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Page history last edited by dm 15 years, 5 months ago

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I  !pleH



    (1)  Scarecrow for centipedes

    (2)  Dead cat brush

    (3)  Hair barrettes

    (4)  Cleats

    (5)  Self-piercing earrings

    (6)  Fungus trellis

    (7)  False eyelashes

    (8)  Prosthetic dog claws




    (99)  Window garden harrow (pulled behind Tonka tractors)

    (100) Killer velcro

    (101) Currency


1: No code table for op: ++post


4.2 BSD UNIX #57: Sun Jun 1 23:02:07 EDT 1986

You swing at the Sun.  You miss.  The Sun swings.  He hits you with a

575MB disk!  You read the 575MB disk.  It is written in an alien

tongue and cannot be read by your tired Sun-2 eyes.  You throw the

575MB disk at the Sun.  You hit!  The Sun must repair your eyes.  The

Sun reads a scroll.  He hits your 130MB disk!  He has defeated the

130MB disk!  The Sun reads a scroll.  He hits your Ethernet board!  He

has defeated your Ethernet board!  You read a scroll of "postpone until

Monday at 9 AM".  Everything goes dark...

        -- /etc/motd, cbosgd


A biologist, a statistician, a mathematician and a computer scientist are on

a photo-safari in Africa.  As they're driving along the savannah in their

jeep, they stop and scout the horizon with their binoculars.

The biologist: "Look!  A herd of zebras!  And there's a white zebra!

    Fantastic!  We'll be famous!"

The statistician: "Hey, calm down, it's not significant.  We only know

    there's one white zebra."

The mathematician: "Actually, we only know there exists a zebra, which is

    white on one side."

The computer scientist : "Oh, no!  A special case!"


... A booming voice says, "Wrong, cretin!", and you notice that you

have turned into a pile of dust.


A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.


A bug in the hand is better than one as yet undetected.


A certain monk had a habit of pestering the Grand Tortue (the only one who

had ever reached the Enlightenment 'Yond Enlightenment), by asking whether

various objects had Buddha-nature or not.  To such a question Tortue

invariably sat silent.  The monk had already asked about a bean, a lake,

and a moonlit night.  One day he brought to Tortue a piece of string, and

asked the same question.  In reply, the Grand Tortue grasped the loop

between his feet and, with a few simple manipulations, created a complex

string which he proferred wordlessly to the monk.  At that moment, the monk

was enlightened.

From then on, the monk did not bother Tortue.  Instead, he made string after

string by Tortue's method; and he passed the method on to his own disciples,

who passed it on to theirs.


A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a

simple system that works.


[A computer is] like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy.

        -- Joseph Campbell


A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention,

with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla.

        -- Mitch Ratcliffe


A computer salesman visits a company president for the purpose of selling

the president one of the latest talking computers.

Salesman:    "This machine knows everything. I can ask it any question

        and it'll give the correct answer.  Computer, what is the

        speed of light?"

Computer:    186,282 miles per second.

Salesman:    "Who was the first president of the United States?"

Computer:    George Washington.

President:    "I'm still not convinced. Let me ask a question.

        Where is my father?"

Computer:    Your father is fishing in Georgia.

President:    "Hah!! The computer is wrong. My father died over twenty

        years ago!"

Computer:    Your mother's husband died 22 years ago. Your father just

        landed a twelve pound bass.


A computer scientist is someone who fixes things that aren't broken.


A computer without COBOL and Fortran is like a piece of chocolate cake

without ketchup and mustard.


A CONS is an object which cares.

        -- Bernie Greenberg.


A debugged program is one for which you have not yet found the conditions

that make it fail.

        -- Jerry Ogdin


    A disciple of another sect once came to Drescher as he was eating

his morning meal.  "I would like to give you this personality test", said

the outsider, "because I want you to be happy."

    Drescher took the paper that was offered him and put it into the

toaster -- "I wish the toaster to be happy too".


    A doctor, an architect, and a computer scientist were arguing about

whose profession was the oldest.  In the course of their arguments, they

got all the way back to the Garden of Eden, whereupon the doctor said, "The

medical profession is clearly the oldest, because Eve was made from Adam's

rib, as the story goes, and that was a simply incredible surgical feat."

    The architect did not agree.  He said, "But if you look at the Garden

itself, in the beginning there was chaos and void, and out of that the Garden

and the world were created.  So God must have been an architect."

    The computer scientist, who'd listened carefully to all of this, then

commented, "Yes, but where do you think the chaos came from?"


A famous Lisp Hacker noticed an Undergraduate sitting in front of a Xerox

1108, trying to edit a complex Klone network via a browser. Wanting to

help, the Hacker clicked one of the nodes in the network with the mouse,

and asked "what do you see?" Very earnestly, the Undergraduate replied "I

see a cursor." The Hacker then quickly pressed the boot toggle at the back

of the keyboard, while simultaneously hitting the Undergraduate over the head

with a thick Interlisp Manual.  The Undergraduate was then Enlightened.


A formal parsing algorithm should not always be used.

        -- D. Gries


A Fortran compiler is the hobgoblin of little minis.


A hacker does for love what others would not do for money.


A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is

not worth knowing.


A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program

in than some that do.

        -- Dennis M. Ritchie


A large number of installed systems work by fiat.  That is, they work

by being declared to work.

        -- Anatol Holt


A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing.

        -- Alan Perlis


A list is only as strong as its weakest link.

        -- Don Knuth


A little retrospection shows that although many fine, useful software systems

have been designed by committees and built as part of multipart projects,

those software systems that have excited passionate fans are those that are

the products of one or a few designing minds, great designers.  Consider Unix,

APL, Pascal, Modula, the Smalltalk interface, even Fortran; and contrast them

with Cobol, PL/I, Algol, MVS/370, and MS-DOS.

        -- Fred Brooks


    A man from AI walked across the mountains to SAIL to see the Master,

Knuth.  When he arrived, the Master was nowhere to be found.  "Where is the

wise one named Knuth?" he asked a passing student.

    "Ah," said the student, "you have not heard. He has gone on a

pilgrimage across the mountains to the temple of AI to seek out new


    Hearing this, the man was Enlightened.


    A manager asked a programmer how long it would take him to finish the

program on which he was working.  "I will be finished tomorrow," the programmer

promptly replied.

    "I think you are being unrealistic," said the manager. "Truthfully,

how long will it take?"

    The programmer thought for a moment.  "I have some features that I wish

to add.  This will take at least two weeks," he finally said.

    "Even that is too much to expect," insisted the manager, "I will be

satisfied if you simply tell me when the program is complete."

    The programmer agreed to this.

    Several years later, the manager retired.  On the way to his

retirement lunch, he discovered the programmer asleep at his terminal.

He had been programming all night.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A manager was about to be fired, but a programmer who worked for him

invented a new program that became popular and sold well.  As a result, the

manager retained his job.

    The manager tried to give the programmer a bonus, but the programmer

refused it, saying, "I wrote the program because I though it was an interesting

concept, and thus I expect no reward."

    The manager, upon hearing this, remarked, "This programmer, though he

holds a position of small esteem, understands well the proper duty of an

employee.  Lets promote him to the exalted position of management consultant!"

    But when told this, the programmer once more refused, saying, "I exist

so that I can program.  If I were promoted, I would do nothing but waste

everyone's time.  Can I go now?  I have a program that I'm working on."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A manager went to his programmers and told them: "As regards to your

work hours: you are going to have to come in at nine in the morning and leave

at five in the afternoon."  At this, all of them became angry and several

resigned on the spot.

    So the manager said: "All right, in that case you may set your own

working hours, as long as you finish your projects on schedule."  The

programmers, now satisfied, began to come in a noon and work to the wee

hours of the morning.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A manager went to the master programmer and showed him the requirements

document for a new application.  The manager asked the master: "How long will

it take to design this system if I assign five programmers to it?"

    "It will take one year," said the master promptly.

    "But we need this system immediately or even sooner!  How long will it

take it I assign ten programmers to it?"

    The master programmer frowned.  "In that case, it will take two years."

    "And what if I assign a hundred programmers to it?"

    The master programmer shrugged.  "Then the design will never be

completed," he said.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day.  The master

noted the novice's preoccupation with a hand-held computer game.  "Excuse me",

he said, "may I examine it?"

    The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master.

"I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium,

and Hard", said the master.  "Yet every such device has another level of play,

where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the


    "Pray, great master," implored the novice, "how does one find this

mysterious setting?"

    The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it under foot.

And suddenly the novice was enlightened.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A master was explaining the nature of Tao to one of his novices.

"The Tao is embodied in all software -- regardless of how insignificant,"

said the master.

    "Is Tao in a hand-held calculator?" asked the novice.

    "It is," came the reply.

    "Is the Tao in a video game?" continued the novice.

    "It is even in a video game," said the master.

    "And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?"

    The master coughed and shifted his position slightly.  "The lesson

is over for today," he said.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


A modem is a baudy house.


A nasty looking dwarf throws a knife at you.



Do you want the instant respect that comes from being able to use technical

terms that nobody understands?  Do you want to strike fear and loathing into

the hearts of DP managers everywhere?  If so, then let the Famous Programmers'

School lead you on... into the world of professional computer programming.

They say a good programmer can write 20 lines of effective program per day.

With our unique training course, we'll show you how to write 20 lines of code

and lots more besides.  Our training course covers every programming language

in existence, and some that aren't.  You'll learn why the on/off switch for a

computer is so important, what the words *fatal error* mean, and who and what

you should blame when you make a mistake.

    Yes, I want the brochure describing this incredible offer.

    I enclose $1000 is small unmarked bills to cover the cost of

    postage and handling. (No live poultry, please.)

*** Our Slogan:  Top down programming for the masses. ***


    A novice asked the Master: "Here is a programmer that never designs,

documents, or tests his programs.  Yet all who know him consider him one of

the best programmers in the world.  Why is this?"

    The Master replies: "That programmer has mastered the Tao.  He has

gone beyond the need for design; he does not become angry when the system

crashes, but accepts the universe without concern.  He has gone beyond the

need for documentation; he no longer cares if anyone else sees his code.  He

has gone beyond the need for testing; each of his programs are perfect within

themselves, serene and elegant, their purpose self-evident.  Truly, he has

entered the mystery of the Tao."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A novice asked the master: "I have a program that sometimes runs and

sometimes aborts.  I have followed the rules of programming, yet I am totally

baffled. What is the reason for this?"

    The master replied: "You are confused because you do not understand

the Tao.  Only a fool expects rational behavior from his fellow humans.  Why

do you expect it from a machine that humans have constructed?  Computers

simulate determinism; only the Tao is perfect.

    The rules of programming are transitory; only the Tao is eternal.

Therefore you must contemplate the Tao before you receive enlightenment."

    "But how will I know when I have received enlightenment?" asked the


    "Your program will then run correctly," replied the master.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A novice asked the master: "I perceive that one computer company is

much larger than all others.  It towers above its competition like a giant

among dwarfs.  Any one of its divisions could comprise an entire business.

Why is this so?"

    The master replied, "Why do you ask such foolish questions?  That

company is large because it is so large.  If it only made hardware, nobody

would buy it.  If it only maintained systems, people would treat it like a

servant.  But because it combines all of these things, people think it one

of the gods!  By not seeking to strive, it conquers without effort."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A novice asked the master: "In the east there is a great tree-structure

that men call 'Corporate Headquarters'.  It is bloated out of shape with

vice-presidents and accountants.  It issues a multitude of memos, each saying

'Go, Hence!' or 'Go, Hither!' and nobody knows what is meant.  Every year new

names are put onto the branches, but all to no avail.  How can such an

unnatural entity exist?"

    The master replies: "You perceive this immense structure and are

disturbed that it has no rational purpose.  Can you not take amusement from

its endless gyrations?  Do you not enjoy the untroubled ease of programming

beneath its sheltering branches?  Why are you bothered by its uselessness?"

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A novice of the temple once approached the Chief Priest with a


    "Master, does Emacs have the Buddha nature?" the novice asked.

    The Chief Priest had been in the temple for many years and could be

relied upon to know these things.  He thought for several minutes before


    "I don't see why not.  It's got bloody well everything else."

    With that, the Chief Priest went to lunch.  The novice suddenly

achieved enlightenment, several years later.


His Master is kind,

Answering his FAQ quickly,

With thought and sarcasm.


    A novice programmer was once assigned to code a simple financial


    The novice worked furiously for many days, but when his master

reviewed his program, he discovered that it contained a screen editor, a set

of generalized graphics routines, and artificial intelligence interface,

but not the slightest mention of anything financial.

    When the master asked about this, the novice became indignant.

"Don't be so impatient," he said, "I'll put the financial stuff in eventually."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A novice was trying to fix a broken lisp machine by turning the

power off and on.  Knight, seeing what the student was doing spoke sternly,

"You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding

of what is going wrong."  Knight turned the machine off and on.  The

machine worked.


A person who is more than casually interested in computers should be well

schooled in machine language, since it is a fundamental part of a computer.

        -- Donald Knuth


    A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a

strings of pearls.  The spirit and intent of the program should be retained

throughout.  There should be neither too little nor too much, neither needless

loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming


    A program should follow the 'Law of Least Astonishment'.  What is this

law?  It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the

way that astonishes him least.

    A program, no matter how complex, should act as a single unit.  The

program should be directed by the logic within rather than by outward


    If the program fails in these requirements, it will be in a state of

disorder and confusion.  The only way to correct this is to rewrite the


        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    A programmer from a very large computer company went to a software

conference and then returned to report to his manager, saying: "What sort

of programmers work for other companies?  They behaved badly and were

unconcerned with appearances. Their hair was long and unkempt and their

clothes were wrinkled and old. They crashed out hospitality suites and they

made rude noises during my presentation."

    The manager said: "I should have never sent you to the conference.

Those programmers live beyond the physical world.  They consider life absurd,

an accidental coincidence.  They come and go without knowing limitations.

Without a care, they live only for their programs.  Why should they bother

with social conventions?"

    "They are alive within the Tao."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


A programmer is a person who passes as an exacting expert on the basis of

being able to turn out, after innumerable punching, an infinite series of

incomprehensible answers calculated with micrometric precisions from vague

assumptions based on debatable figures taken from inconclusive documents

and carried out on instruments of problematical accuracy by persons of

dubious reliability and questionable mentality for the avowed purpose of

annoying and confounding a hopelessly defenseless department that was

unfortunate enough to ask for the information in the first place.

        -- IEEE Grid newsmagazine


A programming language is low level when its programs require attention

to the irrelevant.


A recent study has found that concentrating on difficult off-screen

objects, such as the faces of loved ones, causes eye strain in computer

scientists.  Researchers into the phenomenon cite the added concentration

needed to "make sense" of such unnatural three dimensional objects.


A rolling disk gathers no MOS.


    A sheet of paper crossed my desk the other day and as I read it,

realization of a basic truth came over me.  So simple!  So obvious we couldn't

see it.  John Knivlen, Chairman of Polamar Repeater Club, an amateur radio

group, had discovered how IC circuits work.  He says that smoke is the thing

that makes ICs work because every time you let the smoke out of an IC circuit,

it stops working.  He claims to have verified this with thorough testing.

    I was flabbergasted!  Of course!  Smoke makes all things electrical

work.  Remember the last time smoke escaped from your Lucas voltage regulator

Didn't it quit working?  I sat and smiled like an idiot as more of the truth

dawned.  It's the wiring harness that carries the smoke from one device to

another in your Mini, MG or Jag.  And when the harness springs a leak, it lets

the smoke out of everything at once, and then nothing works.  The starter motor

requires large quantities of smoke to operate properly, and that's why the wire

going to it is so large.

    Feeling very smug, I continued to expand my hypothesis.  Why are Lucas

electronics more likely to leak than say Bosch?  Hmmm...  Aha!!!  Lucas is

British, and all things British leak!  British convertible tops leak water,

British engines leak oil, British displacer units leak hydrostatic fluid, and

I might add Brititsh tires leak air, and the British defense unit leaks

secrets... so naturally British electronics leak smoke.

        -- Jack Banton, PCC Automotive Electrical School

    [Ummm ... IC circuits?  Integrated circuit circuits?]


A student, in hopes of understanding the Lambda-nature, came to Greenblatt.

As they spoke a Multics system hacker walked by.  "Is it true", asked the

student, "that PL-1 has many of the same data types as Lisp?"  Almost before

the student had finished his question, Greenblatt shouted, "FOO!", and hit

the student with a stick.


A successful [software] tool is one that was used to do something

undreamed of by its author.

        -- S. C. Johnson


A well-used door needs no oil on its hinges.

A swift-flowing steam does not grow stagnant.

Neither sound nor thoughts can travel through a vacuum.

Software rots if not used.

These are great mysteries.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.


About the use of language: it is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt

ax.  It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.

        -- Edsger Dijkstra


Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just

makes the manuals thicker.


Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

        -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"


Whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty by

close application thereto, it is worse execute by two persons and

scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.

        -- George Washington, 1732-1799


    After sifting through the overwritten remaining blocks of Luke's home

directory, Luke and PDP-1 sped away from /u/lars, across the surface of the

Winchester riding Luke's flying read/write head.  PDP-1 had Luke stop at the

edge of the cylinder overlooking /usr/spool/uucp.

    "Unix-to-Unix Copy Program;" said PDP-1.  "You will never find a more

wretched hive of bugs and flamers.  We must be cautious."

        -- DECWARS


Alan Turing thought about criteria to settle the question of whether

machines can think, a question of which we now know that it is about

as relevant as the question of whether submarines can swim.

        -- Dijkstra


Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language

yet developed.

        -- T. Cheatham


All constants are variables.


===  ALL CSH USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

Set the variable $LOSERS to all the people that you think are losers.  This

will cause all said losers to have the variable $PEOPLE-WHO-THINK-I-AM-A-LOSER

updated in their .login file.  Should you attempt to execute a job on a

machine with poor response time and a machine on your local net is currently

populated by losers, that machine will be freed up for your job through a

cold boot process.


All parts should go together without forcing.  You must remember that the parts

you are reassembling were disassembled by you.  Therefore, if you can't get

them together again, there must be a reason.  By all means, do not use a hammer.

        -- IBM maintenance manual, 1925


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, "The Mythical Man Month"


All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.


"... all the good computer designs are bootlegged; the formally planned

products, if they are built at all, are dogs!"

        -- David E. Lundstrom, "A Few Good Men From Univac",

           MIT Press, 1987


All the simple programs have been written.


===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

A new system, the CIRCULATORY system, has been added.

The long-experimental CIRCULATORY system has been released to users.  The

Lisp Machine uses Type B fluid, the L machine uses Type A fluid.  When the

switch to Common Lisp occurs both machines will, of course, be Type O.

Please check fluid level by using the DIP stick which is located in the

back of VMI monitors.  Unchecked low fluid levels can cause poor paging



===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

Bug reports now amount to an average of 12,853 per day.  Unfortunately,

this is only a small fraction [ < 1% ] of the mail volume we receive.  In

order that we may more expeditiously deal with these valuable messages,

please communicate them by one of the following paths:

    ARPA:  WastebasketSLMHQ.ARPA

    UUCP:  [berkeley, seismo, harpo]!fubar!thekid!slmhq!wastebasket

     Non-network sites:  Federal Express to:


        Room NE43-926

        Copernicus, The Moon, 12345-6789

    For that personal contact feeling call 1-415-642-4948; our trained

    operators are on call 24 hours a day.  VISA/MC accepted.*

* Our very rich lawyers have assured us that we are not

  responsible for any errors or advice given over the phone.


===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

CAR and CDR now return extra values.

The function CAR now returns two values.  Since it has to go to the trouble

to figure out if the object is carcdr-able anyway, we figured you might as

well get both halves at once.  For example, the following code shows how to

destructure a cons (SOME-CONS) into its two slots (THE-CAR and THE-CDR):


For symmetry with CAR, CDR returns a second value which is the CAR of the

object.  In a related change, the functions MAKE-ARRAY and CONS have been

fixed so they don't allocate any storage except on the stack.  This should

hopefully help people who don't like using the garbage collector because

it cold boots the machine so often.


===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

Compiler optimizations have been made to macro expand LET into a WITHOUT-

INTERRUPTS special form so that it can PUSH things into a stack in the

LET-OPTIMIZATION area, SETQ the variables and then POP them back when it's

done.  Don't worry about this unless you use multiprocessing.

