Attitudes

Does your attitude need adjusting?

"There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies."
- C A R Hoare, as quoted by Erik de Castro Lopo <erikd@zip.com.au>

"I don't trust a precompiled binary any farther than I can spit a rat."
- Erik Fichtner <emf@pls.com>

"I won't run software written by cowards."
- Adam Stiles <adam@priceengines.co.uk>, referring to software provided without source code

"FF1517 packages are for professional drivers only, on a closed course."
- Austin Lesea <austin.lesea@xilinx.com> in comp.arch.fpga

"Omit needless words."
- Strunk and White

"The cheapest, fastest and most reliable components of a computer system are those that aren't there."
- Gordon Bell, DEC laboratories, quoted by Jrn Engel <joern@wohnheim.fh-wedel.de>

"Programming today is the opposite of diamond mining. In diamond mining you dig up a lot of dirt to find a small bit of value. With programming you start with the value, the real intention, and bury it in a bunch of dirt."
- Charles Simonyi

"Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench."
- Gene Spafford Ph.D., Professor of Computer Sciences, Purdue University

"_Any_ increase in interface difficulty, in exchange for a benefit you do not understand, cannot perceive, or don't care about, is too much."
- John S. Novak, III

"The real romance is out ahead and yet to come. The computer revolution hasn't started yet. Don't be misled by the enormous flow of money into bad defacto standards for unsophisticated buyers using poor adaptations of incomplete ideas."
- Alan Kay, quoted by Donovan Rebbechi <elflord@panix2.panix.com>

"It's large amounts of well-organized ignorance that scares me."
- Cody Ann Michaels, quoted by Steve Thompson, Sysadmin, Malcontent

"A society without religion is like a crazed psychopath without a loaded .45"
- David Voth <DVoth@lightspan.com>

"See everything; overlook a great deal; correct a little."
- Pope John XXIII

"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."
- John Gilmore, quoted by Bjrn Borud <borud@guardian.no>

"Trying to make bits uncopyable is like trying to make water not wet."
- Bruce Schneier

"The Web is to graphic design as the fax machine is to literature."
- Decklin Foster <decklin@home.com>

"Modularity is not a hack."
- Dan Bernstein <djb@koobera.math.uic.edu>

"Troubleshooting is intrinsically a layering violation."
- Larry Doolittle <ldoolitt@recycle.lbl.gov>

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it."
- Brian W. Kernighan

"Computers are state machines. Threads are for people who can't program state machines."
- Alan Cox

"Computers are useless; they can only give you answers."
- Pablo Picasso

"Lies, damned lies and FPGA Gate Count."
- Uwe Bonnes

"VHDL was written by a bunch of software guys who knew nothing about designing hardware. We beat on it until you could do hardware with it. Verilog was written by a bunch of hardware guys who knew nothing about designing software. We beat on it until you could do software with it. Neither does the job they were originally intended to do, but they work."
- David Bishop

"My favorite programming language is a soldering iron."
- Steve Ciarcia

"Nothing screams 'poor workmanship' like wrinkles in the duct tape."
- Doug Taylor-Munro (tangomike)

"An Interface is what gets in between you and what you want to do."
- Carl Havermiste

"Have you ever worked until late at night, put the resulting alpha software in a public location, and then read a bug report and suggested fix from halfway around the world using the bedside laptop the next morning? I have."
- Donald J. Becker <becker@super.org> in November, 1993

"Just because the code is intended to cause flaming death is no reason to get sloppy and leave off the casts."
- Tim Smith <tzs@halcyon.com>, regarding sample (F0 0F C7 C8) Pentium Death code on comp.os.linux.advocacy

"Note that if I can get you to 'su and say' something just by asking, you have a very serious security problem on your system and you should look into it."
- Paul Vixie <paul@vix.com>, in the vixie-cron 3.0.1 installation notes

"DES itself is now 'DED'. It is 'kid sister' code. It has 'X'es for eyeballs. It is defunct. It is an ex-protocol."
- Robert Hettinga <rah@shipwright.com>, in July 20, 1998 letter explaining that it costs $684.93 to break one DES key.

"...very few phenomena can pull someone out of Deep Hack Mode, with two noted exceptions: being struck by lightning, or worse, your *computer* being struck by lightning."
- Matt Welsh

"A mouse is a device to point at the xterm you want to type in."
- Andrew V. Kovalev in alt.sysadmin.recovery

"Well, let's just say, 'if your VCR is still blinking 12:00, you don't want Linux.'"
- Bruce Perens

"The sticker on the side of the box said 'Supported Platforms: Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0, or better', so clearly Linux was a supported platform."
- Nathan Hand <nathan.hand@anu.edu.au>

"Would you buy a car with the hood welded shut? Debian/GNU Linux ... the maintainable operating system."
- Tim Thomson <tim.thomson@usa.net>

"Right now some people are just running around in circles and claiming that moving things to the kernel automatically makes it more stable. I'm telling you that the kernel is stable not because it's a kernel, but because I refuse to listen to arguments like this."
- Linus Torvalds

"I don't know what you would do for MSDOS other than boot Linux."
- Russ Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>

"All I'm saying is this: 'Great, you're a new pilot, and you want to fly. Fine. We've got a Cessna 127 here, and an F16. You know, I think you ought to start with the Cessna.'"
- Bryan Pfaffenberger <bp@virginia.edu>, explaining why he wants companies to create "Linux Lite" products targeted for newcomers

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
- Lazarus Long, in Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein

"How do you power off this machine?"
- Linus Torvalds, when upgrading linux.cs.helsinki.fi, and after using the machine for several months

"Windows [is] an ancient American word meaning 'I can't configure Ubuntu'."
- K.S. Kyosuke

Also see a similar collection of quotes from Eric Smith.


Larry Doolittle