bourguignon)
Subject: Yuri Rubinsky: Gone, But Not Forgotten
Message-ID: <>
Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, Canada
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 16:57:26 GMT
Lines: 49

I did not know Yuri Rubinsky very well or for very long.  I
first met him at SoftQuad's Vancouver office in August '94.
I was a bit surprised to see how someone who had accomplished
so much and commanded such respect took up so little space. 
Here in Toronto, I was fortunate enough to be leaving the
office at the same time as Yuri one evening and subsequently
rode the subway with him.  He promptly handed me draft Panorama
documentation to proof on the way while he mapped out yet more
of his ideas in his A4 notebook.  I then found myself sitting
across from Yuri at Swiss Chalet, a local restaurant chain 
known for its tasty, yet very affordable, chicken dishes.  I
felt as though I could have asked Yuri anything but put off
the temptation to ask him why he thought SGML was a good thing
(which, I feared, would be much like asking an evangelist if
Jesus loves you).  So, I simply let the conversation default to
the things at hand on that particular evening: dark as opposed
to light meat and, of course, Panorama.  Needless to say that
I can never again set foot in a Swiss Chalet without thinking 
of Yuri, but that, afterall, is not such a terribly bad thing.

Yuri's last post to SoftQuad's internal newsgroup reserved for
official company news and announcements seemed to portend,
strangely enough, what was to come.  The message, in which
Yuri outlined his plans for the next several weeks (involving,
for the most part, the completion of two books that were past
their deadline), was posted only a few days before his death.
The subject line: "Gone, But Not Forgotten (We Hope)".
Yuri is gone, but will certainly not be forgotten.  The work
he began will not end.  There is no Yuri end tag and this is
as it should be.  Yuri was an empty element.  This emptiness
has nothing to do with voidness or lack of anything whatsoever.
This emptiness is endless and boundless possibility that is
completely open to all points of view.  Yuri was a placeholder
and in the place he held anything could happen and, as we are
well aware, a great deal did.

Farewell Yuri.  To borrow his own closing words from his opening
remarks at SGML '94 (in which he paid tribute to the late Ian
Aldwinckle of SoftQuad): "May your spirit soar."


Gerry Bourguignon	"Thus shall you think of this fleeting world:
SoftQuad Inc.		 a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash
Toronto, ON, Canada.	 of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering	 lamp, a phantom, and a dream."   -Buddha