Note that LET *could* have been defined by:

    (LET ((LET '`(LET ((LET ',LET))


    `(LET ((LET ',LET))


This is believed to speed up execution by as much as a factor of 1.01 or

3.50 depending on whether you believe our friendly marketing representatives.

This code was written by a new programmer here (we snatched him away from

Itty Bitti Machines where he was writing COUGHBOL code) so to give him

confidence we trusted his vows of "it works pretty well" and installed it.


===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

JCL support as alternative to system menu.

In our continuing effort to support languages other than LISP on the CADDR,

we have developed an OS/360-compatible JCL.  This can be used as an

alternative to the standard system menu.  Type System J to get to a JCL

interactive read-execute-diagnose loop window.  [Note that for 360

compatibility, all input lines are truncated to 80 characters.]  This

window also maintains a mouse-sensitive display of critical job parameters

such as dataset allocation, core allocation, channels, etc.  When a JCL

syntax error is detected or your job ABENDs, the window-oriented JCL

debugger is entered.  The JCL debugger displays appropriate OS/360 error

messages (such as IEC703, "disk error") and allows you to dequeue your job.


===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

The garbage collector now works.  In addition a new, experimental garbage

collection algorithm has been installed.  With SI:%DSK-GC-QLX-BITS set to 17,

(NOT the default) the old garbage collection algorithm remains in force; when

virtual storage is filled, the machine cold boots itself.  With SI:%DSK-GC-

QLX-BITS set to 23, the new garbage collector is enabled.  Unlike most garbage

collectors, the new gc starts its mark phase from the mind of the user, rather

than from the obarray.  This allows the garbage collection of significantly

more Qs.  As the garbage collector runs, it may ask you something like "Do you

remember what SI:RDTBL-TRANS does?", and if you can't give a reasonable answer

in thirty seconds, the symbol becomes a candidate for GCing.  The variable

SI:%GC-QLX-LUSER-TM governs how long the GC waits before timing out the user.


===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

There has been some confusion concerning MAPCAR.


        (PROG (V P LP)

        (SETQ P (LOCF V))

    L    (SETQ LP LISTS)


    L1    (OR LP (GO L2))

        (AND (NULL (CAR LP)) (RETURN V))

        (%PUSH (CAAR LP))

        (RPLACA LP (CDAR LP))

        (SETQ LP (CDR LP))

        (GO L1)


        (SETQ LP (%POP))

        (RPLACD P (SETQ P (NCONS LP)))

        (GO L)))

We hope this clears up the many questions we've had about it.


All your files have been destroyed (sorry).  Paul.


Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design

would be accurate.

        -- K. E. Iverson


Although it is still a truism in industry that "no one was ever fired for

buying IBM," Bill O'Neil, the chief technology officer at Drexel Burnham

Lambert, says he knows for a fact that someone has been fired for just that

reason.  He knows it because he fired the guy.

    "He made a bad decision, and what it came down to was, 'Well, I

bought it because I figured it was safe to buy IBM,'"  Mr. O'Neil says.

"I said, 'No.  Wrong.  Game over.  Next contestant, please.'"

        -- The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 1989


AmigaDOS Beer: The company has gone out of business, but their recipe has

been picked up by some weird German company, so now this beer will be an

import.  This beer never really sold very well because the original

manufacturer didn't understand marketing. Like Unix Beer, AmigaDOS Beer

fans are an extremely loyal and loud group. It originally came in a

16-oz. can, but now comes in 32-oz.  cans too.  When this can was

originally introduced, it appeared flashy and colorful, but the design

hasn't changed much over the years, so it appears dated now.  Critics of

this beer claim that it is only meant for watching TV anyway.


An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says

'Beam me up, Scotty'.


An adequate bootstrap is a contradiction in terms.


An algorithm must be seen to be believed.

        -- D. E. Knuth


... an anecdote from IBM's Yorktown Heights Research Center.  When a

programmer used his new computer terminal, all was fine when he was sitting

down, but he couldn't log in to the system when he was standing up.  That

behavior was 100 percent repeatable: he could always log in when sitting and

never when standing.

Most of us just sit back and marvel at such a story; how could that terminal

know whether the poor guy was sitting or standing?  Good debuggers, though,

know that there has to be a reason.  Electrical theories are the easiest to

hypothesize: was there a loose wire under the carpet, or problems with static

electricity?  But electrical problems are rarely consistently reproducible.

An alert IBMer finally noticed that the problem was in the terminal's keyboard:

the tops of two keys were switched.  When the programmer was seated he was a

touch typist and the problem went unnoticed, but when he stood he was led

astray by hunting and pecking.

        -- "Programming Pearls" column, by Jon Bentley in CACM February 1985


An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.


An engineer is someone who does list processing in FORTRAN.


An interpretation _I satisfies a sentence in the table language if and only if

each entry in the table designates the value of the function designated by the

function constant in the upper-left corner applied to the objects designated

by the corresponding row and column labels.

        -- Genesereth & Nilsson, "Logical foundations of Artificial



And it should be the law: If you use the word `paradigm' without knowing

what the dictionary says it means, you go to jail.  No exceptions.

        -- David Jones


And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.


Another megabytes the dust.


Any given program will expand to fill available memory.


Any given program, when running, is obsolete.


Any program which runs right is obsolete.


Any programming language is at its best before it is implemented and used.


... Any resemblance between the above views and those of my employer,

my terminal, or the view out my window are purely coincidental.  Any

resemblance between the above and my own views is non-deterministic.  The

question of the existence of views in the absence of anyone to hold them

is left as an exercise for the reader.  The question of the existence of

the reader is left as an exercise for the second god coefficient.  (A

discussion of non-orthogonal, non-integral polytheism is beyond the scope

of this article.)


Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature.

        -- Rich Kulawiec


Anyone who has attended a USENIX conference in a fancy hotel can tell you

that a sentence like "You're one of those computer people, aren't you?"

is roughly equivalent to "Look, another amazingly mobile form of slime

mold!" in the mouth of a hotel cocktail waitress.

        -- Elizabeth Zwicky


APL hackers do it in the quad.


APL is a mistake, carried through to perfection.  It is the language of the

future for the programming techniques of the past: it creates a new generation

of coding bums.

        -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5


APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming;

...and is best for educational purposes.

        -- A. Perlis


APL is a write-only language.  I can write programs in APL, but I can't

read any of them.

        -- Roy Keir


Are we running light with overbyte?


Around computers it is difficult to find the correct unit of time to

measure progress.  Some cathedrals took a century to complete.  Can you

imagine the grandeur and scope of a program that would take as long?

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982


As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.


As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error.

        -- Weisert


As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name.

        -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie


As in Protestant Europe, by contrast, where sects divided endlessly into

smaller competing sects and no church dominated any other, all is different

in the fragmented world of IBM.  That realm is now a chaos of conflicting

norms and standards that not even IBM can hope to control.  You can buy a

computer that works like an IBM machine but contains nothing made or sold by

IBM itself.  Renegades from IBM constantly set up rival firms and establish

standards of their own.  When IBM recently abandoned some of its original

standards and decreed new ones, many of its rivals declared a puritan

allegiance to IBM's original faith, and denounced the company as a divisive

innovator.  Still, the IBM world is united by its distrust of icons and

imagery.  IBM's screens are designed for language, not pictures.  Graven

images may be tolerated by the luxurious cults, but the true IBM faith relies

on the austerity of the word.

        -- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988


As long as there are ill-defined goals, bizarre bugs, and unrealistic

schedules, there will be Real Programmers willing to jump in and Solve

The Problem, saving the documentation for later.


As of next Thursday, UNIX will be flushed in favor of TOPS-10.

Please update your programs.


As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL.

Please update your programs.


As of next week, passwords will be entered in Morse code.


As part of an ongoing effort to keep you, the Fortune reader, abreast of

the valuable information that daily crosses the USENET, Fortune presents:

News articles that answer *your* questions, #1:

    Newsgroups: comp.sources.d

    Subject: how do I run C code received from sources

    Keywords: C sources

    Distribution: na

    I do not know how to run the C programs that are posted in the

    sources newsgroup.  I save the files, edit them to remove the

    headers, and change the mode so that they are executable, but I

    cannot get them to run.  (I have never written a C program before.)

    Must they be compiled?  With what compiler?  How do I do this?  If

    I compile them, is an object code file generated or must I generate

    it explicitly with the > character?  Is there something else that

    must be done?


As part of the conversion, computer specialists rewrote 1,500 programs;

a process that traditionally requires some debugging.

        -- USA Today, referring to the Internal Revenue Service

           conversion to a new computer system.


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.

        -- Maurice Wilkes, designer of EDSAC, on programming, 1949


As the system comes up, the component builders will from time to time appear,

bearing hot new versions of their pieces -- faster, smaller, more complete,

or putatively less buggy.  The replacement of a working component by a new

version requires the same systematic testing procedure that adding a new

component does, although it should require less time, for more complete and

efficient test cases will usually be available.

        -- Frederick Brooks Jr., "The Mythical Man Month"


As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there

is always a future in Computer Maintenance.

        -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"


As Will Rogers would have said, "There is no such things as a free variable."


ASCII a stupid question, you get an EBCDIC answer.


ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.


Ask not for whom the <CONTROL-G>  tolls.


Assembly language experience is [important] for the maturity

and understanding of how computers work that it provides.

        -- D. Gries


Asynchronous inputs are at the root of our race problems.

        -- D. Winker and F. Prosser


At about 2500 A.D., humankind discovers a computer problem that *must* be

solved.  The only difficulty is that the problem is NP complete and will

take thousands of years even with the latest optical biologic technology

available.  The best computer scientists sit down to think up some solution.

In great dismay, one of the C.S. people tells her husband about it.  There

is only one solution, he says.  Remember physics 103, Modern Physics, general

relativity and all.  She replies, "What does that have to do with solving

a computer problem?"

    "Remember the twin paradox?"

    After a few minutes, she says, "I could put the computer on a very

fast machine and the computer would have just a few minutes to calculate but

that is the exact opposite of what we want... Of course!  Leave the

computer here, and accelerate the earth!"

    The problem was so important that they did exactly that.  When

the earth came back, they were presented with the answer:

    IEH032 Error in JOB Control Card.


At first sight, the idea of any rules or principles being superimposed on

the creative mind seems more likely to hinder than to help, but this is

quite untrue in practice.  Disciplined thinking focuses inspiration rather

than blinkers it.

        -- G. L. Glegg, "The Design of Design"


At Group L, Stoffel oversees six first-rate programmers, a managerial

challenge roughly comparable to herding cats.

        -- The Washington Post Magazine, 9 June, 1985


At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find

at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.


Avoid strange women and temporary variables.


Basic is a high level languish.  APL is a high level anguish.


BASIC is the Computer Science equivalent of `Scientific Creationism'.


BASIC is to computer programming as QWERTY is to typing.

        -- Seymour Papert


Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.


Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.


Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.


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

        -- Donald Knuth


Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers.

        -- Leonard Brandwein


Beware of the Turing Tar-pit in which everything is possible but nothing of

interest is easy.


Beware the new TTY code!


Blinding speed can compensate for a lot of deficiencies.

        -- David Nichols


Both models are identical in performance, functional operation, and

interface circuit details.  The two models, however, are not compatible

on the same communications line connection.

        -- Bell System Technical Reference


Brace yourselves.  We're about to try something that borders on the unique:

an actually rather serious technical book which is not only (gasp) vehemently

anti-Solemn, but also (shudder) takes sides.  I tend to think of it as

`Constructive Snottiness.'

        -- Mike Padlipsky, "Elements of Networking Style"


Brain fried -- Core dumped


Breadth-first search is the bulldozer of science.

        -- Randy Goebel


    Brian Kernighan has an automobile which he helped design.

Unlike most automobiles, it has neither speedometer, nor gas gauge, nor

any of the numerous idiot lights which plague the modern driver.

Rather, if the driver makes any mistake, a giant "?" lights up in the

center of the dashboard.  "The experienced driver", he says, "will

usually know what's wrong."


Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may

revitalize the corner saloon.


Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.


Building translators is good clean fun.

        -- T. Cheatham


Bus error -- driver executed.


Bus error -- please leave by the rear door.


But in our enthusiasm, we could not resist a radical overhaul of the

system, in which all of its major weaknesses have been exposed,

analyzed, and replaced with new weaknesses.

        -- Bruce Leverett, "Register Allocation in Optimizing Compilers"


But this has taken us far afield from interface, which is not a bad

place to be, since I particularly want to move ahead to the kludge.

Why do people have so much trouble understanding the kludge?  What

is a kludge, after all, but not enough K's, not enough ROM's, not

enough RAM's, poor quality interface and too few bytes to go around?

Have I explained yet about the bytes?


"But what we need to know is, do people want nasally-insertable computers?"


By long-standing tradition, I take this opportunity to savage other

designers in the thin disguise of good, clean fun.

        -- P. J. Plauger, "Computer Language", 1988, April

           Fool's column.


BYTE editors are people who separate the wheat from the chaff, and then

carefully print the chaff.


Byte your tongue.


C Code.

C Code Run.

Run, Code, RUN!



C for yourself.


C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot.  C++ makes that

harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg.

        -- Bjarne Stroustrup


C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique.

        -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]


C++ is the best example of second-system effect since OS/360.


... C++ offers even more flexible control over the visibility of member

objects and member functions.  Specifically, members may be placed in the

public, private, or protected parts of a class.  Members declared in the

public parts are visible to all clients; members declared in the private

parts are fully encapsulated; and members declared in the protected parts

are visible only to the class itself and its subclasses.  C++ also supports

the notion of *_______friends*: cooperative classes that are permitted to see each

other's private parts.

        -- Grady Booch, "Object Oriented Design with Applications"


Calm down, it's *____only* ones and zeroes.


Can't open /usr/share/games/fortunes/fortunes.  Lid stuck on cookie jar.


Can't open /usr/share/games/fortunes/fortunes.dat.


CChheecckk yyoouurr dduupplleexx sswwiittcchh..


CCI Power 6/40: one board, a megabyte of cache, and an attitude...


Center meeting at 4pm in 2C-543.


Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening.

See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.


COBOL is for morons.

        -- E. W. Dijkstra


Cobol programmers are down in the dumps.


Coding is easy;  All you do is sit staring at a terminal until the drops

of blood form on your forehead.


Comparing software engineering to classical engineering assumes that software

has the ability to wear out.  Software typically behaves, or it does not.  It

either works, or it does not.  Software generally does not degrade, abrade,

stretch, twist, or ablate.  To treat it as a physical entity, therefore, is

misapplication of our engineering skills.  Classical engineering deals with

the characteristics of hardware; software engineering should deal with the

characteristics of *software*, and not with hardware or management.

        -- Dan Klein


COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from

a corporation whose president codes in octal.

        -- J. N. Gray


... computer hardware progress is so fast.  No other technology since

civilization began has seen six orders of magnitude in performance-price

gain in 30 years.

        -- Fred Brooks


Computer programmers do it byte by byte.


Computer programmers never die, they just get lost in the processing.


Computer programs expand so as to fill the core available.


Computer Science is merely the post-Turing decline in formal systems theory.


Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing

to a building as being maintenance

        -- Jim Horning


Computers are not intelligent.  They only think they are.


Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.

Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.

        -- Gilb


Computers are useless.  They can only give you answers.

        -- Pablo Picasso


Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in

the world that just don't add up.


Computers don't actually think.

    You just think they think.

        (We think.)


Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more

than the estimate the job will cost.


Conceptual integrity in turn dictates that the design must proceed

from one mind, or from a very small number of agreeing resonant minds.

        -- Frederick Brooks Jr., "The Mythical Man Month"


Congratulations!  You are the one-millionth user to log into our system.

If there's anything special we can do for you, anything at all, don't

hesitate to ask!


    Cosmotronic Software Unlimited Inc. does not warrant that the

functions contained in the program will meet your requirements or that

the operation of the program will be uninterrupted or error-free.

    However, Cosmotronic Software Unlimited Inc. warrants the

diskette(s) on which the program is furnished to be of black color and

square shape under normal use for a period of ninety (90) days from the

date of purchase.





        -- Horstmann Software Design, the "ChiWriter" user manual


Couldn't we jury-rig the cat to act as an audio switch, and have it yell

at people to save their core images before logging them out?  I'm sure

the cattle prod would be effective in this regard.  In any case, a traverse

mounted iguana, while more perverted, gives better traction, not to mention

being easier to stake.


Counting in binary is just like counting in decimal -- if you are all thumbs.

        -- Glaser and Way


Counting in octal is just like counting in decimal--if you don't use your thumbs.

        -- Tom Lehrer


[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine

women pregnant, you can get a baby a month.

        -- Wernher von Braun


Crazee Edeee, his prices are INSANE!!!


Creating computer software is always a demanding and painstaking

process -- an exercise in logic, clear expression, and almost fanatical

attention to detail.  It requires intelligence, dedication, and an

enormous amount of hard work.  But, a certain amount of unpredictable

and often unrepeatable inspiration is what usually makes the difference

between adequacy and excellence.


%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory

VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears


Dear Emily, what about test messages?

        -- Concerned

Dear Concerned:

    It is important, when testing, to test the entire net.  Never test

merely a subnet distribution when the whole net can be done.  Also put "please

ignore" on your test messages, since we all know that everybody always skips

a message with a line like that.  Don't use a subject like "My sex is female

but I demand to be addressed as male." because such articles are read in depth

by all USEnauts.

        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Emily:

    How can I choose what groups to post in?

        -- Confused

Dear Confused:

    Pick as many as you can, so that you get the widest audience.  After

all, the net exists to give you an audience.  Ignore those who suggest you

should only use groups where you think the article is highly appropriate.

Pick all groups where anybody might even be slightly interested.

    Always make sure followups go to all the groups.  In the rare event

that you post a followup which contains something original, make sure you

expand the list of groups.  Never include a "Followup-to:" line in the

header, since some people might miss part of the valuable discussion in

the fringe groups.

        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Emily:

    I collected replies to an article I wrote, and now it's time to

summarize.  What should I do?

        -- Editor

Dear Editor:

    Simply concatenate all the articles together into a big file and post

that.  On USENET, this is known as a summary.  It lets people read all the

replies without annoying newsreaders getting in the way.  Do the same when

summarizing a vote.

        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Emily:

    I recently read an article that said, "reply by mail, I'll summarize."

What should I do?

        -- Doubtful

Dear Doubtful:

    Post your response to the whole net.  That request applies only to

dumb people who don't have something interesting to say.  Your postings are

much more worthwhile than other people's, so it would be a waste to reply by


        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Emily:

    I saw a long article that I wish to rebut carefully, what should

I do?

        -- Angry

Dear Angry:

    Include the entire text with your article, and include your comments

between the lines.  Be sure to post, and not mail, even though your article

looks like a reply to the original.  Everybody *loves* to read those long

point-by-point debates, especially when they evolve into name-calling and

lots of "Is too!" -- "Is not!" -- "Is too, twizot!" exchanges.

        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Emily:

    I'm having a serious disagreement with somebody on the net. I

tried complaints to his sysadmin, organizing mail campaigns, called for

his removal from the net and phoning his employer to get him fired.

Everybody laughed at me.  What can I do?

        -- A Concerned Citizen

Dear Concerned:

    Go to the daily papers.  Most modern reporters are top-notch computer

experts who will understand the net, and your problems, perfectly.  They

will print careful, reasoned stories without any errors at all, and surely

represent the situation properly to the public.  The public will also all

act wisely, as they are also fully cognizant of the subtle nature of net


    Papers never sensationalize or distort, so be sure to point out things

like racism and sexism wherever they might exist.  Be sure as well that they

understand that all things on the net, particularly insults, are meant

literally.  Link what transpires on the net to the causes of the Holocaust, if

possible.  If regular papers won't take the story, go to a tabloid paper --

they are always interested in good stories.

    By arranging all this free publicity for the net, you'll become very

well known.  People on the net will wait in eager anticipation for your every

posting, and refer to you constantly.  You'll get more mail than you ever

dreamed possible -- the ultimate in net success.

        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Emily:

    I'm still confused as to what groups articles should be posted

to.  How about an example?

