a.k.a. Your Slice of Geek Culture


Collected from various sources; Internet, Fidonet, tagline files, etc...



progasm: the feeling you get when your code works the first time


Abandon all hope, ye who press ENTER here.


All programmers are optimists. Perhaps this modern sorcery especially attracts those who believe in happy endings and fairy godmothers. Perhaps the hundreds of nitty frustrations drive away all but those who habitually focus on the end goal. Perhaps it is merely that computers are young, programmers are younger, and the young are always optimists. But however the selection process works, the result is indisputable:
"This time it will surely run," or "I just found the last bug."
Frederick Brooks, Jr., The Mythical Man Month


Any given program, when running correctly, is obsolete.


"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked."
John Gall, Systemantics


"A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking."


"A slower system is better than an incorrect one."
Mark Diekhans (


"And remember, rebooting your brain can be tricky."
Eric Townsend (erict@flatline)


"As a rule software systems do not work well until they have been used, and have failed repeatedly, in real applications."
Dave Parnas, Communications of the ACM (33, 6 June 1990 p.636)


" of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs."
Robert Firth


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.
Andy Finkel


Bradley's Bromide:
If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee...
that will do them in.


By doing just a little every day, I can gradually let the task completely overwhelm me.
Ashleigh Brilliant


"Beware of programmers carrying screwdrivers."
Chip Salzenberg


Calm down -- it's only ones and zeros.


Computers are the most fun you can have with anything that isn't breathing.
Bruce Walker, CACM Forum


"Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy."
Joseph Campbell


"Debugging is anticipated with distaste, performed with reluctance, and bragged about forever."
Button at the Boston Computer Museum


Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.
G.K. Chesterton


Don't hit the keys so hard, it hurts.


First learn computer science and all the theory. Next develop a programming style. Then forget all that and just hack.
George Carrette (1990)


For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong.
H. L. Mencken


"How's YOUR Endless Project coming?"
Mark Diekhans


Everything takes longer and costs more than expected, even when taking into account Hofstadter's Law.


"...and it's finished! It only has to be written."
Karl Lehenbauer


How does a project get to be a year late? ... One day at a time.
Frederick Brooks, Jr., The Mythical Man Month


How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
One, but you can never change it back again.


I really hate this damn machine,
I wish that they would sell it.
It never does just what I want,
But only what I tell it.


"I do not fear computers... I fear the lack of them."
Isaac Asimov


"I think there's a world market for about 5 computers."
Thomas J. Watson, Chairman of the Board, IBM (circa 1948)


"If a machine can be made so that an idiot can use it, then only an idiot will use it."
Tadao Ichikawa


"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong."
Norm Schryer


"If you don't make money off of it, it had better be either a religious experience or a hobby."
Lance Cooper


"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight."
attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory


"If your computer doesn't multitask, it ain't sh*t."
Cal Keegan


"Ignorance simplifies ANY problem."
R. Lucke


"Little else matters than to write good code."
Karl Lehenbauer


"Never put off until run time what you can do at compile time."
David Gries, in "Compiler Construction for Digital Computers".


"Nuclear war can ruin your whole compile."
Karl Lehenbauer


"Oh boy, virtual memory! Now I'm gonna make myself a REALLY BIG ram disk!"


"Reliable software must kill people reliably."
Andy Mickel


"Software suppliers are trying to make their software packages more 'user-friendly' .... Their best approach, so far, has been to take all the old brochures, and stamp the words, 'user-friendly' on the cover."
Attributed to Bill Gates (Microsoft, Inc. - like you don't know!)


"That's not a bug, that's merely an idiosyncracy."
mattb (formerly of sco)


"The biggest growth industry in UNIX is promoting standards."
Rikki Kirzner, Dataquest.


Real Programmers always confuse Christmas and Halloween because OCT 31 == DEC 25 !
Andrew Rutherford (


"The most effective debugging tool is still careful thought, coupled with judiciously placed print statements."
Brian Kernighan (1978)


"The most important question when any new computer architecture is introduced is 'So what?'"
someone in comp.arch


"The three most dangerous things in the world are a programmer with a soldering iron, a hardware type with a program patch and a user with an idea."
The Wizardry Compiled by Rick Cook


"Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to be maintained."
The Tao of Programming


"To program is to understand."
Kristen Nygaard


Unix: it's a nice place to live, but you wouldn't want to visit there.


"Using an IBM PC is like juggling straight razors.
Using a Mac is like shaving with a bowling pin.
" Ted Nelson, Computer Lib


Laws of Computer Programming
  1. Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
  2. Any given program costs more and takes longer.
  3. If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
  4. If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
  5. Any given program will expand to fill all available memory.
  6. The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
  7. Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of the programmer who must maintain it.
  8. Make it possible for programmers to write programs in English, and you will find that programmers cannot write in English.
SIGPLAN Notices, Vol 2 No 2


Trying to shoot yourself in the foot in ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE:
For those who like to load their own rounds before shooting themselves in the foot.


Look at it this way: MSDOS is an overgrown program loader; the MacOS is an overgrown user interface. Neither is an operating system, but the second is better for running applications.
Paul Placeway


My computer can beat up your computer.
Karl Lehenbauer


On a clear disk you can seek forever.


PROGRAMMER: (n) Red-eyed, mumbling mammal capable of conversing with inanimate objects.


That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in "Oath of Fealty"


The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first.
Blaise Pascal


The only way to learn a new programming language is by writing programs in it.
Brian Kernighan


The rule on staying alive as a program manager is to give 'em a number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once.


There are bugs and then there are bugs. And then there are bugs.
Karl Lehenbauer


There are no bugs, only unrecognized features.


UNIX was never designed to keep people from doing stupid things, because that policy would also keep them from doing clever things.
Doug Gwyn (1st August 1990)


Weekends were made for programming.
Karl Lehenbauer



Quotable Rick...


































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Copyright © 2004 Richard Murray