Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Programming Quotes

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.
Donald Knuth, 1977

It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to Basic; as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.
Edsger W. Dijkstra, 1982

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.
Bill Gates

Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random numbers is, of course, in a state of sin.
John von Neumann, 1951

Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.
Stan Kelly-Bootle


  1. My personal fave:

    "We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil."

    Donald Knuth

  2. At first I hoped that such a technically unsound project would collapse but I soon realized it was doomed to success. Almost anything in software can be implemented, sold, and even used given enough determination. There is nothing a mere scientist can say that will stand against the flood of a hundred million dollars. But there is one quality that cannot be purchased in this way — and that is reliability. The price of reliability is the pursuit of the utmost simplicity. It is a price which the very rich find most hard to pay.

    CAR Hoare

  3. Greenspun's Tenth Rule of Programming states:

    Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of Common Lisp.

  4. "To get anywhere, or even to live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer."
    - Robert Anson Heinlein

    "Never express yourself more clearly than you think."
    - Niels Bohr

  5. "Syntactic sugar leads to cancer of the semi-colon." Alan Perlis.

  6. The sooner you start programming the longer it will take to finish.

  7. Inside every big program is a small program struggling to get out.

  8. Computer science has as much to do with computers as astronomy has to do with telescopes.

  9. As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn't as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs.

    Expert C Programming by Peter Van der Linden

  10. Debugging is twice as hard as programming. So if you write code as cleverly as you can, you are per definition not smart enough to debug it.

    -- Dont remember the correct wording or the author

  11. If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization. (Unknown source)