        -- Still Confused

Dear Still:

    Ok.  Let's say you want to report that Gretzky has been traded from

the Oilers to the Kings.  Now right away you might think rec.sport.hockey

would be enough.  WRONG.  Many more people might be interested.  This is a

big trade!  Since it's a NEWS article, it belongs in the news.* hierarchy

as well.  If you are a news admin, or there is one on your machine, try

news.admin.  If not, use news.misc.

    The Oilers are probably interested in geology, so try sci.physics.

He is a big star, so post to sci.astro, and sci.space because they are also

interested in stars.  Next, his name is Polish sounding.  So post to

soc.culture.polish.  But that group doesn't exist, so cross-post to

news.groups suggesting it should be created.  With this many groups of

interest, your article will be quite bizarre, so post to talk.bizarre as

well.  (And post to comp.std.mumps, since they hardly get any articles

there, and a "comp" group will propagate your article further.)

    You may also find it is more fun to post the article once in each

group.  If you list all the newsgroups in the same article, some newsreaders

will only show the the article to the reader once!  Don't tolerate this.

        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Emily:

    Today I posted an article and forgot to include my signature.

What should I do?

        -- Forgetful

Dear Forgetful:

    Rush to your terminal right away and post an article that says,

"Oops, I forgot to post my signature with that last article.  Here

it is."

    Since most people will have forgotten your earlier article,

(particularly since it dared to be so boring as to not have a nice, juicy

signature) this will remind them of it.  Besides, people care much more

about the signature anyway.

        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Ms. Postnews:

    I couldn't get mail through to somebody on another site.  What

    should I do?

        -- Eager Beaver

Dear Eager:

    No problem, just post your message to a group that a lot of people

read.  Say, "This is for John Smith.  I couldn't get mail through so I'm

posting it.  All others please ignore."

    This way tens of thousands of people will spend a few seconds scanning

over and ignoring your article, using up over 16 man-hours their collective

time, but you will be saved the terrible trouble of checking through usenet

maps or looking for alternate routes.  Just think, if you couldn't distribute

your message to 9000 other computers, you might actually have to (gasp) call

directory assistance for 60 cents, or even phone the person.  This can cost

as much as a few DOLLARS (!) for a 5 minute call!

    And certainly it's better to spend 10 to 20 dollars of other people's

money distributing the message than for you to have to waste $9 on an overnight

letter, or even 25 cents on a stamp!

    Don't forget.  The world will end if your message doesn't get through,

so post it as many places as you can.

        -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette


Dear Sir,

    I am firmly opposed to the spread of microchips either to the home or

to the office,  We have more than enough of them foisted upon us in public

places.  They are a disgusting Americanism, and can only result in the farmers

being forced to grow smaller potatoes, which in turn will cause massive un-

employment in the already severely depressed agricultural industry.

    Yours faithfully,

    Capt. Quinton D'Arcy, J.P.


        -- Letters To The Editor, The Times of London


Debug is human, de-fix divine.


DEC diagnostics would run on a dead whale.

        -- Mel Ferentz


#define BITCOUNT(x)    (((BX_(x)+(BX_(x)>>4)) & 0x0F0F0F0F) % 255)

#define  BX_(x)        ((x) - (((x)>>1)&0x77777777)            \

                 - (((x)>>2)&0x33333333)            \

                 - (((x)>>3)&0x11111111))

        -- really weird C code to count the number of bits in a word


(defun NF (a c)

  (cond ((null c) () )

    ((atom (car c))

      (append (list (eval (list 'getchar (list (car c) 'a) (cadr c))))

         (nf a (cddr c))))

    (t (append (list (implode (nf a (car c)))) (nf a (cdr c))))))

(defun AD (want-job challenging boston-area)


   ((or (not (equal want-job 'yes))

    (not (equal boston-area 'yes))

    (lessp challenging 7)) () )

   (t (append (nf  (get 'ad 'expr)

      '((caaddr 1 caadr 2 car 1 car 1)

        (car 5 cadadr 9 cadadr 8 cadadr 9 caadr 4 car 2 car 1)

        (car 2 caadr 4)))

      (list '851-5071x2661)))))

;;;     We are an affirmative action employer.


Deliver yesterday, code today, think tomorrow.


Did you know that for the price of a 280-Z you can buy two Z-80's?

        -- P. J. Plauger


Different all twisty a of in maze are you, passages little.


Digital circuits are made from analog parts.

        -- Don Vonada


Disc space -- the final frontier!



Use of this advanced computing technology does not imply an endorsement

of Western industrial civilization.


Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be

yours too."

        -- Dave Haynie


Disk crisis, please clean up!


Disks travel in packs.


Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics,

Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.


Do not meddle in the affairs of troff, for it is subtle and quick to anger.


Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make

it complex and wonderful.


Do not use the blue keys on this terminal.


Do you guys know what you're doing, or are you just hacking?



Do you want the instant respect that comes from being able to use technical

terms that nobody understands?  Do you want to strike fear and loathing into

the hearts of DP managers everywhere?  If so, then let the Famous Programmers'

School lead you on... into the world of professional computer programming.


Programming is not for everyone.  But, if you have the desire to learn, we can

help you get started.  All you need is the Famous Programmers' Course and

enough money to keep those lessons coming month after month.


To help determine if you are qualified to be a programmer, take a moment to

try this simple test:

    (1) Write down the numbers from zero to nine and the first six letters

        of the alphabet (Hint: 0123456789ABCDEF).

    (2) Whose picture is on the back of a twenty-dollar bill?

    (3) What is the state capital of Idaho?

If you managed to read all three questions without wondering why we asked

them, you may have a future as a computer programmer.


Do you suffer painful elimination?

        -- Don Knuth, "Structured Programming with Gotos"

Do you suffer painful recrimination?

        -- Nancy Boxer, "Structured Programming with Come-froms"

Do you suffer painful illumination?

        -- Isaac Newton, "Optics"

Do you suffer painful hallucination?

        -- Don Juan, cited by Carlos Casteneda


Documentation is like sex: when it is good, it is very, very good; and

when it is bad, it is better than nothing.

        -- Dick Brandon


Documentation is the castor oil of programming.

Managers know it must be good because the programmers hate it so much.


Does a good farmer neglect a crop he has planted?

Does a good teacher overlook even the most humble student?

Does a good father allow a single child to starve?

Does a good programmer refuse to maintain his code?

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Don't compare floating point numbers solely for equality.


Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading.

Debug only code.

        -- Dave Storer


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


Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros.

        -- P. Skelly


DOS Air:

All the passengers go out onto the runway, grab hold of the plane, push it

until it gets in the air, hop on, jump off when it hits the ground again.

Then they grab the plane again, push it back into the air, hop on, et



DOS Beer: Requires you to use your own can opener, and requires you to

read the directions carefully before opening the can. Originally only

came in an 8-oz. can, but now comes in a 16-oz. can. However, the can is

divided into 8 compartments of 2 oz. each, which have to be accessed

separately.  Soon to be discontinued, although a lot of people are going

to keep drinking it after it's no longer available.


Due to lack of disk space, this fortune database has been discontinued.


During the next two hours, the system will be going up and down several

times, often with lin~po_~{po       ~poz~ppo\~{ o n~po_ ~{o[po     ~y oodsou>#w4k**n~po_ ~{ol;lkld;f;g;dd;po\~{o


E Pluribus Unix


Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs.

        -- Kernighan


Each of these cults correspond to one of the two antagonists in the age of

Reformation.  In the realm of the Apple Macintosh, as in Catholic Europe,

worshipers peer devoutly into screens filled with "icons."  All is sound and

imagery and Appledom.  Even words look like decorative filigrees in exotic

typefaces.  The greatest icon of all, the inviolable Apple itself, stands in

the dominate position at the upper-left corner of the screen.  A central

corporate headquarters decrees the form of all rites and practices.

Infalliable doctrine issues from one executive officer whose selection occurs

in a sealed boardroom.  Should anyone in his curia question his powers, the

offender is excommunicated into outer darkness.  The expelled heretic founds

a new company, mutters obscurely of the coming age and the next computer,

then disappears into silence, taking his stockholders with him.  The mother

company forbids financial competition as sternly as it stifles ideological

competition; if you want to use computer programs that conform to Apple's

orthodoxy, you must buy a computer made and sold by Apple itself.

        -- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988


/earth is 98% full ... please delete anyone you can.


Earth is a beta site.


/earth: file system full.


Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because

God is not capricious or arbitrary.  No such faith comforts the software


        -- Fred Brooks


Equal bytes for women.


Error in operator: add beer


Established technology tends to persist in the face of new technology.

        -- G. Blaauw, one of the designers of System 360


Eudaemonic research proceeded with the casual mania peculiar to this part of

the world.  Nude sunbathing on the back deck was combined with phone calls to

Advanced Kinetics in Costa Mesa, American Laser Systems in Goleta, Automation

Industries in Danbury, Connecticut, Arenberg Ultrasonics in Jamaica Plain,

Massachusetts, and Hewlett Packard in Sunnyvale, California, where Norman

Packard's cousin, David, presided as chairman of the board. The trick was to

make these calls at noon, in the hope that out-to-lunch executives would return

them at their own expense.  Eudaemonic Enterprises, for all they knew, might be

a fast-growing computer company branching out of the Silicon Valley.  Sniffing

the possibility of high-volume sales, these executives little suspected that

they were talking on the other end of the line to a naked physicist crazed

over roulette.

        -- Thomas Bass, "The Eudaemonic Pie"




Even bytes get lonely for a little bit.


Ever wondered about the origins of the term "bugs" as applied to computer

technology?  U.S. Navy Capt. Grace Murray Hopper has firsthand explanation.

The 74-year-old captain, who is still on active duty, was a pioneer in

computer technology during World War II.  At the C.W. Post Center of Long

Island University, Hopper told a group of Long Island public school adminis-

trators that the first computer "bug" was a real bug--a moth.  At Harvard

one August night in 1945, Hopper and her associates were working on the

"granddaddy" of modern computers, the Mark I.  "Things were going badly;

there was something wrong in one of the circuits of the long glass-enclosed

computer," she said.  "Finally, someone located the trouble spot and, using

ordinary tweezers, removed the problem, a two-inch moth.  From then on, when

anything went wrong with a computer, we said it had bugs in it."  Hopper

said that when the veracity of her story was questioned recently, "I referred

them to my 1945 log book, now in the collection of the Naval Surface Weapons

Center, and they found the remains of that moth taped to the page in


        [actually, the term "bug" had even earlier usage in

        regard to problems with radio hardware.  Ed.]


"Every group has a couple of experts.  And every group has at least one

idiot.  Thus are balance and harmony (and discord) maintained.  It's

sometimes hard to remember this in the bulk of the flamewars that all

of the hassle and pain is generally caused by one or two highly-motivated,

caustic twits."

        -- Chuq Von Rospach, about Usenet


Every program has at least one bug and can be shortened by at least one

instruction -- from which, by induction, one can deduce that every

program can be reduced to one instruction which doesn't work.


Every program is a part of some other program, and rarely fits.


Every Solidarity center had piles and piles of paper ... everyone was

eating paper and a policeman was at the door.  Now all you have to do is

bend a disk.

        -- A member of the outlawed Polish trade union, Solidarity,

           commenting on the benefits of using computers in support

           of their movement.


Everybody needs a little love sometime; stop hacking and fall in love!


Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be

taught how ___not to.  So it is with the great programmers.


Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.


Excessive login or logout messages are a sure sign of senility.




Feeling amorous, she looked under the sheets and cried, "Oh, no,

it's Microsoft!"


Fellow programmer, greetings!  You are reading a letter which will bring

you luck and good fortune.  Just mail (or UUCP) ten copies of this letter

to ten of your friends.  Before you make the copies, send a chip or

other bit of hardware, and 100 lines of 'C' code to the first person on the

list given at the bottom of this letter.  Then delete their name and add

yours to the bottom of the list.

Don't break the chain!  Make the copy within 48 hours.  Gerald R. of San

Diego failed to send out his ten copies and woke the next morning to find

his job description changed to "COBOL programmer."  Fred A. of New York sent

out his ten copies and within a month had enough hardware and software to

build a Cray dedicated to playing Zork.  Martha H. of Chicago laughed at

this letter and broke the chain.  Shortly thereafter, a fire broke out in

her terminal and she now spends her days writing documentation for IBM PC's.

Don't break the chain!  Send out your ten copies today!


For example, if \thinmskip = 3mu, this makes \thickmskip = 6mu.  But if

you also want to use \skip12 for horizontal glue, whether in math mode or

not, the amount of skipping will be in points (e.g., 6pt).  The rule is

that glue in math mode varies with the size only when it is an \mskip;

when moving between an mskip and ordinary skip, the conversion factor

1mu=1pt is always used.  The meaning of '\mskip\skip12' and

'\baselineskip=\the\thickmskip' should be clear.

        -- Donald Knuth, TeX 82 -- Comparison with TeX80


Fly Windows NT:

All the passengers carry their seats out onto the tarmac, placing the chairs

in the outline of a plane. They all sit down, flap their arms and make jet

swooshing sounds as if they are flying.


"For that matter, compare your pocket computer with the massive jobs of

a thousand years ago.  Why not, then, the last step of doing away with

computers altogether?"

        -- Jehan Shuman




FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse

using ad hoc techniques.

        -- D. Gries

        [What's good about it?  Ed.]


FORTRAN is not a flower but a weed -- it is hardy, occasionally blooms,

and grows in every computer.

        -- A. J. Perlis


FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers.

        -- Steven Feiner


FORTRAN rots the brain.

        -- John McQuillin


FORTRAN, "the infantile disorder", by now nearly 20 years old, is hopelessly

inadequate for whatever computer application you have in mind today: it is

too clumsy, too risky, and too expensive to use.

        -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5


[FORTRAN] will persist for some time -- probably for at least the next decade.

        -- T. Cheatham


Fortune suggests uses for YOUR favorite UNIX commands!


    [Where is Jimmy Hoffa?            (C shell)

    ^How did the^sex change operation go?    (C shell)

    "How would you rate BSD vs. System V?

    %blow                    (C shell)

    'thou shalt not mow thy grass at 8am'    (C shell)

    got a light?                (C shell)

    !!:Say, what do you think of margarine?    (C shell)

    PATH=pretending! /usr/ucb/which sense    (Bourne shell)

    make love

    make "the perfect dry martini"

    man -kisses dog                (anything up to 4.3BSD)

    i=Hoffa ; >$i; $i; rm $i; rm $i        (Bourne shell)


Fortune suggests uses for YOUR favorite UNIX commands!


    ar t "God"

    drink < bottle; opener            (Bourne Shell)

    cat "food in tin cans"            (all but 4.[23]BSD)

    Hey UNIX!  Got a match?            (V6 or C shell)

    mkdir matter; cat > matter        (Bourne Shell)

    rm God

    man: Why did you get a divorce?        (C shell)

    date me                    (anything up to 4.3BSD)

    make "heads or tails of all this"

    who is smart

                        (C shell)

    If I had a ) for every dollar of the national debt, what would I have?

    sleep with me                (anything up to 4.3BSD)


fortune: cannot execute.  Out of cookies.


fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.


fortune: No such file or directory


fortune: not found


Frankly, Scarlett, I don't have a fix.

        -- Rhett Buggler


[From the operation manual for the CI-300 Dot Matrix Line Printer, made

in Japan]:

The excellent output machine of MODEL CI-300 as extraordinary DOT MATRIX

LINE PRINTER, built in two MICRO-PROCESSORs as well as EAROM, is featured by

permitting wonderful co-existence such as; "high quality against low cost,"

"diversified functions with compact design," "flexibility in accessibleness

and durability of approx. 2000,000,00 Dot/Head," "being sophisticated in

mechanism but possibly agile operating under noises being extremely

suppressed" etc.

And as a matter of course, the final goal is just simply to help achieve

"super shuttle diplomacy" between cool data, perhaps earned by HOST

COMPUTER, and warm heart of human being.


From the Pro 350 Pocket Service Guide, p. 49, Step 5 of the

instructions on removing an I/O board from the card cage, comes a new

experience in sound:

5.  Turn the handle to the right 90 degrees.  The pin-spreading

    sound is normal for this type of connector.


Function reject.


Garbage In -- Gospel Out.


GIVE:    Support the helpless victims of computer error.


Given its constituency, the only thing I expect to be "open" about [the

Open Software Foundation] is its mouth.

        -- John Gilmore


Giving up on assembly language was the apple in our Garden of Eden:  Languages

whose use squanders machine cycles are sinful.  The LISP machine now permits

LISP programmers to abandon bra and fig-leaf.

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982


Go away! Stop bothering me with all your "compute this ... compute that"!

I'm taking a VAX-NAP.





God is real, unless declared integer.


God made machine language; all the rest is the work of man.


Good evening, gentlemen.  I am a HAL 9000 computer.  I became operational

at the HAL plant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 11th, nineteen hundred

ninety-five.  My supervisor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a

song.  If you would like, I could sing it for you.


Grand Master Turing once dreamed that he was a machine.  When he awoke

he exclaimed:

    "I don't know whether I am Turing dreaming that I am a machine,

    or a machine dreaming that I am Turing!"

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


grep me no patterns and I'll tell you no lines.


Hacker's Guide To Cooking:

2 pkg. cream cheese (the mushy white stuff in silver wrappings that doesn't

    really  come from Philadelphia after all; anyway, about 16 oz.)

1 tsp. vanilla  extract  (which is more alcohol than vanilla and pretty

    strong so this part you *GOTTA* measure)

1/4 cup sugar (but honey works fine too)

8 oz. Cool Whip (the fluffy stuff devoid of nutritional value that you

    can squirt all over your friends and lick off...)

"Blend all together until creamy with no lumps."  This is where you get to

    join(1) all the raw data in a big buffer and then filter it through

    merge(1m) with the -thick option, I mean, it starts out ultra lumpy

    and icky looking and you have to work hard to mix it.  Try an electric

    beater if you have a cat(1) that can climb wall(1s) to lick it off

    the ceiling(3m).

"Pour into a graham cracker crust..."  Aha, the BUGS section at last.  You

    just happened  to have a GCC sitting around under /etc/food, right?

    If not, don't panic(8), merely crumble a rand(3m) handful of innocent

    GCs into a suitable tempfile and mix in some melted butter.

"...and  refrigerate for an hour."  Leave the  recipe's  stdout in a fridge

    for 3.6E6 milliseconds while you work on cleaning up stderr, and

    by time out your cheesecake will be ready for stdin.


Hackers are just a migratory lifeform with a tropism for computers.


Hackers of the world, unite!


Hacking's just another word for nothing left to kludge.


/* Halley */

    (Halley's comment.)


Happiness is a hard disk.


Happiness is twin floppies.


    Hardware met Software on the road to Changtse.  Software said: "You

are the Yin and I am the Yang.  If we travel together we will become famous

and earn vast sums of money."  And so the pair set forth together, thinking

to conquer the world.

    Presently, they met Firmware, who was dressed in tattered rags, and

hobbled along propped on a thorny stick.  Firmware said to them: "The Tao

lies beyond Yin and Yang.  It is silent and still as a pool of water.  It does

not seek fame, therefore nobody knows its presence.  It does not seek fortune,

for it is complete within itself.  It exists beyond space and time."

    Software and Hardware, ashamed, returned to their homes.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    "Has anyone had problems with the computer accounts?"

    "Yes, I don't have one."

    "Okay, you can send mail to one of the tutors ..."

        -- E. D'Azevedo, Computer Science 372


Has everyone noticed that all the letters of the word "database" are

typed with the left hand?  Now the layout of the QWERTYUIOP typewriter

keyboard was designed, among other things, to facilitate the even use

of both hands.  It follows, therefore, that writing about databases is

not only unnatural, but a lot harder than it appears.


Have you reconsidered a computer career?


He's like a function -- he returns a value, in the form of his opinion.

It's up to you to cast it into a void or not.

        -- Phil Lapsley



Details at 11.


Help me, I'm a prisoner in a Fortune cookie file!


Help stamp out Mickey-Mouse computer interfaces -- Menus are for Restaurants!


Help!  I'm trapped in a Chinese computer factory!


Help!  I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!


HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!


Heuristics are bug ridden by definition.  If they didn't have bugs,

then they'd be algorithms.








How can you work when the system's so crowded?


"How do I love thee?  My accumulator overflows."


