Izchak Miller was one of the founding members of the NetHack DevTeam. Back in 1986 when the NetHack program was still a chaotic mess, he started coordinating all the output of the various developers and thus the DevTeam became a real team.
Izchak passed away on April 1, 1994. His name will live on forever in NetHacking circles as a truly worthy hacker, as well as in the game itself, as the name of the shopkeeper who owns Izchak's lighting store in Minetown. Even extinctionists (players who, while attempting to win the game, also try to kill enough creatures so that no more can be generated) will not touch Izchak the shopkeeper out of respect.
From Mike Stephenson, part of the DevTeam:
The shopkeeper of the lighting shop in the town level of the gnomish mines is a tribute to Izchak Miller, a founding member of the NetHack development team and a personal friend of a large number of us. Izchak contributed greatly to the game, coding a large amount of the shopkeep logic (hence the nature of the tribute) as well as a good part of the alignment system, the prayer code and the rewrite of "hell" in the 3.1 release. Izchak was a professor of Philosophy, who taught at many respected institutions, including MIT and Stanford, and who also worked, for a period of time, at Xerox PARC. Izchak was the first "librarian" of the NetHack project, and was a founding member of the DevTeam, joining in 1986 while he was working at the University of Pennsylvania (hence our mailing list address). Until the 3.1.3 release, Izchak carefully kept all of the code synchronized and arbitrated disputes between members of
the development teams. Izchak Miller passed away at the age of 58, in the early morning hours of April 1, 1994 from complications due to cancer. We dedicate NetHack 3.2 in his memory.
"Hello, Beldar! Welcome to Izchak's lighting store. Will you please leave your pickaxe outside?"
q| | @ |..