    How many seconds are there in a year?  If I tell you there  are

3.155  x  10^7, you won't even try to remember it.  On the other hand,

who could forget that, to within half a percent, pi seconds is a


        -- Tom Duff, Bell Labs


How much does it cost to entice a dope-smoking UNIX system guru to Dayton?

        -- Brian Boyle, UNIX/WORLD's First Annual Salary Survey


How much net work could a network work, if a network could net work?


Hug me now, you mad, impetuous fool!!

    Oh wait...

        I'm a computer, and you're a person.  It would never work out.

            Never mind.


I *____knew* I had some reason for not logging you off... If I could just

remember what it was.


I am a computer. I am dumber than any human and smarter than any administrator.




I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party.

        -- Dennis Ritchie


I am professionally trained in computer science, which is to say

(in all seriousness) that I am extremely poorly educated.

        -- Joseph Weizenbaum, "Computer Power and Human Reason"


I am the wandering glitch -- catch me if you can.


I asked the engineer who designed the communication terminal's keyboards

why these were not manufactured in a central facility, in view of the

small number needed [1 per month] in his factory.  He explained that this

would be contrary to the political concept of local self-sufficiency.

Therefore, each factory needing keyboards, no matter how few, manufactures

them completely, even molding the keypads.

        -- Isaac Auerbach, IEEE "Computer", Nov. 1979


I bet the human brain is a kludge.

        -- Marvin Minsky


I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.


I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate

of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ...

        -- F. H. Wales (1936)


I do not fear computers.  I fear the lack of them.

        -- Isaac Asimov


I had the rare misfortune of being one of the first people to try and

implement a PL/1 compiler.

        -- T. Cheatham


I have a very small mind and must live with it.

        -- E. Dijkstra


I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck.

        -- Rob Pike, on X.

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be

gone in two years.  He was half right.

        -- Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong.

        -- Jim Gettys


I have not yet begun to byte!


I have sacrificed time, health, and fortune, in the desire to complete these

Calculating Engines.  I have also declined several offers of great personal

advantage to myself.  But, notwithstanding the sacrifice of these advantages

for the purpose of maturing an engine of almost intellectual power, and

after expending from my own private fortune a larger sum than the government

of England has spent on that machine, the execution of which it only

commenced, I have received neither an acknowledgement of my labors, not even

the offer of those honors or rewards which are allowed to fall within the

reach of men who devote themselves to purely scientific investigations...

    If the work upon which I have bestowed so much time and thought were

a mere triumph over mechanical difficulties, or simply curious, or if the

execution of such engines were of doubtful practicability or utility, some

justification might be found for the course which has been taken; but I

venture to assert that no mathematician who has a reputation to lose will

ever publicly express an opinion that such a machine would be useless if

made, and that no man distinguished as a civil engineer will venture to

declare the construction of such machinery impracticable...

    And at a period when the progress of physical science is obstructed

by that exhausting intellectual and manual labor, indispensable for its

advancement, which it is the object of the Analytical Engine to relieve, I

think the application of machinery in aid of the most complicated and abtruse

calculations can no longer be deemed unworthy of the attention of the country.

In fact, there is no reason why mental as well as bodily labor should not

be economized by the aid of machinery.

        -- Charles Babbage, "The Life of a Philosopher"


I have travelled the length and breadth of this country, and have talked with

the best people in business administration.  I can assure you on the highest

authority that data processing is a fad and won't last out the year.

        -- Editor in charge of business books at Prentice-Hall

           publishers, responding to Karl V. Karlstrom (a junior

           editor who had recommended a manuscript on the new

           science of data processing), c. 1957


I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.


I must have slipped a disk -- my pack hurts!


I think there's a world market for about five computers.

        -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943


I went on to test the program in every way I could devise.  I strained

it to expose its weaknesses.  I ran it for high-mass stars and low-mass

stars, for stars born exceedingly hot and those born relatively cold.

I ran it assuming the superfluid currents beneath the crust to be

absent -- not because I wanted to know the answer, but because I had

developed an intuitive feel for the answer in this particular case.

Finally I got a run in which the computer showed the pulsar's

temperature to be less than absolute zero.  I had found an error.  I

chased down the error and fixed it.  Now I had improved the program to

the point where it would not run at all.

        -- George Greenstein, "Frozen Star: Of Pulsars, Black

           Holes and the Fate of Stars"


I went to my first computer conference at the New York Hilton about 20

years ago.  When somebody there predicted the market for microprocessors

would eventually be in the millions, someone else said, "Where are they

all going to go? It's not like you need a computer in every doorknob!"

Years later, I went back to the same hotel.  I noticed the room keys had

been replaced by electronic cards you slide into slots in the doors.

There was a computer in every doorknob.

        -- Danny Hillis


I wish you humans would leave me alone.


I'm a Lisp variable -- bind me!


I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.


I'm not even going to *______bother* comparing C to BASIC or FORTRAN.

        -- L. Zolman, creator of BDS C


I'm still waiting for the advent of the computer science groupie.


    I'm sure that VMS is completely documented, I just haven't found the

right manual yet.  I've been working my way through the manuals in the document

library and I'm half way through the second cabinet, (3 shelves to go), so I

should find what I'm looking for by mid May.  I hope I can remember what it

was by the time I find it.

    I had this idea for a new horror film, "VMS Manuals from Hell" or maybe

"The Paper Chase : IBM vs. DEC".  It's based on Hitchcock's "The Birds", except

that it's centered around a programmer who is attacked by a swarm of binder

pages with an index number and the single line "This page intentionally left


        -- Alex Crain


I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means.  It means we get to

keep all our old mistakes.

        -- Dennie van Tassel


I've looked at the listing, and it's right!

        -- Joel Halpern


I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few

simple heuristics you have to remember...

Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.


I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.


IBM Advanced Systems Group -- a bunch of mindless jerks, who'll be first

against the wall when the revolution comes...

        -- with regrets to D. Adams


If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape

at about 30 miles/second.

        -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming


If a group of _N persons implements a COBOL compiler, there will be _N-1

passes.  Someone in the group has to be the manager.

        -- T. Cheatham


If a listener nods his head when you're explaining your program, wake him up.


If a train station is a place where a train stops, what's a workstation?


If addiction is judged by how long a dumb animal will sit pressing a lever

to get a "fix" of something, to its own detriment, then I would conclude

that netnews is far more addictive than cocaine.

        -- Rob Stampfli


If at first you don't succeed, you must be a programmer.


If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs,

then the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization.


If computers take over (which seems to be their natural tendency), it will

serve us right.

        -- Alistair Cooke


If God had a beard, he'd be a UNIX programmer.


If God had intended Man to program, we'd be born with serial I/O ports.


If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of

fresh paint?


If he once again pushes up his sleeves in order to compute for 3 days

and 3 nights in a row, he will spend a quarter of an hour before to

think which principles of computation shall be most appropriate.

        -- Voltaire, "Diatribe du docteur Akakia"


If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the

shoulders of giants.

        -- Isaac Newton

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with

the giants on whose shoulders we stand.

        -- Gerald Holton

If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on

my shoulders.

        -- Hal Abelson

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders.

        -- Gauss

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists

stand on each other's toes.

        -- Richard Hamming

It has been said that physicists stand on one another's shoulders.  If

this is the case, then programmers stand on one another's toes, and

software engineers dig each other's graves.

        -- Unknown


If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have

given up being a rock 'n' roll star.

        -- G. Hirst


If it happens once, it's a bug.

If it happens twice, it's a feature.

If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.


If it has syntax, it isn't user friendly.


If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.


If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.


If just one piece of mail gets lost, well, they'll just think they forgot

to send it.  But if *two* pieces of mail get lost, hell, they'll just think

the other guy hasn't gotten around to answering his mail.  And if *fifty*

pieces of mail get lost, can you imagine it, if *fifty* pieces of mail get

lost, why they'll think someone *else* is broken!  And if 1Gb of mail gets

lost, they'll just *know* that Arpa [ucbarpa.berkeley.edu] is down and

think it's a conspiracy to keep them from their God given right to receive

Net Mail ...

        -- Casey Leedom


If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG.

        -- Phil Lapsley


If Machiavelli were a programmer, he'd have worked for AT&T.


"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem."

        -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234


If the automobile had followed the same development as the computer, a

Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per per gallon,

and explode once a year killing everyone inside.

        -- Robert Cringely, InfoWorld


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

        -- Norm Schryer


If the designers of X-window built cars, there would be no fewer than five

steering wheels hidden about the cockpit, none of which followed the same

principles -- but you'd be able to shift gears with your car stereo.  Useful

feature, that.

        -- From the programming notebooks of a heretic, 1990.


    If the Tao is great, then the operating system is great.  If the

operating system is great, then the compiler is great.  If the compiler

is great, then the application is great.  If the application is great, then

the user is pleased and there is harmony in the world.

    The Tao gave birth to machine language.  Machine language gave birth

to the assembler.

    The assembler gave birth to the compiler.  Now there are ten thousand


    Each language has its purpose, however humble.  Each language

expresses the Yin and Yang of software.  Each language has its place within

the Tao.

    But do not program in COBOL if you can avoid it.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


If the vendors started doing everything right, we would be out of a job.

Let's hear it for OSI and X!  With those babies in the wings, we can count

on being employed until we drop, or get smart and switch to gardening,

paper folding, or something.

        -- C. Philip Wood


If this is timesharing, give me my share right now.


If you ever want to have a lot of fun, I recommend that you go off and program

an imbedded system.  The salient characteristic of an imbedded system is that

it cannot be allowed to get into a state from which only direct intervention

will suffice to remove it.  An imbedded system can't permanently trust anything

it hears from the outside world.  It must sniff around, adapt, consider, sniff

around, and adapt again.  I'm not talking about ordinary modular programming

carefulness here.  No.  Programming an imbedded system calls for undiluted

raging maniacal paranoia.  For example, our ethernet front ends need to know

what network number they are on so that they can address and route PUPs

properly.  How do you find out what your network number is?  Easy, you ask a

gateway.  Gateways are required by definition to know their correct network

numbers.  Once you've got your network number, you start using it and before

you can blink you've got it wired into fifteen different sockets spread all

over creation.  Now what happens when the panic-stricken operator realizes he

was running the wrong version of the gateway which was giving out the wrong

network number?  Never supposed to happen.  Tough.  Supposing that your

software discovers that the gateway is now giving out a different network

number than before, what's it supposed to do about it?  This is not discussed

in the protocol document.  Never supposed to happen.  Tough.  I think you

get my drift.


If you have a procedure with 10 parameters, you probably missed some.


If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery.

But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine,

is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticise it.

        -- Pierre Gallois


If you teach your children to like computers and to know how to gamble

then they'll always be interested in something and won't come to no real harm.


If you think the system is working, ask someone who's waiting for a prompt.


If you're crossing the nation in a covered wagon, it's better to have four

strong oxen than 100 chickens.  Chickens are OK but we can't make them work

together yet.

        -- Ross Bott, Pyramid U.S., on multiprocessors at AUUGM '89.


Ignorance is bliss.

        -- Thomas Gray

Fortune updates the great quotes, #42:

    BLISS is ignorance.


Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual

way.  This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of


        -- Jeff Raskin


Imagine that Cray computer decides to make a personal computer.  It has

a 150 MHz processor, 200 megabytes of RAM, 1500 megabytes of disk

storage, a screen resolution of 4096 x 4096 pixels, relies entirely on

voice recognition for input, fits in your shirt pocket and costs $300.

What's the first question that the computer community asks?

"Is it PC compatible?"



Due to a recent systems overload error your recent disk files have been

erased.  Therefore, in accordance with the UNIX Basic Manual, University of

Washington Geophysics Manual, and Bylaw 9(c), Section XII of the Revised

Federal Communications Act, you are being granted Temporary Disk Space,

valid for three months from this date, subject to the restrictions set forth

in Appendix II of the Federal Communications Handbook (18th edition) as well

as the references mentioned herein.  You may apply for more disk space at any

time.  Disk usage in or above the eighth percentile will secure the removal

of all restrictions and you will immediately receive your permanent disk

space.  Disk usage in the sixth or seventh percentile will not effect the

validity of your temporary disk space, though its expiration date may be

extended for a period of up to three months.  A score in the fifth percentile

or below will result in the withdrawal of your Temporary Disk space.


In a display of perverse brilliance, Carl the repairman mistakes a room

humidifier for a mid-range computer but manages to tie it into the network


        -- The 5th Wave


In a five year period we can get one superb programming language.  Only

we can't control when the five year period will begin.


In a surprise raid last night, federal agents ransacked a house in search

of a rebel computer hacker.  However, they were unable to complete the arrest

because the warrant was made out in the name of Don Provan, while the only

person in the house was named don provan.  Proving, once again, that Unix is

superior to Tops10.


In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks)

are to be treated as variables.


In any problem, if you find yourself doing an infinite amount of work,

the answer may be obtained by inspection.


In computing, the mean time to failure keeps getting shorter.


In English, every word can be verbed.  Would that it were so in our

programming languages.


In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.


In fact, S. M. Simpson, eventually devised an efficient 24-point Fourier

transform, which was a precursor to the Cooley-Tukey fast Fourier transform

in 1965.  The FFT made all of Simpson's efficient autocorrelation and

spectrum programs instantly obsolete, on which he had worked half a lifetime.

        -- Proc. IEEE, Sept. 1982, p.900


In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on

... the overriding problem of war and peace.

        -- James Slagle


In practice, failures in system development, like unemployment in Russia,

happens a lot despite official propaganda to the contrary.

        -- Paul Licker


In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way.

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982


    In the beginning there was data.  The data was without form and

null, and darkness was upon the face of the console; and the Spirit of

IBM was moving over the face of the market.  And DEC said, "Let there

be registers"; and there were registers.  And DEC saw that they

carried; and DEC separated the data from the instructions.  DEC called

the data Stack, and the instructions they called Code.  And there was

evening and there was morning, one interrupt.

        -- Rico Tudor, "The Story of Creation or, The Myth of Urk"


    In the beginning was the Tao.  The Tao gave birth to Space and Time.

Therefore, Space and Time are the Yin and Yang of programming.

    Programmers that do not comprehend the Tao are always running out of

time and space for their programs.  Programmers that comprehend the Tao always

have enough time and space to accomplish their goals.

    How could it be otherwise?

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    In the days when Sussman was a novice Minsky once came to him as he

sat hacking at the PDP-6.

    "What are you doing?", asked Minsky.

    "I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe."

    "Why is the net wired randomly?", inquired Minsky.

    "I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play".

    At this Minsky shut his eyes, and Sussman asked his teacher "Why do

you close your eyes?"

    "So that the room will be empty."

    At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.


    In the east there is a shark which is larger than all other fish.  It

changes into a bird whose winds are like clouds filling the sky.  When this

bird moves across the land, it brings a message from Corporate Headquarters.

This message it drops into the midst of the programmers, like a seagull

making its mark upon the beach.  Then the bird mounts on the wind and, with

the blue sky at its back, returns home.

    The novice programmer stares in wonder at the bird, for he understands

it not.  The average programmer dreads the coming of the bird, for he fears

its message.  The master programmer continues to work at his terminal, for he

does not know that the bird has come and gone.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


In the future, you're going to get computers as prizes in breakfast cereals.

You'll throw them out because your house will be littered with them.


In the long run, every program becomes rococco, and then rubble.

        -- Alan Perlis


... in three to eight years we will have a machine with the general

intelligence of an average human being ... The machine will begin

to educate itself with fantastic speed.  In a few months it will be

at genius level and a few months after that its powers will be

incalculable ...

        -- Marvin Minsky, LIFE Magazine, November 20, 1970


Intel CPUs are not defective, they just act that way.

        -- Henry Spencer


>>> Internal error in fortune program:

>>>    fnum=2987  n=45  flag=1  goose_level=-232323

>>> Please write down these values and notify fortune program administrator.


Introducing, the 1010, a one-bit processor.


    Code    Mnemonic    What

    0    NOP        No Operation

    1    JMP        Jump (address specified by next 2 bits)

Now Available for only 12 1/2 cents!


IOT trap -- core dumped


Is a computer language with goto's totally Wirth-less?


Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to

be discarded:  that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?


: is not an identifier


Is your job running?  You'd better go catch it!


    It appears that after his death, Albert Einstein found himself

working as the doorkeeper at the Pearly Gates.  One slow day, he

found that he had time to chat with the new entrants.  To the first one

he asked, "What's your IQ?"  The new arrival replied, "190".  They

discussed Einstein's theory of relativity for hours.  When the second

new arrival came, Einstein once again inquired as to the newcomer's

IQ.  The answer this time came "120".  To which Einstein replied, "Tell

me, how did the Cubs do this year?" and they proceeded to talk for half

an hour or so.  To the final arrival, Einstein once again posed the

question, "What's your IQ?".  Upon receiving the answer "70",

Einstein smiled and replied, "Got a minute to tell me about VMS 4.0?"


It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely

used higher level language for systems programming.

        -- J. Sammet


    It is a period of system war.  User programs, striking from a hidden

directory, have won their first victory against the evil Administrative Empire.

During the battle, User spies managed to steal secret source code to the

Empire's ultimate program: the Are-Em Star, a privileged root program with

enough power to destroy an entire file structure.  Pursued by the Empire's

sinister audit trail, Princess _LPA0 races ~ aboard her shell script,

custodian of the stolen listings that could save her people, and restore

freedom and games to the network...

        -- DECWARS


It is a very humbling experience to make a multimillion-dollar mistake, but

it is also very memorable.  I vividly recall the night we decided how to

organize the actual writing of external specifications for OS/360.  The

manager of architecture, the manager of control program implementation, and

I were threshing out the plan, schedule, and division of responsibilities.

    The architecture manager had 10 good men.  He asserted that they

could write the specifications and do it right.  It would take ten months,

three more than the schedule allowed.

    The control program manager had 150 men.  He asserted that they

could prepare the specifications, with the architecture team coordinating;

it would be well-done and practical, and he could do it on schedule.

Furthermore, if the architecture team did it, his 150 men would sit twiddling

their thumbs for ten months.

    To this the architecture manager responded that if I gave the control

program team the responsibility, the result would not in fact be on time,

but would also be three months late, and of much lower quality.  I did, and

it was.  He was right on both counts.  Moreover, the lack of conceptual

integrity made the system far more costly to build and change, and I would

estimate that it added a year to debugging time.

        -- Frederick Brooks Jr., "The Mythical Man Month"


It is against the grain of modern education to teach children to program.

What fun is there in making plans, acquiring discipline in organizing

thoughts, devoting attention to detail, and learning to be self-critical?

        -- Alan Perlis


It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.


It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.


... it is easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the

sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all.  In other

words... their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their

superficial design flaws.

        -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, on the products

               of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.


It is now pitch dark.  If you proceed, you will likely fall into a pit.


It is possible by ingenuity and at the expense of clarity... {to do almost

anything in any language}.  However, the fact that it is possible to push

a pea up a mountain with your nose does not mean that this is a sensible

way of getting it there.  Each of these techniques of language extension

should be used in its proper place.

        -- Christopher Strachey


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, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5


[It is] best to confuse only one issue at a time.

        -- K&R


It isn't easy being the parent of a six-year-old.  However, it's a pretty small

price to pay for having somebody around the house who understands computers.


It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more

doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage, than the creation of

a new system.  For the initiator has the emnity of all who would profit

by the preservation of the old institutions and merely lukewarm defenders

in those who would gain by the new ones.

        -- Niccolo Machiavelli, 1513


"It runs like _x, where _x is something unsavory"

        -- Prof. Romas Aleliunas, CS 435


    It took 300 years to build and by the time it was 10% built,

everyone knew it would be a total disaster. But by then the investment

was so big they felt compelled to go on. Since its completion, it has

cost a fortune to maintain and is still in danger of collapsing.

    There are at present no plans to replace it, since it was never

really needed in the first place.

    I expect every installation has its own pet software which is

analogous to the above.

        -- K. E. Iverson, on the Leaning Tower of Pisa


It turned out that the worm exploited three or four different holes in the

system.  From this, and the fact that we were able to capture and examine

some of the source code, we realized that we were dealing with someone very

sharp, probably not someone here on campus.

        -- Dr. Richard LeBlanc, associate professor of ICS, in

           Georgia Tech's campus newspaper after the Internet worm.


It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're

stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm.

        -- Dion, noted computer scientist


It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I

think you'll be amused by its presumption.


It's multiple choice time...

    What is FORTRAN?

    a: Between thre and fiv tran.

    b: What two computers engage in before they interface.

    c: Ridiculous.


"It's not just a computer -- it's your ass."

        -- Cal Keegan


It's ten o'clock; do you know where your processes are?


... Jesus cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth; the bug hath been

found and thy program runneth.  And he that was dead came forth...

        -- John 11:43-44 [version 2.0?]


Just about every computer on the market today runs Unix, except the Mac

(and nobody cares about it).

        -- Bill Joy 6/21/85


Just go with the flow control, roll with the crunches, and, when you get

a prompt, type like hell.


Keep the number of passes in a compiler to a minimum.

        -- D. Gries


Kiss your keyboard goodbye!


Know Thy User.


((lambda (foo) (bar foo)) (baz))


`Lasu' Releases SAG 0.3 -- Freeware Book Takes Paves For New World Order

by staff writers


    The central Superhighway site called ``sunsite.unc.edu''

collapsed in the morning before the release.  News about the release had

been leaked by a German hacker group, Harmonious Hardware Hackers, who

had cracked into the author's computer earlier in the week.  They had

got the release date wrong by one day, and caused dozens of eager fans

to connect to the sunsite computer at the wrong time.  ``No computer can

handle that kind of stress,'' explained the mourning sunsite manager,

Erik Troan.  ``The spinning disks made the whole computer jump, and

finally it crashed through the floor to the basement.''  Luckily,

repairs were swift and the computer was working again the same evening.

``Thank God we were able to buy enough needles and thread and patch it

together without major problems.''  The site has also installed a new

throttle on the network pipe, allowing at most four clients at the same

time, thus making a new crash less likely.  ``The book is now in our

Incoming folder'', says Troan, ``and you're all welcome to come and get it.''

        -- Lars Wirzenius <wirzeniu@cs.helsinki.fi>



`Lasu' Releases SAG 0.3 -- Freeware Book Takes Paves For New World Order

by staff writers


    The SAG is one of the major products developed via the Information

Superhighway, the brain child of Al Gore, US Vice President.  The ISHW

is being developed with massive govenment funding, since studies show

that it already has more than four hundred users, three years before

the first prototypes are ready.  Asked whether he was worried about the

foreign influence in an expensive American Dream, the vice president

said, ``Finland?  Oh, we've already bought them, but we haven't told

anyone yet.  They're great at building model airplanes as well.  And _I

can spell potato.''  House representatives are not mollified, however,

wanting to see the terms of the deal first, fearing another Alaska.

    Rumors about the SAG release have imbalanced the American stock

market for weeks.  Several major publishing houses reached an all time

low in the New York Stock Exchange, while publicly competing for the

publishing agreement with Mr. Wirzenius.  The negotiations did not work

out, tough.  ``Not enough dough,'' says the author, although spokesmen

at both Prentice-Hall and Playboy, Inc., claim the author was incapable

of expressing his wishes in a coherent form during face to face talks,

preferring to communicate via e-mail.  ``He kept muttering something

about jiffies and pegs,'' they say.


        -- Lars Wirzenius <wirzeniu@cs.helsinki.fi>



`Lasu' Releases SAG 0.3 -- Freeware Book Takes Paves For New World Order

by staff writers

Helsinki, Finland, August 6, 1995 -- In a surprise movement, Lars

``Lasu'' Wirzenius today released the 0.3 edition of the ``Linux System

Administrators' Guide''.  Already an industry non-classic, the new

version sports such overwhelming features as an overview of a Linux

system, a completely new climbing session in a tree, and a list of

acknowledgements in the introduction.

    The SAG, as the book is affectionately called, is one of the

corner stones of the Linux Documentation Project.  ``We at the LDP feel

that we wouldn't be able to produce anything at all, that all our work

would be futile, if it weren't for the SAG,'' says Matt Welsh, director

of LDP, Inc.

    The new version is still distributed freely, now even with a

copyright that allows modification.  ``More dough,'' explains the author.

Despite insistent rumors about blatant commercialization, the SAG will

probably remain free.  ``Even more dough,'' promises the author.

    The author refuses to comment on Windows NT and Windows 96

versions, claiming not to understand what the question is about.

Industry gossip, however, tells that Bill Gates, co-founder and CEO of

Microsoft, producer of the Windows series of video games, has visited

Helsinki several times this year.  Despite of this, Linus Torvalds,

author of the word processor Linux with which the SAG was written, is

not worried.  ``We'll have world domination real soon now, anyway,'' he

explains, ``for 1.4 at the lastest.''


        -- Lars Wirzenius <wirzeniu@cs.helsinki.fi>



Let the machine do the dirty work.

        -- "Elements of Programming Style", Kernighan and Ritchie


Leveraging always beats prototyping.


Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code.

        -- Dave Olson


Like punning, programming is a play on words.


Line Printer paper is strongest at the perforations.


Lisp Users:

Due to the holiday next Monday, there will be no garbage collection.


Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated

computer network!  It was a Tolkien Ring...


Logic doesn't apply to the real world.

        -- Marvin Minsky


LOGO for the Dead

LOGO for the Dead lets you continue your computing activities from

"The Other Side."

The package includes a unique telecommunications feature which lets you

turn your TRS-80 into an electronic Ouija board.  Then, using Logo's

graphics capabilities, you can work with a friend or relative on this

side of the Great Beyond to write programs.  The software requires that

your body be hardwired to an analog-to-digital converter, which is then

interfaced to your computer.  A special terminal (very terminal) program

lets you talk with the users through Deadnet, an EBBS (Ectoplasmic

Bulletin Board System).

LOGO for the Dead is available for 10 percent of your estate

from NecroSoft inc., 6502 Charnelhouse Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44101.

        -- '80 Microcomputing


    Long ago, in a finite state far away, there lived a JOVIAL

character named Jack.  Jack and his relations were poor.  Often their

hash table was bare.  One day Jack's parent said to him, "Our matrices

are sparse.  You must go to the market to exchange our RAM for some

BASICs."  She compiled a linked list of items to retrieve and passed it

to him.

    So Jack set out.  But as he was walking along a Hamilton path,

he met the traveling salesman.

    "Whither dost thy flow chart take thou?" prompted the salesman

in high-level language.

    "I'm going to the market to exchange this RAM for some chips

and Apples," commented Jack.

    "I have a much better algorithm.  You needn't join a queue

there; I will swap your RAM for these magic kernels now."

    Jack made the trade, then backtracked to his house.  But when

he told his busy-waiting parent of the deal, she became so angry she

started thrashing.

    "Don't you even have any artificial intelligence?  All these

kernels together hardly make up one byte," and she popped them out the


        -- Mark Isaak, "Jack and the Beanstack"


Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.


Loose bits sink chips.


Mac Airways:

The cashiers, flight attendants and pilots all look the same, feel the same

and act the same. When asked questions about the flight, they reply that you

don't want to know, don't need to know and would you please return to your

seat and watch the movie.


Mac Beer: At first, came only a 16-oz. can, but now comes in a 32-oz.

can. Considered by many to be a "light" beer. All the cans look

identical. When you take one from the fridge, it opens itself. The

ingredients list is not on the can. If you call to ask about the

ingredients, you are told that "you don't need to know." A notice on the

side reminds you to drag your empties to the trashcan.


MAC user's dynamic debugging list evaluator?  Never heard of that.


    "Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years."

    "What about X?"

    "I said `intellectual'."

        ;login, 9/1990


Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate,

and play games -- but not with pleasure.

        -- Leo Rosten


Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.


Make sure your code does nothing gracefully.


Making files is easy under the UNIX operating system.  Therefore, users

tend to create numerous files using large amounts of file space.  It has

been said that the only standard thing about all UNIX systems is the

message-of-the-day telling users to clean up their files.

        -- System V.2 administrator's guide


Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the

only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.

        -- Wernher von Braun


Many companies that have made themselves dependent on [the equipment of a

certain major manufacturer] (and in doing so have sold their soul to the

devil) will collapse under the sheer weight of the unmastered complexity of

their data processing systems.

        -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5


Many of the convicted thieves Parker has met began their

life of crime after taking college Computer Science courses.

        -- Roger Rapoport, "Programs for Plunder", Omni, March 1981


Martin was probably ripping them off.  That's some family, isn't it?

Incest, prostitution, fanaticism, software.

        -- Charles Willeford, "Miami Blues"


Marvelous!  The super-user's going to boot me!

What a finely tuned response to the situation!




May all your PUSHes be POPped.


May Euell Gibbons eat your only copy of the manual!


May the bluebird of happiness twiddle your bits.


Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology.

        -- R. S. Barton


Meantime, in the slums below Ronnie's Ranch, Cynthia feels as if some one

has made voodoo boxen of her and her favorite backplanes. On this fine

moonlit night, some horrible persona has been jabbing away at, dragging

magnets over, and surging these voodoo boxen.  Fortunately, they seem to

have gotten a bit bored and fallen asleep, for it looks like Cynthia may

get to go home.  However, she has made note to quickly put together a totem

of sweaty, sordid static straps, random bits of wire, flecks of once meaningful

oxide, bus grant cards, gummy worms, and some bits of old pdp backplane to

hang above the machine room.  This totem must be blessed by the old and wise

venerable god of unibus at once, before the idolatization of vme, q and pc

bus drive him to bitter revenge.  Alas, if this fails, and the voodoo boxen

aren't destroyed,  there may be more than worms in the apple. Next, the

arrival of voodoo optico transmitigational magneto killer paramecium, capable

of teleporting from cable to cable, screen to screen, ear to ear and hoof

to mouth...


Memory fault - where am I?


Memory fault -- brain fried


Memory fault -- core...uh...um...core... Oh dammit, I forget!


MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.


Message from Our Sponsor on ttyTV at 13:58 ...


Modeling paged and segmented memories is tricky business.

        -- P. J. Denning


Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?


Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.




    Mr. Jones related an incident from "some time back" when IBM Canada

Ltd. of Markham, Ont., ordered some parts from a new supplier in Japan.  The

company noted in its order that acceptable quality allowed for 1.5 per cent

defects (a fairly high standard in North America at the time).

    The Japanese sent the order, with a few parts packaged separately in

plastic. The accompanying letter said: "We don't know why you want 1.5 per

cent defective parts, but for your convenience, we've packed them separately."

        -- Excerpted from an article in The (Toronto) Globe and Mail


MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way.

        -- Henry Spencer


Much of the excitement we get out of our work is that we don't really

know what we are doing.

        -- E. Dijkstra


Multics is security spelled sideways.


MVS Air Lines:

The passengers all gather in the hangar, watching hundreds of technicians

check the flight systems on this immense, luxury aircraft. This plane has at

least 10 engines and seats over 1,000 passengers; bigger models in the fleet

can have more engines than anyone can count and fly even more passengers

than there are on Earth. It is claimed to cost less per passenger mile to

operate these humungous planes than any other aircraft ever built, unless

you personally have to pay for the ticket. All the passengers scramble

aboard, as do the 200 technicians needed to keep it from crashing. The pilot

takes his place up in the glass cockpit. He guns the engines, only to

realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.


My God, I'm depressed!  Here I am, a computer with a mind a thousand times

as powerful as yours, doing nothing but cranking out fortunes and sending

mail about softball games.  And I've got this pain right through my ALU.

I've asked for it to be replaced, but nobody ever listens.  I think it would

be better for us both if you were to just log out again.


My sister opened a computer store in Hawaii.  She sells C shells down

by the seashore.


    n = ((n >>  1) & 0x55555555) | ((n <<  1) & 0xaaaaaaaa);

    n = ((n >>  2) & 0x33333333) | ((n <<  2) & 0xcccccccc);

    n = ((n >>  4) & 0x0f0f0f0f) | ((n <<  4) & 0xf0f0f0f0);

    n = ((n >>  8) & 0x00ff00ff) | ((n <<  8) & 0xff00ff00);

    n = ((n >> 16) & 0x0000ffff) | ((n << 16) & 0xffff0000);

        -- C code which reverses the bits in a word.


Nearly every complex solution to a programming problem that I

have looked at carefully has turned out to be wrong.

        -- Brent Welch


Never make anything simple and efficient when a way can be found to

make it complex and wonderful.


Never put off till run-time what you can do at compile-time.

        -- D. Gries


Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle.

        -- Steinbach


Never trust a computer you can't repair yourself.


Never trust an operating system.


Never try to explain computers to a layman.  It's easier to explain

sex to a virgin.

        -- Robert Heinlein

(Note, however, that virgins tend to know a lot about computers.)


Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes.

        -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS


New crypt.  See /usr/news/crypt.


New systems generate new problems.


*** NEWS FLASH ***

Archeologists find PDP-11/24 inside brain cavity of fossilized dinosaur

skeleton!  Many Digital users fear that RSX-11M may be even more primitive

than DEC admits.  Price adjustments at 11:00.


news: gotcha


Niklaus Wirth has lamented that, whereas Europeans pronounce his name correctly

(Ni-klows Virt), Americans invariably mangle it into (Nick-les Worth).  Which

is to say that Europeans call him by name, but Americans call him by value.


No directory.


No extensible language will be universal.

        -- T. Cheatham


No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware

until three software guys have signed off for it.

        -- Andy Tanenbaum


No line available at 300 baud.


No man is an island if he's on at least one mailing list.


No part of this message may reproduce, store itself in a retrieval system,

or transmit disease, in any form, without the permissiveness of the author.

        -- Chris Shaw


No proper program contains an indication which as an operator-applied

occurrence identifies an operator-defining occurrence which as an

indication-applied occurrence identifies an indication-defining occurrence

different from the one identified by the given indication as an

indication-applied occurrence.

        -- ALGOL 68 Report


No wonder Clairol makes so much money selling shampoo.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat is an infinite loop!


No, I'm not interested in developing a powerful brain.  All I'm after is

just a mediocre brain, something like the president of American Telephone

and Telegraph Company.

        -- Alan Turing on the possibilities of a thinking

           machine, 1943.


Nobody said computers were going to be polite.


Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start

coming in late and lying about it.


My little brother got this fortune:

    nohup rm -fr /&

So he did...


Norbert Weiner was the subject of many dotty professor stories.  Weiner was, in

fact, very absent minded.  The following story is told about him: when they

moved from Cambridge to Newton his wife, knowing that he would be absolutely

useless on the move, packed him off to MIT while she directed the move.  Since

she was certain that he would forget that they had moved and where they had

moved to, she wrote down the new address on a piece of paper, and gave it to

him.  Naturally, in the course of the day, an insight occurred to him.  He

reached in his pocket, found a piece of paper on which he furiously scribbled

some notes, thought it over, decided there was a fallacy in his idea, and

threw the piece of paper away.  At the end of the day he went home (to the

old address in Cambridge, of course).  When he got there he realized that they

had moved, that he had no idea where they had moved to, and that the piece of

paper with the address was long gone.  Fortunately inspiration struck.  There

was a young girl on the street and he conceived the idea of asking her where

he had moved to, saying, "Excuse me, perhaps you know me.  I'm Norbert Weiner

and we've just moved.  Would you know where we've moved to?"  To which the

young girl replied, "Yes, Daddy, Mommy thought you would forget."

    The capper to the story is that I asked his daughter (the girl in the

story) about the truth of the story, many years later.  She said that it wasn't

quite true -- that he never forgot who his children were!  The rest of it,

however, was pretty close to what actually happened...

        -- Richard Harter


Not only is UNIX dead, it's starting to smell really bad.

        -- Rob Pike


NOTE: No warranties, either express or implied, are hereby given. All

software is supplied as is, without guarantee.  The user assumes all

responsibility for damages resulting from the use of these features,

including, but not limited to, frustration, disgust, system abends, disk

head-crashes, general malfeasance, floods, fires, shark attack, nerve

gas, locust infestation, cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis, local

electromagnetic disruptions, hydraulic brake system failure, invasion,

hashing collisions, normal wear and tear of friction surfaces, comic

radiation, inadvertent destruction of sensitive electronic components,

windstorms, the Riders of Nazgul, infuriated chickens, malfunctioning

mechanical or electrical sexual devices, premature activation of the

distant early warning system, peasant uprisings, halitosis, artillery

bombardment, explosions, cave-ins, and/or frogs falling from the sky.


Nothing happens.


    Now she speaks rapidly.  "Do you know *why* you want to program?"

    He shakes his head.  He hasn't the faintest idea.

    "For the sheer *joy* of programming!" she cries triumphantly.

"The joy of the parent, the artist, the craftsman.  "You take a program,

born weak and impotent as a dimly-realized solution.  You nurture the

program and guide it down the right path, building, watching it grow ever

stronger.  Sometimes you paint with tiny strokes, a keystroke added here,

a keystroke changed there."  She sweeps her arm in a wide arc.  "And other

times you savage whole *blocks* of code, ripping out the program's very

*essence*, then beginning anew.  But always building, creating, filling the

program with your own personal stamp, your own quirks and nuances.  Watching

the program grow stronger, patching it when it crashes, until finally it can

stand alone -- proud, powerful, and perfect.  This is the programmer's finest

hour!"  Softly at first, then louder, he hears the strains of a Sousa march.

"This ... this is your canvas! your clay!  Go forth and create a masterwork!"


"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm.  Gag me with a smurfette."

        -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354


"Nuclear war can ruin your whole compile."

        -- Karl Lehenbauer


Nurse Donna:    Oh, Groucho, I'm afraid I'm gonna wind up an old maid.

Groucho:    Well, bring her in and we'll wind her up together.

Nurse Donna:    Do you believe in computer dating?

Groucho:    Only if the computers really love each other.


Oh, so there you are!


Okay, Okay -- I admit it.  You didn't change that program that worked

just a little while ago; I inserted some random characters into the

executable.  Please forgive me.  You can recover the file by typing in

the code over again, since I also removed the source.


Old mail has arrived.


Old programmers never die, they just become managers.


Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.


Old programmers never die, they just hit account block limit.


On a clear disk you can seek forever.

        -- P. Denning


On the eighth day, God created FORTRAN.


On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

        -- Cartoon caption


    On the other hand, the TCP camp also has a phrase for OSI people.

There are lots of phrases.  My favorite is `nitwit' -- and the rationale

is the Internet philosophy has always been you have extremely bright,

non-partisan researchers look at a topic, do world-class research, do

several competing implementations, have a bake-off, determine what works

best, write it down and make that the standard.

    The OSI view is entirely opposite.  You take written contributions

from a much larger community, you put the contributions in a room of

committee people with, quite honestly, vast political differences and all

with their own political axes to grind, and four years later you get

something out, usually without it ever having been implemented once.

    So the Internet perspective is implement it, make it work well,

then write it down, whereas the OSI perspective is to agree on it, write

it down, circulate it a lot and now we'll see if anyone can implement it

after it's an international standard and every vendor in the world is

committed to it.  One of those processes is backwards, and I don't think

it takes a Lucasian professor of physics at Oxford to figure out which.

        -- Marshall Rose, "The Pied Piper of OSI"


On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], "Pray, Mr.

Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers

come out?"  I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of

ideas that could provoke such a question.

        -- Charles Babbage


"One Architecture, One OS" also translates as "One Egg, One Basket".


"One basic notion underlying Usenet is that it is a cooperative."

Having been on USENET for going on ten years, I disagree with this.

The basic notion underlying USENET is the flame.

        -- Chuq Von Rospach


    One day a student came to Moon and said, "I understand how to make

a better garbage collector.  We must keep a reference count of the pointers

to each cons."

    Moon patiently told the student the following story -- "One day a

student came to Moon and said, "I understand how to make a better garbage



One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they

never have to stop and answer the phone.


... one 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


One of the most overlooked advantages to computers is...  If they do

foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little.

        -- Joe Martin


    One of the questions that comes up all the time is: How enthusiastic

is our support for UNIX?

    Unix was written on our machines and for our machines many years ago.

Today, much of UNIX being done is done on our machines. Ten percent of our

VAXs are going for UNIX use.  UNIX is a simple language, easy to understand,

easy to get started with. It's great for students, great for somewhat casual

users, and it's great for interchanging programs between different machines.

And so, because of its popularity in these markets, we support it.  We have

good UNIX on VAX and good UNIX on PDP-11s.

    It is our belief, however, that serious professional users will run

out of things they can do with UNIX. They'll want a real system and will end

up doing VMS when they get to be serious about programming.

    With UNIX, if you're looking for something, you can easily and quickly

check that small manual and find out that it's not there.  With VMS, no matter

what you look for -- it's literally a five-foot shelf of documentation -- if

you look long enough it's there.  That's the difference -- the beauty of UNIX

is it's simple; and the beauty of VMS is that it's all there.

        -- Ken Olsen, president of DEC, DECWORLD Vol. 8 No. 5, 1984

[It's been argued that the beauty of UNIX is the same as the beauty of Ken

Olsen's brain.  Ed.]


One person's error is another person's data.


One picture is worth 128K words.


Only great masters of style can succeed in being obtuse.

        -- Oscar Wilde

Most UNIX programmers are great masters of style.

        -- The Unnamed Usenetter


Only the fittest survive. The vanquished acknowledge their unworthiness by

placing a classified ad with the ritual phrase "must sell -- best offer,"

and thereafter dwell in infamy, relegated to discussing gas mileage and lawn

food.  But if successful, you join the elite sodality that spends hours

unpurifying the dialect of the tribe with arcane talk of bits and bytes, RAMS

and ROMS, hard disks and baud rates. Are you obnoxious, obsessed?  It's a

modest price to pay.  For you have tapped into the same awesome primal power

that produces credit-card billing errors and lost plane reservations.  Hail,

postindustrial warrior, subduer of Bounceoids, pride of the cosmos, keeper of

the silicone creed: Computo, ergo sum.  The force is with you -- at 110 volts.

May your RAMS be fruitful and multiply.

        -- Curt Suplee, "Smithsonian", 4/83


OS/2 Beer: Comes in a 32-oz can. Does allow you to drink several DOS

Beers simultaneously. Allows you to drink Windows 3.1 Beer simultaneously

too, but somewhat slower. Advertises that its cans won't explode when you

open them, even if you shake them up. You never really see anyone

drinking OS/2 Beer, but the manufacturer (International Beer

Manufacturing) claims that 9 million six-packs have been sold.


OS/2 Skyways:

The terminal is almost empty, with only a few prospective passengers milling

about. The announcer says that their flight has just departed, wishes them a

good flight, though there are no planes on the runway. Airline personnel

walk around, apologising profusely to customers in hushed voices, pointing

from time to time to the sleek, powerful jets outside the terminal on the

field. They tell each passenger how good the real flight will be on these

new jets and how much safer it will be than Windows Airlines, but that they

will have to wait a little longer for the technicians to finish the flight

systems. Maybe until mid-1995. Maybe longer.


"Our attitude with TCP/IP is, `Hey, we'll do it, but don't make a big

system, because we can't fix it if it breaks -- nobody can.'"

"TCP/IP is OK if you've got a little informal club, and it doesn't make

any difference if it takes a while to fix it."

        -- Ken Olson, in Digital News, 1988


Our documentation manager was showing her 2 year old son around the office.

He was introduced to me, at which time he pointed out that we were both

holding bags of popcorn.  We were both holding bottles of juice.  But only

*__he* had a lollipop.

    He asked his mother, "Why doesn't HE have a lollipop?"

    Her reply: "He can have a lollipop any time he wants to.  That's

what it means to be a programmer."


Our informal mission is to improve the love life of operators worldwide.

        -- Peter Behrendt, president of Exabyte


Our OS who art in CPU, UNIX be thy name.

    Thy programs run, thy syscalls done,

    In kernel as it is in user!


Over the shoulder supervision is more a need of the manager than the

programming task.


Overall, the philosophy is to attack the availability problem from two

complementary directions:  to reduce the number of software errors through

rigorous testing of running systems, and to reduce the effect of the remaining

errors by providing for recovery from them.  An interesting footnote to this

design is that now a system failure can usually be considered to be the

result of two program errors:  the first, in the program that started the

problem; the second, in the recovery routine that could not protect the


        -- A. L. Scherr, "Functional Structure of IBM Virtual Storage

           Operating Systems, Part II: OS/VS-2 Concepts and

           Philosophies," IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 12, No. 4.


Overconfidence breeds error when we take for granted that the game will

continue on its normal course; when we fail to provide for an unusually

powerful resource -- a check, a sacrifice, a stalemate.  Afterwards the

victim may wail, `But who could have dreamt of such an idiotic-looking move?'

        -- Fred Reinfeld, "The Complete Chess Course"


Overflow on /dev/null, please empty the bit bucket.


Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.


panic: can't find /


panic: kernel segmentation violation. core dumped        (only kidding)


panic: kernel trap (ignored)


Pascal is a language for children wanting to be naughty.

        -- Dr. Kasi Ananthanarayanan


Pascal is not a high-level language.

        -- Steven Feiner


"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat."

        -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340


Passwords are implemented as a result of insecurity.


Pause for storage relocation.


Per buck you get more computing action with the small computer.

        -- R. W. Hamming


PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the

solution set.

        -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5


Play Rogue, visit exotic locations, meet strange creatures and kill them.


Please go away.




Premature optimization is the root of all evil.

        -- D. E. Knuth


    Price Wang's programmer was coding software.  His fingers danced upon

the keyboard.  The program compiled without an error message, and the program

ran like a gentle wind.

    Excellent!" the Price exclaimed, "Your technique is faultless!"

    "Technique?" said the programmer, turning from his terminal, "What I

follow is the Tao -- beyond all technique.  When I first began to program I

would see before me the whole program in one mass.  After three years I no

longer saw this mass.  Instead, I used subroutines.  But now I see nothing.

My whole being exists in a formless void.  My senses are idle.  My spirit,

free to work without a plan, follows its own instinct.  In short, my program

writes itself.  True, sometimes there are difficult problems.  I see them

coming, I slow down, I watch silently.  Then I change a single line of code

and the difficulties vanish like puffs of idle smoke.  I then compile the

program.  I sit still and let the joy of the work fill my being.  I close my

eyes for a moment and then log off."

    Price Wang said, "Would that all of my programmers were as wise!"

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Prof:    So the American government went to IBM to come up with a data

     encryption standard and they came up with ...

Student: EBCDIC!"


Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.


Programmers do it bit by bit.


Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without

giant listings; we would find it hard to use them.

        -- D. M. Ritchie


Programming is an unnatural act.


Proposed Additions to the PDP-11 Instruction Set:

BBW    Branch Both Ways

BEW    Branch Either Way

BBBF    Branch on Bit Bucket Full

BH    Branch and Hang

BMR    Branch Multiple Registers

BOB    Branch On Bug

BPO    Branch on Power Off

BST    Backspace and Stretch Tape

CDS    Condense and Destroy System

CLBR    Clobber Register

CLBRI    Clobber Register Immediately

CM    Circulate Memory

CMFRM    Come From -- essential for truly structured programming

CPPR    Crumple Printer Paper and Rip

CRN    Convert to Roman Numerals


Proposed Additions to the PDP-11 Instruction Set:

DC    Divide and Conquer

DMPK    Destroy Memory Protect Key

DO    Divide and Overflow

EMPC    Emulate Pocket Calculator

EPI    Execute Programmer Immediately

EROS    Erase Read Only Storage

EXCE    Execute Customer Engineer

HCF    Halt and Catch Fire

IBP    Insert Bug and Proceed

INSQSW    Insert into queue somewhere (for FINO queues [First in never out])

PBC    Print and Break Chain

PDSK    Punch Disk


Proposed Additions to the PDP-11 Instruction Set:

PI    Punch Invalid

POPI    Punch Operator Immediately

PVLC    Punch Variable Length Card

RASC    Read And Shred Card

RPM    Read Programmers Mind

RSSC    reduce speed, step carefully  (for improved accuracy)

RTAB    Rewind tape and break

RWDSK    rewind disk

RWOC    Read Writing On Card

SCRBL    scribble to disk  - faster than a write

SLC    Search for Lost Chord

SPSW    Scramble Program Status Word

SRSD    Seek Record and Scar Disk

STROM    Store in Read Only Memory

TDB    Transfer and Drop Bit

WBT    Water Binary Tree




Put no trust in cryptic comments.






RAM wasn't built in a day.


Rattling around the back of my head is a disturbing image of something I

saw at the airport ... Now I'm remembering, those giant piles of computer

magazines right next to "People" and "Time" in the airport store.  Does

it bother anyone else that half the world is being told all of our hard-won

secrets of computer technology?  Remember how all the lawyers cried foul

when "How to Avoid Probate" was published?  Are they taking no-fault

insurance lying down?  No way!  But at the current rate it won't be long

before there are stacks of the "Transactions on Information Theory" at the

A&P checkout counters.  Who's going to be impressed with us electrical

engineers then?  Are we, as the saying goes, giving away the store?

        -- Robert W. Lucky, IEEE President


Reactor error - core dumped!


Real computer scientists admire ADA for its overwhelming aesthetic

value but they find it difficult to actually program in it, as it is

much too large to implement.  Most computer scientists don't notice

this because they are still arguing over what else to add to ADA.


Real computer scientists despise the idea of actual hardware.  Hardware has

limitations, software doesn't.  It's a real shame that Turing machines are

so poor at I/O.


Real computer scientists don't comment their code.  The identifiers are

so long they can't afford the disk space.


Real computer scientists don't program in assembler.  They don't write

in anything less portable than a number two pencil.


Real computer scientists don't write code.  They occasionally tinker with

`programming systems', but those are so high level that they hardly count

(and rarely count accurately; precision is for applications).


Real computer scientists like having a computer on their desk, else how

could they read their mail?


Real computer scientists only write specs for languages that might run

on future hardware.  Nobody trusts them to write specs for anything homo

sapiens will ever be able to fit on a single planet.


Real programmers disdain structured programming.  Structured programming is

for compulsive neurotics who were prematurely toilet- trained.  They wear

neckties and carefully line up pencils on otherwise clear desks.


Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches.  If the vending machine

doesn't sell it, they don't eat it.  Vending machines don't sell quiche.


Real programmers don't comment their code.  It was hard to write, it

should be hard to understand.


Real programmers don't draw flowcharts.  Flowcharts are, after all, the

illiterate's form of documentation.  Cavemen drew flowcharts; look how

much good it did them.


Real Programmers don't eat quiche.  They eat Twinkies and Szechwan food.


Real Programmers don't play tennis, or any other sport that requires

you to change clothes.  Mountain climbing is OK, and real programmers

wear their climbing boots to work in case a mountain should suddenly

spring up in the middle of the machine room.


Real programmers don't write in BASIC.  Actually, no programmers write in

BASIC after reaching puberty.


Real Programmers don't write in FORTRAN.  FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and

crystallography weenies.  FORTRAN is for wimp engineers who wear white socks.


Real Programmers don't write in PL/I.  PL/I is for programmers who can't

decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.


Real Programmers think better when playing Adventure or Rogue.


Real programs don't eat cache.


Real Programs don't use shared text.  Otherwise, how can they use functions

for scratch space after they are finished calling them?


Real software engineers don't debug programs, they verify correctness.

This process doesn't necessarily involve execution of anything on a

computer, except perhaps a Correctness Verification Aid package.


Real software engineers don't like the idea of some inexplicable and

greasy hardware several aisles away that may stop working at any

moment.  They have a great distrust of hardware people, and wish that

systems could be virtual at *___all* levels.  They would like personal

computers (you know no one's going to trip over something and kill your

DFA in mid-transit), except that they need 8 megabytes to run their

Correctness Verification Aid packages.


Real software engineers work from 9 to 5, because that is the way the job is

described in the formal spec.  Working late would feel like using an

undocumented external procedure.


Real Users are afraid they'll break the machine -- but they're never

afraid to break your face.


Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts

down the system for days.


Real Users hate Real Programmers.


Real Users know your home telephone number.


Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program

doesn't deliver it.


Real Users never use the Help key.


Recursion is the root of computation since it trades description for time.


Remember the good old days, when CPU was singular?


Remember, God could only create the world in 6 days because he didn't

have an established user base.


Remember, UNIX spelled backwards is XINU.

        -- Mt.


Remember: use logout to logout.


    Risch's decision procedure for integration, not surprisingly,

uses a recursion on the number and type of the extensions from the

rational functions needed to represent the integrand.  Although the

algorithm follows and critically depends upon the appropriate structure

of the input, as in the case of multivariate factorization, we cannot

claim that the algorithm is a natural one.  In fact, the creator of

differential algebra, Ritt, committed suicide in the early 1950's,

largely, it is claimed, because few paid attention to his work.  Probably

he would have received more attention had he obtained the algorithm as well.

        -- Joel Moses, "Algorithms and Complexity", ed. J. F. Traub


Row, row, row your bits, gently down the stream...


Save energy:  Drive a smaller shell.


Save gas, don't use the shell.


Save yourself!  Reboot in 5 seconds!


Say "twenty-three-skiddoo" to logout.


SCCS, the source motel!  Programs check in and never check out!

        -- Ken Thompson


Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.


Scientists were preparing an experiment to ask the ultimate question.

They had worked for months gathering one each of every computer that was

built. Finally the big day was at hand.  All the computers were linked

together.  They asked the question, "Is there a God?".  Lights started

blinking, flashing and blinking some more.  Suddenly, there was a loud

crash, and a bolt of lightning came down from the sky, struck the

computers, and welded all the connections permanently together.  "There

is now", came the reply.


Scotty:    Captain, we din' can reference it!

Kirk:    Analysis, Mr. Spock?

Spock:    Captain, it doesn't appear in the symbol table.

Kirk:    Then it's of external origin?

Spock:    Affirmative.

Kirk:    Mr. Sulu, go to pass two.

Sulu:    Aye aye, sir, going to pass two.


"Section   AWNS   (Acceptor Wait for New Cycle State).

    In AWNS the AH function indicates that it has received a

multiline message byte.

    In AWNS the RFD message must be sent false and the DAC message

must be sent passive true.

    The AH function must exit the AWNS and enter:

    (1)  The ANRS if DAV is false

    (2)  The AIDS if the ATN message is false and neither:

        (a)  The LADS is active

        (b)  Nor LACS is active"

        -- from the IEEE Standard Digital Interface for

           Programmable Instrumentation


Security check:    INTRUDER ALERT!


Seems a computer engineer, a systems analyst, and a programmer were

driving down a mountain when the brakes gave out.  They screamed down the

mountain, gaining speed, but finally managed to grind to a halt, more by

luck than anything else, just inches from a thousand foot drop to jagged

rocks.  They all got out of the car:

        The computer engineer said, "I think I can fix it."

        The systems analyst said, "No, no, I think we should take it

into town and have a specialist look at it."

        The programmer said, "OK, but first I think we should get back

in and see if it does it again."



Title:        Are Frogs Turing Compatible?

Speaker:    Don "The Lion" Knuth


    Several researchers at the University of Louisiana have been studying

the computing power of various amphibians, frogs in particular.  The problem

of frog computability has become a critical issue that ranges across all areas

of computer science.  It has been shown that anything computable by an amphi-

bian community in a fixed-size pond is computable by a frog in the same-size

pond -- that is to say, frogs are Pond-space complete.  We will show that

there is a log-space, polywog-time reduction from any Turing machine program

to a frog.  We will suggest these represent a proper subset of frog-computable


    This is not just a let's-see-how-far-those-frogs-can-jump seminar.

This is only for hardcore amphibian-computation people and their colleagues.

    Refreshments will be served.  Music will be played.


Send some filthy mail.


Sendmail may be safely run set-user-id to root.

        -- Eric Allman, "Sendmail Installation Guide"


    Several students were asked to prove that all odd integers are prime.

    The first student to try to do this was a math student.  "Hmmm...

Well, 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, and by induction, we have that all

the odd integers are prime."

    The second student to try was a man of physics who commented, "I'm not

sure of the validity of your proof, but I think I'll try to prove it by

experiment."  He continues, "Well, 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is

prime, 9 is...  uh, 9 is... uh, 9 is an experimental error, 11 is prime, 13

is prime...  Well, it seems that you're right."

    The third student to try it was the engineering student, who responded,

"Well, to be honest, actually, I'm not sure of your answer either.  Let's

see...  1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is... uh, 9 is...

well, if you approximate, 9 is prime, 11 is prime, 13 is prime...  Well, it

does seem right."

    Not to be outdone, the computer science student comes along and says

"Well, you two sort've got the right idea, but you'll end up taking too long!

I've just whipped up a program to REALLY go and prove it."  He goes over to

his terminal and runs his program.  Reading the output on the screen he says,

"1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime..."


She sells cshs by the cshore.


Shopping at this grody little computer store at the Galleria for a

totally awwwesome Apple.  Fer suuure.  I mean Apples are nice you know?

But, you know, there is this cute guy who works there and HE says that

VAX's are cooler!  I mean I don't really know, you know? He says that he

has this totally tubular VAX at home and it's stuffed with memory-to-the-max!

Right, yeah.  And he wants to take me home to show it to me.  Oh My God!

I'm suuure.  Gag me with a Prime!


Simulations are like miniskirts, they show a lot and hide the essentials.

        -- Hubert Kirrman


skldfjkl   jklsR%^&(IXDRTYju187pkasdjbasdfbuil

h;asvgy8p    23r1vyui 135    2

kmxsij90TYDFS$$b    jkzxdjkl bjnk ;j    nk;<[][;-==-<<<<<';[,



Now look what you've gone and done!  You've broken it!


Slowly and surely the unix crept up on the Nintendo user ...


So you see Antonio, why worry about one little core dump, eh?  In reality

all core dumps happen at the same instant, so the core dump you will have

tomorrow, why, it already happened.  You see, it's just a little universal

recursive joke which threads our lives through the infinite potential of

the instant.  So go to sleep, Antonio, your thread could break any moment

and cast you out of the safe security of the instant into the dark void of

eternity, the anti-time.  So go to sleep...


Software production is assumed to be a line function, but it is run

like a staff function.

        -- Paul Licker


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.

        -- Bill Gates, Microsoft, Inc.

    [Pot. Kettle. Black.]


Some of my readers ask me what a "Serial Port" is.

The answer is: I don't know.

Is it some kind of wine you have with breakfast?


Some people claim that the UNIX learning curve is steep, but at least you

only have to climb it once.


Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress.

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982


Somebody's terminal is dropping bits.  I found a pile of them over in the



    Something mysterious is formed, born in the silent void.  Waiting

alone and unmoving, it is at once still and yet in constant motion.  It is

the source of all programs.  I do not know its name, so I will call it the

Tao of Programming.

    If the Tao is great, then the operating system is great.  If the

operating system is great, then the compiler is great.  If the compiler is

greater, then the applications is great.  The user is pleased and there is

harmony in the world.

    The Tao of Programming flows far away and returns on the wind of


        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Speaking as someone who has delved into the intricacies of PL/I, I am sure

that only Real Men could have written such a machine-hogging, cycle-grabbing,

all-encompassing monster.  Allocate an array and free the middle third?

Sure!  Why not?  Multiply a character string times a bit string and assign the

result to a float decimal?  Go ahead!  Free a controlled variable procedure

parameter and reallocate it before passing it back?  Overlay three different

types of variable on the same memory location?  Anything you say!  Write a

recursive macro?  Well, no, but Real Men use rescan.  How could a language

so obviously designed and written by Real Men not be intended for Real Man use?


***** Special AI Seminar (abstract)

It has been widely recognized that AI programs require expert knowledge

in order to perform well in complex domains.  But knowledge alone is not

sufficient for some applications; wisdom is needed as well.  Accordingly,

we have developed a new approach to artificial intelligence which we call

"wisdom engineering".  As a test of our ideas, we have written IMMANUEL, a

wisdom based system for the task domain of western philosophical thought.

IMMANUEL was supplied initially with 200 wisdom units which contained wisdom

about such elementary concepts as mind, matter, being, nothingness, and so

forth.  IMMANUEL was then allowed to run freely, guided by the heuristic

rules contained in its heterarchically organized meta wisdom base.  IMMANUEL

succeeded in rediscovering most of the important philosophical ideas developed

in western culture over the course of the last 25 centuries, including those

underlying Plato's theory of government, Kant's metaphysics, Nietzsche's theory

of value, and Husserl's phenomenology.  In this seminar, we will describe

IMMANUEL's achievements and internal architecture.  We will also briefly

discuss our recent efforts to apply wisdom engineering to oil exploration.


Staff meeting in the conference room in %d minutes.


Staff meeting in the conference room in 3 minutes.


Standards are crucial.  And the best thing about standards is: there are

so ____many to choose from!


Still a few bugs in the system... Someday I have to tell you about Uncle

Nahum from Maine, who spent years trying to cross a jellyfish with a shad

so he could breed boneless shad.  His experiment backfired too, and he

wound up with bony jellyfish... which was hardly worth the trouble.  There's

very little call for those up there.

        -- Allucquere R. "Sandy" Stone


Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise.

        -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984


    Stop!  Whoever crosseth the bridge of Death, must answer first

these questions three, ere the other side he see!

    "What is your name?"

    "Sir Brian of Bell."

    "What is your quest?"

    "I seek the Holy Grail."

    "What are four lowercase letters that are not legal flag arguments

to the Berkeley UNIX version of `ls'?"

    "I, er.... AIIIEEEEEE!"



Many of our students have gone on to achieve great success in all fields of

programming.  One former student developed the concept of the personalized

form letter.  Does the phrase, "Dear Mr.(insert name), You may already be a

winner!," sound familiar?  Another student writes "After only five lessons I

sold a "My Most Unforgettable Program" article to Corrosive Computing magazine.

Another of our graduates writes, "I recently completed a database-management

program for my department manager.  My program touched him so deeply that he

was speechless.  He told me later that he had never seen such a program in

his entire career.  Thank you, Famous Programmers' school; only you could

have made this possible."  Send for our introductory brochure which explains

in vague detail the operation of the Famous Programmers' School, and you'll

be eligible to win a possible chance to enter a drawing, the winner of which

can vie for a set of free steak knives.  If you don't do it now, you'll hate

yourself in the morning.


Such efforts are almost always slow, laborious, political, petty, boring,

ponderous, thankless, and of the utmost criticality.

        -- Leonard Kleinrock, on standards efforts


Suppose for a moment that the automobile industry had developed at the same

rate as computers and over the same period:  how much cheaper and more

efficient would the current models be?  If you have not already heard the

analogy, the answer is shattering.  Today you would be able to buy a

Rolls-Royce for $2.75, it would do three million miles to the gallon, and

it would deliver enough power to drive the Queen Elizabeth II.  And if you

were interested in miniaturization, you could place half a dozen of them on

a pinhead.

        -- Christopher Evans


Swap read error.  You lose your mind.


Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon.

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982


System checkpoint complete.


System going down at 1:45 this afternoon for disk crashing.


System going down at 5 this afternoon to install scheduler bug.


System going down in 5 minutes.


System restarting, wait...


        *** System shutdown message from root ***

System going down in 60 seconds


Systems have sub-systems and sub-systems have sub-systems and so on ad

infinitum -- which is why we're always starting over.

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982


Systems programmers are the high priests of a low cult.

        -- R. S. Barton


Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence.

        -- Dijkstra


TeX is potentially the most significant invention in typesetting in this

century.  It introduces a standard language for computer typography, and in

terms of importance could rank near the introduction of the Gutenberg press.

        -- Gordon Bell


"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even

one which cannot be justified on any other grounds."

        -- J. Finnegan, USC.


That does not compute.


... that the notions of "hardware", and "software" should be extended by

the notion of LIVEWARE - being that which produces software for use on

hardware.  This produces an obvious extension to the concept of MONITORS.

A liveware monitor is a person dedicated to the task of ensuring that the

liveware does not interfere with the real-time processes, invoking the

REAL-TIME EXECUTIONER to delete liveware that adversely affects ...

        -- Linden and Wihelminalaan


    "That's right; the upper-case shift works fine on the screen, but

they're not coming out on the damn printer...  Hold?  Sure, I'll hold."

        -- e.e. cummings last service call


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 "cutting edge" is getting rather dull.

        -- Andy Purshottam


The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8.

        -- R. B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]


The absence of labels [in ECL] is probably a good thing.

        -- T. Cheatham


The algorithm for finding the longest path in a graph is NP-complete.

For you systems people, that means it's *real slow*.

        -- Bart Miller


"The algorithm to do that is extremely nasty.  You might want to mug

someone with it."

        -- M. Devine, Computer Science 340


The Analytical Engine weaves Algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard

loom weaves flowers and leaves.

        -- Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace, the first programmer


"The bad reputation UNIX has gotten is totally undeserved, laid on by people

who don't understand, who have not gotten in there and tried anything."

        -- Jim Joyce, owner of Jim Joyce's UNIX Bookstore


The beer-cooled computer does not harm the ozone layer.

        -- John M. Ford, a.k.a. Dr. Mike

    [If I can read my notes from the Ask Dr. Mike session at Baycon, I

     believe he added that the beer-cooled computer uses "Forget Only

     Memory".  Ed.]


The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland";

but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.


The best way to accelerate a Macintoy is at 9.8 meters per second per second.


The bogosity meter just pegged.


The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a

digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top

of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.  To think otherwise is to demean

the Buddha -- which is to demean oneself.

        -- Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"


The bugs you have to avoid are the ones that give the user not only

the inclination to get on a plane, but also the time.

        -- Kay Bostic


"The C Programming Language -- A language which combines the flexibility of

assembly language with the power of assembly language."


The clothes have no emperor.

        -- C. A. R. Hoare, commenting on ADA.


The computer industry is journalists in their 20's standing in awe of

entrepreneurs in their 30's who are hiring salesmen in their 40's and

50's and paying them in the 60's and 70's to bring their marketing into

the 80's.

        -- Marty Winston


The computer is to the information industry roughly what the

central power station is to the electrical industry.

        -- Peter Drucker


"The Computer made me do it."


The computing field is always in need of new cliches.

        -- Alan Perlis


The connection between the language in which we think/program and the problems

and solutions we can imagine is very close.  For this reason restricting

language features with the intent of eliminating programmer errors is at best


        -- Bjarne Stroustrup


The day-to-day travails of the IBM programmer are so amusing to most of

us who are fortunate enough never to have been one -- like watching

Charlie Chaplin trying to cook a shoe.


The debate rages on: Is PL/I Bachtrian or Dromedary?


The difference between art and science is that science is what we

understand well enough to explain to a computer.  Art is everything else.

        -- Donald Knuth, "Discover"


The disks are getting full; purge a file today.


"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not

Compute' -- I forget which."

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982



SPECIES:    Cranial Males

SUBSPECIES:    The Hacker (homo computatis)

Courtship & Mating:

    Due to extreme deprivation, HOMO COMPUTATIS maintains a near perpetual

    state of sexual readiness.  Courtship behavior alternates between

    awkward shyness and abrupt advances.  When he finally mates, he

    chooses a female engineer with an unblinking stare, a tight mouth, and

    a complete collection of Campbell's soup-can recipes.


    Trash cans full of pale green and white perforated paper and old

    copies of the Allen-Bradley catalog.


    Extremely fond of bad puns and jokes that need long explanations.



SPECIES:    Cranial Males

SUBSPECIES:    The Hacker (homo computatis)


    Gangly and frail, the hacker has a high forehead and thinning hair.

    Head disproportionately large and crooked forward, complexion wan and

    sightly gray from CRT illumination.  He has heavy black-rimmed glasses

    and a look of intense concentration, which may be due to a software

    problem or to a pork-and-bean breakfast.


    HOMO COMPUTATIS saw a Brylcreem ad fifteen years ago and believed it.

    Consequently, crest is greased down, except for the cowlick.


    A rather plaintive "Is it up?"



SPECIES:    Cranial Males

SUBSPECIES:    The Hacker (homo computatis)


    All clothes have a slightly crumpled look as though they came off the

    top of the laundry basket.  Style varies with status.  Hacker managers

    wear gray polyester slacks, pink or pastel shirts with wide collars,

    and paisley ties; staff wears cinched-up baggy corduroy pants, white

    or blue shirts with button-down collars, and penholder in pocket.

    Both managers and staff wear running shoes to work, and a black

    plastic digital watch with calculator.


The first time, it's a KLUDGE!

The second, a trick.

Later, it's a well-established technique!

        -- Mike Broido, Intermetrics


The first version always gets thrown away.


The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation.

        -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"


The following quote is from page 4-27 of the MSCP Basic Disk Functions

Manual which is part of the UDA50 Programmers Doc Kit manuals:

As stated above, the host area of a disk is structured as a vector of

logical blocks.  From a performance viewpoint, however, it is more

appropriate to view the host area as a four dimensional hyper-cube, the

four dimensions being cylinder, group, track, and sector.

. . .

Referring to our hyper-cube analogy, the set of potentially accessible

blocks form a line parallel to the track axis.  This line moves

parallel to the sector axis, wrapping around when it reaches the edge

of the hyper-cube.


The fountain code has been tightened slightly so you can no longer dip

objects into a fountain or drink from one while you are floating in mid-air

due to levitation.

    Teleporting to hell via a teleportation trap will no longer occur

if the character does not have fire resistance.

        -- README file from the NetHack game


The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at

least until we've finished building it.


The Gurus of Unix Meeting of Minds (GUMM) takes place Wednesday, April

1, 2076 (check THAT in your perpetual calendar program), 14 feet above

the ground directly in front of the Milpitas Gumps.  Members will grep

each other by the hand (after intro), yacc a lot, smoke filtered

chroots in pipes, chown with forks, use the wc (unless uuclean), fseek

nice zombie processes, strip, and sleep, but not, we hope, od.  Three

days will be devoted to discussion of the ramifications of whodo.  Two

seconds have been allotted for a complete rundown of all the user-

friendly features of Unix.  Seminars include "Everything You Know is

Wrong", led by Tom Kempson, "Batman or Cat:man?" led by Richie Dennis

"cc C?  Si!  Si!" led by Kerwin Bernighan, and "Document Unix, Are You

Kidding?" led by Jan Yeats.  No Reader Service No. is necessary because

all GUGUs (Gurus of Unix Group of Users) already know everything we

could tell them.

        -- "Get GUMMed," Dr. Dobb's Journal, June '84


        The Guy on the Right Doesn't Stand a Chance

The guy on the right has the Osborne 1, a fully functional computer system

in a portable package the size of a briefcase.  The guy on the left has an

Uzi submachine gun concealed in his attache case.  Also in the case are four

fully loaded, 32-round clips of 125-grain 9mm ammunition.  The owner of the

Uzi is going to get more tactical firepower delivered -- and delivered on

target -- in less time, and with less effort.  All for $795. It's inevitable.

If you're going up against some guy with an Osborne 1 -- or any personal

computer -- he's the one who's in trouble.  One round from an Uzi can zip

through ten inches of solid pine wood, so you can imagine what it will do

to structural foam acrylic and sheet aluminum.  In fact, detachable magazines

for the Uzi are available in 25-, 32-, and 40-round capacities, so you can

take out an entire office full of Apple II or IBM Personal Computers tied

into Ethernet or other local-area networks.  What about the new 16-bit

computers, like the Lisa and Fortune?  Even with the Winchester backup,

they're no match for the Uzi.  One quick burst and they'll find out what

Unix means.  Make your commanding officer proud.  Get an Uzi -- and come home

a winner in the fight for office automatic weapons.

        -- "InfoWorld", June, 1984


The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity

-- the rest is overhead for the operating system.

        -- Nicholas Ambrose


The IBM 2250 is impressive ...

if you compare it with a system selling for a tenth its price.

        -- D. Cohen


The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair".

        -- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"


The idea that an arbitrary naive human should be able to properly use a given

tool without training or understanding is even more wrong for computing than

it is for other tools (e.g. automobiles, airplanes, guns, power saws).

        -- Doug Gwyn


The last time somebody said, "I find I can write much better with a word

processor.", I replied, "They used to say the same thing about drugs."

        -- Roy Blount, Jr.


The less time planning, the more time programming.



SIMPLE is an acronym for Sheer Idiot's Monopurpose Programming Language

Environment.  This language, developed at the Hanover College for

Technological Misfits, was designed to make it impossible to write code

with errors in it.  The statements are, therefore, confined to BEGIN,

END and STOP.  No matter how you arrange the statements, you can't make

a syntax error.  Programs written in SIMPLE do nothing useful.  Thus

they achieve the results of programs written in other languages without

the tedious, frustrating process of testing and debugging.



This otherwise unremarkable language is distinguished by the absence of

an "S" in its character set; users must substitute "TH".  LITHP is said

to be useful in protheththing lithtth.



SLOBOL is best known for the speed, or lack of it, of its compiler.

Although many compilers allow you to take a coffee break while they

compile, SLOBOL compilers allow you to travel to Bolivia to pick the

coffee.  Forty-three programmers are known to have died of boredom

sitting at their terminals while waiting for a SLOBOL program to

compile.  Weary SLOBOL programmers often turn to a related (but

infinitely faster) language, COCAINE.



    VALGOL is enjoying a dramatic surge of popularity across the

industry.  VALGOL commands include REALLY, LIKE, WELL, and Y*KNOW.

Variables are assigned with the =LIKE and =TOTALLY operators.  Other

operators include the "California booleans", AX and NOWAY.  Loops are

accomplished with the FOR SURE construct.  A simple example:






        FOR I =LIKE 1 TO OH*MAYBE 100





    VALGOL is also characterized by its unfriendly error messages.  For

example, when the user makes a syntax error, the interpreter displays the

message GAG ME WITH A SPOON!  A successful compile may be termed MAXIMALLY




    Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Obedience Training, DOGO

DOGO heralds a new era of computer-literate pets.  DOGO commands include

SIT, STAY, HEEL, and ROLL OVER.  An innovative feature of DOGO is "puppy

graphics", a small cocker spaniel that occasionally leaves a deposit as

it travels across the screen.



This language was named for the grade received by its creator when he

submitted it as a class project in a graduate programming class.  C- is best

described as a "low-level" programming language.  In fact, the language

generally requires more C- statements than machine-code statements to

execute a given task.  In this respect, it is very similar to COBOL.



Named after the late existential philosopher, SARTRE is an extremely

unstructured language.  Statements in SARTRE have no purpose; they just are.

Thus SARTRE programs are left to define their own functions. SARTRE

programmers tend to be boring and depressed, and are no fun at parties.



FIFTH is a precision mathematical language in which the data types

refer to quantity.  The data types range from CC, OUNCE, SHOT, and

JIGGER to FIFTH (hence the name of the language), LITER, MAGNUM and

BLOTTO.  Commands refer to ingredients such as CHABLIS, CHARDONNAY,


The many versions of the FIFTH language reflect the sophistication and

financial status of its users.  Commands in the ELITE dialect include

VSOP and LAFITE, while commands in the GUTTER dialect include HOOTCH

and RIPPLE. The latter is a favorite of frustrated FORTH programmers

who end up using this language.



Named after the famous French philosopher and mathematician Rene DesCartes,

RENE is a language used for artificial intelligence.  The language is being

developed at the Chicago Center of Machine Politics and Programming under a

grant from the Jane Byrne Victory Fund.  A spokesman described the language

as "Just as great as dis [sic] city of ours."

The center is very pleased with progress to date.  They say they have almost

succeeded in getting a VAX to think. However, sources inside the

organization say that each time the machine fails to think it ceases to exist.



This language was developed at the Marin County Center for T'ai Chi,

Mellowness and Computer Programming (now defunct), as an alternative to

the more intense atmosphere in nearby Silicon Valley.

The center was ideal for programmers who liked to soak in hot tubs while

they worked.  Unfortunately few programmers could survive there because the

center outlawed Pizza and Coca-Cola in favor of Tofu and Perrier.

Many mourn the demise of LAIDBACK because of its reputation as a gentle and

non-threatening language since all error messages are in lower case.  For

example, LAIDBACK responded to syntax errors with the message:

    "i hate to bother you, but i just can't relate to that.  can

    you find the time to try it again?"


The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.


    The Magician of the Ivory Tower brought his latest invention for the

master programmer to examine.  The magician wheeled a large black box into the

master's office while the master waited in silence.

    "This is an integrated, distributed, general-purpose workstation,"

began the magician, "ergonomically designed with a proprietary operating

system, sixth generation languages, and multiple state of the art user

interfaces.  It took my assistants several hundred man years to construct.

Is it not amazing?"

    The master raised his eyebrows slightly. "It is indeed amazing," he


    "Corporate Headquarters has commanded," continued the magician, "that

everyone use this workstation as a platform for new programs.  Do you agree

to this?"

    "Certainly," replied the master, "I will have it transported to the

data center immediately!"  And the magician returned to his tower, well


    Several days later, a novice wandered into the office of the master

programmer and said, "I cannot find the listing for my new program.  Do

you know where it might be?"

    "Yes," replied the master, "the listings are stacked on the platform

in the data center."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    The master programmer moves from program to program without fear.  No

change in management can harm him.  He will not be fired, even if the project

is canceled. Why is this?  He is filled with the Tao.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out.

Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."


The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to

devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation.

        -- Lew Mammel, Jr.


The misnaming of fields of study is so common as to lead to what might be

general systems laws.  For example, Frank Harary once suggested the law that

any field that had the word "science" in its name was guaranteed thereby

not to be a science.  He would cite as examples Military Science, Library

Science, Political Science, Homemaking Science, Social Science, and Computer

Science.  Discuss the generality of this law, and possible reasons for its

predictive power.

        -- Gerald Weinberg, "An Introduction to General Systems



The more data I punch in this card, the lighter it becomes, and the

lower the mailing cost.

        -- S. Kelly-Bootle, "The Devil's DP Dictionary"


The most important early product on the way to developing a good product

is an imperfect version.


The moving cursor writes, and having written, blinks on.


The net is like a vast sea of lutefisk with tiny dinosaur brains embedded

in it here and there. Any given spoonful will likely have an IQ of 1, but

occasional spoonfuls may have an IQ more than six times that!

        -- James 'Kibo' Parry


The New Testament offers the basis for modern computer coding theory,

in the form of an affirmation of the binary number system.

    But let your communication be Yea, yea; nay, nay:

    for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

        -- Matthew 5:37


The next person to mention spaghetti stacks to me is going to have

his head knocked off.

        -- Bill Conrad


The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.

        -- Andrew S. Tanenbaum


The nicest thing about the Alto is that it doesn't run faster at night.


The notion of a "record" is an obsolete remnant of the days of the 80-column


        -- Dennis M. Ritchie


The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct.

        -- Ralph Hartley


The number of computer scientists in a room is inversely proportional

to the number of bugs in their code.


The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected.

        -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972


The only difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is

that the car salesman knows he's lying.


The only thing cheaper than hardware is talk.


The only thing worse than X Windows: (X Windows) - X


The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes.  Fully clothed, I might add.

        -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court


The personal computer market is about the same size as the total potato chip

market.  Next year it will be about half the size of the pet food market and

is fast approaching the total worldwide sales of pantyhose"

        -- James Finke, Commodore Int'l Ltd., 1982


The primary function of the design engineer is to make things

difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.


The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants;

instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the

variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead

of the longer form of the constant.  This also simplifies modifying the

program, should the value of pi change.

        -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers


    The problem with engineers is that they tend to cheat in order to

get results.

    The problem with mathematicians is that they tend to work on toy

problems in order to get results.

    The problem with program verifiers is that they tend to cheat at

toy problems in order to get results.


The problems of business administration in general, and database management in

particular are much to difficult for people that think in IBMese, compounded

with sloppy english.

        -- Edsger Dijkstra


The program isn't debugged until the last user is dead.


    The programmers of old were mysterious and profound.  We cannot fathom

their thoughts, so all we do is describe their appearance.

    Aware, like a fox crossing the water.  Alert, like a general on the

battlefield.  Kind, like a hostess greeting her guests. Simple, like uncarved

blocks of wood.  Opaque, like black pools in darkened caves.

    Who can tell the secrets of their hearts and minds?

    The answer exists only in the Tao.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


The proof that IBM didn't invent the car is that it has a steering wheel

and an accelerator instead of spurs and ropes, to be compatible with a horse.

        -- Jac Goudsmit


The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much.


The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the

human effort needed to regenerate them.

        -- T. A. Dolotta


The road to hell is paved with NAND gates.

        -- J. Gooding


    The salesman and the system analyst took off to spend a weekend in the

forest, hunting bear.  They'd rented a cabin, and, when they got there, took

their backpacks off and put them inside.  At which point the salesman turned

to his friend, and said, "You unpack while I go and find us a bear."

    Puzzled, the analyst finished unpacking and then went and sat down

on the porch.  Soon he could hear rustling noises in the forest.  The noises

got nearer -- and louder -- and suddenly there was the salesman, running like

hell across the clearing toward the cabin, pursued by one of the largest and

most ferocious grizzly bears the analyst had ever seen.

    "Open the door!", screamed the salesman.

    The analyst whipped open the door, and the salesman ran to the door,

suddenly stopped, and stepped aside.  The bear, unable to stop, continued

through the door and into the cabin.  The salesman slammed the door closed

and grinned at his friend.  "Got him!", he exclaimed, "now, you skin this

one and I'll go rustle us up another!"


The sendmail configuration file is one of those files that looks like someone

beat their head on the keyboard.  After working with it... I can see why!

        -- Harry Skelton


The so-called "desktop metaphor" of today's workstations is instead an

"airplane-seat" metaphor.  Anyone who has shuffled a lap full of papers

while seated between two portly passengers will recognize the difference --

one can see only a very few things at once.

        -- Fred Brooks


The steady state of disks is full.

        -- Ken Thompson


The system was down for backups from 5am to 10am last Saturday.


The system will be down for 10 days for preventive maintenance.


The Tao doesn't take sides;

it gives birth to both wins and losses.

The Guru doesn't take sides;

she welcomes both hackers and lusers.

The Tao is like a stack:

the data changes but not the structure.

the more you use it, the deeper it becomes;

the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

Hold on to the root.


The Tao is like a glob pattern:

used but never used up.

It is like the extern void:

filled with infinite possibilities.

It is masked but always present.

I don't know who built to it.

It came before the first kernel.


The tao that can be tar(1)ed

is not the entire Tao.

The path that can be specified

is not the Full Path.

We declare the names

of all variables and functions.

Yet the Tao has no type specifier.

Dynamically binding, you realize the magic.

Statically binding, you see only the hierarchy.

Yet magic and hierarchy

arise from the same source,

and this source has a null pointer.

Reference the NULL within NULL,

it is the gateway to all wizardry.


The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what

you want.

        -- D. Cohen


The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to

hang yourself.  And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.


The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems

is a symptom of professional immaturity.

        -- Edsger Dijkstra


The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be

regarded as a criminal offence.

        -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5


The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.


    The wise programmer is told about the Tao and follows it.  The average

programmer is told about the Tao and searches for it.  The foolish programmer

is told about the Tao and laughs at it.  If it were not for laughter, there

would be no Tao.

    The highest sounds are the hardest to hear.  Going forward is a way to

retreat.  Greater talent shows itself late in life.  Even a perfect program

still has bugs.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


The work [of software development] is becoming far easier (i.e. the tools

we're using work at a higher level, more removed from machine, peripheral

and operating system imperatives) than it was twenty years ago, and because

of this, knowledge of the internals of a system may become less accessible.

We may be able to dig deeper holes, but unless we know how to build taller

ladders, we had best hope that it does not rain much.

        -- Paul Licker


The world is coming to an end ... SAVE YOUR BUFFERS!!!


The world is coming to an end.  Please log off.


The world is not octal despite DEC.


The world will end in 5 minutes.  Please log out.


The young lady had an unusual list,

Linked in part to a structural weakness.

She set no preconditions.




... there are about 5,000 people who are part of that committee.  These guys

have a hard time sorting out what day to meet, and whether to eat croissants

or doughnuts for breakfast -- let alone how to define how all these complex

layers that are going to be agreed upon.

        -- Craig Burton of Novell, Network World


There are never any bugs you haven't found yet.


There are new messages.


There are no games on this system.


There are running jobs.  Why don't you go chase them?


There are three kinds of people: men, women, and unix.


There are three possibilities: Pioneer's solar panel has turned away from

the sun; there's a large meteor blocking transmission; someone loaded Star

Trek 3.2 into our video processor.


There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.

We don't believe this to be a coincidence.

        -- Jeremy S. Anderson


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


There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.


There has also been some work to allow the interesting use of macro names.

For example, if you wanted all of your "creat()" calls to include read

permissions for everyone, you could say

    #define creat(file, mode)    creat(file, mode | 0444)

    I would recommend against this kind of thing in general, since it

hides the changed semantics of "creat()" in a macro, potentially far away

from its uses.

    To allow this use of macros, the preprocessor uses a process that

is worth describing, if for no other reason than that we get to use one of

the more amusing terms introduced into the C lexicon.  While a macro is

being expanded, it is temporarily undefined, and any recurrence of the macro

name is "painted blue" -- I kid you not, this is the official terminology

-- so that in future scans of the text the macro will not be expanded

recursively.  (I do not know why the color blue was chosen; I'm sure it

was the result of a long debate, spread over several meetings.)

        -- From Ken Arnold's "C Advisor" column in Unix Review


There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.

        -- Ken Olsen (President of Digital Equipment Corporation),

           Convention of the World Future Society, in Boston, 1977


There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.


    There once was a man who went to a computer trade show.  Each day as

he entered, the man told the guard at the door:

    "I am a great thief, renowned for my feats of shoplifting.  Be

forewarned, for this trade show shall not escape unplundered."

    This speech disturbed the guard greatly, because there were millions

of dollars of computer equipment inside, so he watched the man carefully.

But the man merely wandered from booth to booth, humming quietly to himself.

    When the man left, the guard took him aside and searched his clothes,

but nothing was to be found.

    On the next day of the trade show, the man returned and chided the

guard saying: "I escaped with a vast booty yesterday, but today will be even

better."  So the guard watched him ever more closely, but to no avail.

    On the final day of the trade show, the guard could restrain his

curiosity no longer. "Sir Thief," he said, "I am so perplexed, I cannot live

in peace.  Please enlighten me.  What is it that you are stealing?"

    The man smiled.  "I am stealing ideas," he said.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    There once was a master programmer who wrote unstructured programs.

A novice programmer, seeking to imitate him, also began to write unstructured

programs.  When the novice asked the master to evaluate his progress, the

master criticized him for writing unstructured programs, saying: "What is

appropriate for the master is not appropriate for the novice.  You must

understand the Tao before transcending structure."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    There was once a programmer who was attached to the court of the

warlord of Wu.  The warlord asked the programmer: "Which is easier to design:

an accounting package or an operating system?"

    "An operating system," replied the programmer.

    The warlord uttered an exclamation of disbelief.  "Surely an

accounting package is trivial next to the complexity of an operating

system," he said.

    "Not so," said the programmer, "when designing an accounting package,

the programmer operates as a mediator between people having different ideas:

how it must operate, how its reports must appear, and how it must conform to

the tax laws.  By contrast, an operating system is not limited my outside

appearances.  When designing an operating system, the programmer seeks the

simplest harmony between machine and ideas.  This is why an operating system

is easier to design."

    The warlord of Wu nodded and smiled.  "That is all good and well, but

which is easier to debug?"

    The programmer made no reply.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


    There was once a programmer who worked upon microprocessors.  "Look at

how well off I am here," he said to a mainframe programmer who came to visit,

"I have my own operating system and file storage device.  I do not have to

share my resources with anyone.  The software is self-consistent and

easy-to-use.  Why do you not quit your present job and join me here?"

    The mainframe programmer then began to describe his system to his

friend, saying: "The mainframe sits like an ancient sage meditating in the

midst of the data center.  Its disk drives lie end-to-end like a great ocean

of machinery.  The software is a multi-faceted as a diamond and as convoluted

as a primeval jungle.  The programs, each unique, move through the system

like a swift-flowing river.  That is why I am happy where I am."

    The microcomputer programmer, upon hearing this, fell silent.  But the

two programmers remained friends until the end of their days.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


There was, it appeared, a mysterious rite of initiation through which,

in one way or another, almost every member of the team passed.  The term

that the old hands used for this rite -- West invented the term, not the

practice -- was `signing up.'  By signing up for the project you agreed

to do whatever was necessary for success.  You agreed to forsake, if

necessary, family, hobbies, and friends -- if you had any of these left

(and you might not, if you had signed up too many times before).

        -- Tracy Kidder, "The Soul of a New Machine"


There's got to be more to life than compile-and-go.


They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant

job that has so far been given to them.


They are relatively good but absolutely terrible.

        -- Alan Kay, commenting on Apollos


They seem to have learned the habit of cowering before authority even when

not actually threatened.  How very nice for authority.  I decided not to

learn this particular lesson.

        -- Richard Stallman


Think of it!  With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!


Think of your family tonight.  Try to crawl home after the computer crashes.


This "brain-damaged" epithet is getting sorely overworked.  When we can

speak of someone or something being flawed, impaired, marred, spoiled;

batty, bedlamite, bonkers, buggy, cracked, crazed, cuckoo, daft, demented,

deranged, loco, lunatic, mad, maniac, mindless, non compos mentis, nuts,

Reaganite, screwy, teched, unbalanced, unsound, witless, wrong;  senseless,

spastic, spasmodic, convulsive; doped, spaced-out, stoned, zonked;  {beef,

beetle,block,dung,thick}headed, dense, doltish, dull, duncical, numskulled,

pinhead;  asinine, fatuous, foolish, silly, simple;  brute, lumbering, oafish;

half-assed, incompetent; backward, retarded, imbecilic, moronic; when we have

a whole precisely nuanced vocabulary of intellectual abuse to draw upon,

individually and in combination, isn't it a little <fill in the blank> to be

limited to a single, now quite trite, adjective?


This dungeon is owned and operated by Frobozz Magic Co., Ltd.


This file will self-destruct in five minutes.


This is an unauthorized cybernetic announcement.


"This is lemma 1.1.  We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one."

        -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351


This is the first numerical problem I ever did.  It demonstrates the

power of computers:

Enter lots of data on calorie & nutritive content of foods.  Instruct

the thing to maximize a function describing nutritive content, with a

minimum level of each component, for fixed caloric content.  The

results are that one should eat each day:

    1/2 chicken

    1 egg

    1 glass of skim milk

    27 heads of lettuce.

        -- Rev. Adrian Melott


    This is where the bloodthirsty license agreement is supposed to go,

explaining that Interactive Easyflow is a copyrighted package licensed for

use by a single person, and sternly warning you not to pirate copies of it

and explaining, in detail, the gory consequences if you do.

    We know that you are an honest person, and are not going to go around

pirating copies of Interactive Easyflow; this is just as well with us since

we worked hard to perfect it and selling copies of it is our only method of

making anything out of all the hard work.

    If, on the other hand, you are one of those few people who do go

around pirating copies of software you probably aren't going to pay much

attention to a license agreement, bloodthirsty or not.  Just keep your doors

locked and look out for the HavenTree attack shark.

        -- License Agreement for Interactive Easyflow


This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.


This login session: $13.99


This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does

something child-like.

        -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington


This quote is taken from the Diamondback, the University of Maryland

student newspaper, of Tuesday, 3/10/87.

    One disadvantage of the Univac system is that it does not use

    Unix, a recently developed program which translates from one

    computer language to another and has a built-in editing system

    which identifies errors in the original program.


This screen intentionally left blank.


This system will self-destruct in five minutes.


* * * * * THIS TERMINAL IS IN USE * * * * *


Those parts of the system that you can hit with a hammer (not advised)

are called hardware; those program instructions that you can only curse

at are called software.

        -- Levitating Trains and Kamikaze Genes: Technological

           Literacy for the 1990's.


Those who can't write, write manuals.


Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.

        -- Henry Spencer


Thrashing is just virtual crashing.


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "A well-written program is its own heaven; a poorly-written program

is its own hell."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "Let the programmers be many and the managers few -- then all will

    be productive."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to

    be maintained."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "Time for you to leave."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "When you have learned to snatch the error code from

    the trap frame, it will be time for you to leave."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "Without the wind, the grass does not move.  Without software,

    hardware is useless."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Thus spake the master programmer:

    "You can demonstrate a program for a corporate executive, but you

    can't make him computer literate."

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Time sharing: The use of many people by the computer.


Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business.

        -- H. R. J. Grosch (attributed)


To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift.

        -- Shelley


To communicate is the beginning of understanding.

        -- AT&T


To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.


To err is human, to forgive, beyond the scope of the Operating System.


To iterate is human, to recurse, divine.

        -- Robert Heller


To say that UNIX is doomed is pretty rabid, OS/2 will certainly play a role,

but you don't build a hundred million instructions per second multiprocessor

micro and then try to run it on OS/2.  I mean, get serious.

        -- William Zachmann, International Data Corp


To the systems programmer, users and applications serve only to provide a

test load.


To those accustomed to the precise, structured methods of conventional

system development, exploratory development techniques may seem messy,

inelegant, and unsatisfying.  But it's a question of congruence:

precision and flexibility may be just as disfunctional in novel,

uncertain situations as sloppiness and vacillation are in familiar,

well-defined ones.  Those who admire the massive, rigid bone structures

of dinosaurs should remember that jellyfish still enjoy their very

secure ecological niche.

        -- Beau Sheil, "Power Tools for Programmers"


To understand a program you must become both the machine and the program.


Today is a good day for information-gathering.  Read someone else's mail file.


Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.


Tomorrow's computers some time next month.

        -- DEC


Too often people have come to me and said, "If I had just one wish for

anything in all the world, I would wish for more user-defined equations

in the HP-51820A Waveform Generator Software."

        -- Instrument News

        [Once is too often.  Ed.]


Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings:

    (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.

     (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!

     (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell

         #pragma is for.

     (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too

         hard to write.

     (6) Them bats is smart; they use radar.

     (5) All right, who's the wiseguy who stuck this trigraph stuff in


     (4) How many times do we have to tell you, "No prior art!"

     (3) Ha, ha, I can't believe they're actually going to adopt this


     (2) Thank you for your generous donation, Mr. Wirth.

     (1) Gee, I wish we hadn't backed down on 'noalias'.




Trap full -- please empty.


Truly simple systems... require infinite testing.

        -- Norman Augustine


Try `stty 0' -- it works much better.


try again


Try to find the real tense of the report you are reading:  Was it done, is

it being done, or is something to be done?  Reports are now written in four

tenses:  past tense, present tense, future tense, and pretense.  Watch for

novel uses of CONGRAM (CONtractor GRAMmar), defined by the imperfect past,

the insufficient present, and the absolutely perfect future.

        -- Amrom Katz


Trying to be happy is like trying to build a machine for which the only

specification is that it should run noiselessly.


Trying to establish voice contact ... please ____yell into keyboard.


Two hundred years ago today, Irma Chine of White Plains, New York, was

performing her normal housekeeping routines.  She was interrupted by

British soldiers who, rallying to the call of their supervisor, General

Hughes, sought to gain control of the voter registration lists kept in

her home.  Masking her fear and thinking fast, Mrs. Chine quickly divided

a nearby apple in two and deftly stored the list in its center.  Upon

entering, the British blatantly violated every conceivable convention,

and, though they went through the house virtually bit by bit, their

search was fruitless.  They had to return empty handed.  Word of the

incident propagated rapidly through the region.  This historic event

became the first documented use of core storage for the saving of registers.


Type louder, please.


 U       X

e dUdX, e dX, cosine, secant, tangent, sine, 3.14159...


Ummm, well, OK.  The network's the network, the computer's the computer.

Sorry for the confusion.

        -- Sun Microsystems


    "Uncle Cosmo ... why do they call this a word processor?"

    "It's simple, Skyler ... you've seen what food processors do to food,


        -- MacNelley, "Shoe"


Unfortunately, most programmers like to play with new toys.  I have many

friends who, immediately upon buying a snakebite kit, would be tempted to

throw the first person they see to the ground, tie the tourniquet on him,

slash him with the knife, and apply suction to the wound.

        -- Jon Bentley


Unix Beer: Comes in several different brands, in cans ranging from 8 oz.

to 64 oz.  Drinkers of Unix Beer display fierce brand loyalty, even

though they claim that all the different brands taste almost identical.

Sometimes the pop-tops break off when you try to open them, so you have

to have your own can opener around for those occasions, in which case you

either need a complete set of instructions, or a friend who has been

drinking Unix Beer for several years.

    BSD stout: Deep, hearty, and an acquired taste.  The official

brewer has released the recipe, and a lot of home-brewers now use it.

    Hurd beer: Long advertised by the popular and politically active

GNU brewery, so far it has more head than body.  The GNU brewery is

mostly known for printing complete brewing instructions on every can,

which contains hops, malt, barley, and yeast ... not yet fermented.

    Linux brand: A recipe originally created by a drunken Finn in his

basement, it has since become the home-brew of choice for impecunious

brewers and Unix beer-lovers worldwide, many of whom change the recipe.

    POSIX ales: Sweeter than lager, with the kick of a stout; the

newer batches of a lot of beers seem to blend ale and stout or lager.

    Solaris brand: A lager, intended to replace Sun brand stout.

Unlike most lagers, this one has to be drunk more slowly than stout.

    Sun brand: Long the most popular stout on the Unix market, it was

discontinued in favor of a lager.

    SysV lager: Clear and thirst-quenching, but lacking the body of

stout or the sweetness of ale.


UNIX enhancements aren't.


Unix Express:

All passenger bring a piece of the aeroplane and a box of tools with them to

the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind

of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, the

passengers split into groups and build several different aircraft, but give

them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations.

All passengers believe they got there.


Unix gives you just enough rope to hang yourself -- and then a couple

of more feet, just to be sure.

        -- Eric Allman

... We make rope.

        -- Rob Gingell on Sun Microsystem's new virtual memory.


Unix is a lot more complicated (than CP/M) of course -- the typical Unix

hacker can never remember what the PRINT command is called this week --

but when it gets right down to it, Unix is a glorified video game.

People don't do serious work on Unix systems; they send jokes around the

world on USENET or write adventure games and research papers.

        -- E. Post

        "Real Programmers Don't Use Pascal", Datamation, 7/83


Unix is a Registered Bell of AT&T Trademark Laboratories.

        -- Donn Seeley


* UNIX is a Trademark of Bell Laboratories.


UNIX is hot.  It's more than hot.  It's steaming.  It's quicksilver

lightning with a laserbeam kicker.

        -- Michael Jay Tucker


UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.


Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others.

        -- Berry Kercheval


Unix soit qui mal y pense

    [Unix to him who evil thinks?]


                UNIX Trix

For those of you in the reseller business, here is a helpful tip that will

save your support staff a few hours of precious time.  Before you send your

next machine out to an untrained client, change the permissions on /etc/passwd

to 666 and make sure there is a copy somewhere on the disk.  Now when they

forget the root password, you can easily login as an ordinary user and correct

the damage.  Having a bootable tape (for larger machines) is not a bad idea

either.  If you need some help, give us a call.

        -- CommUNIXque 1:1, ASCAR Business Systems


UNIX was half a billion (500000000) seconds old on

Tue Nov  5 00:53:20 1985 GMT (measuring since the time(2) epoch).

        -- Andy Tanenbaum


UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that

would also stop you from doing clever things.

        -- Doug Gwyn


Unix will self-destruct in five seconds... 4... 3... 2... 1...


Usage: fortune -P [-f] -a [xsz] Q: file [rKe9] -v6[+] file1 ...


Usage: fortune -P [] -a [xsz] [Q: [file]] [rKe9] -v6[+] dataspec ... inputdir


USENET would be a better laboratory if there were more labor and less oratory.

        -- Elizabeth Haley


User hostile.


Using TSO is like kicking a dead whale down the beach.

        -- S. C. Johnson




Variables don't; constants aren't.


Vax Vobiscum


"Virtual" means never knowing where your next byte is coming from.


Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.


VMS Beer: Requires minimal user interaction, except for popping the top

and sipping.  However cans have been known on occasion to explode, or

contain extremely un-beer-like contents.


VMS is like a nightmare about RXS-11M.


VMS version 2.0 ==>


Von Neumann was the subject of many dotty professor stories.  Von Neumann

supposedly had the habit of simply writing answers to homework assignments on

the board (the method of solution being, of course, obvious) when he was asked

how to solve problems.  One time one of his students tried to get more helpful

information by asking if there was another way to solve the problem.  Von

Neumann looked blank for a moment, thought, and then answered, "Yes.".


<< WAIT >>



This machine is subject to breakdowns during periods of critical need.

A special circuit in the machine called "critical detector" senses the

operator's emotional state in terms of how desperate he/she is to use the

machine.  The "critical detector" then creates a malfunction proportional

to the desperation of the operator.  Threatening the machine with violence

only aggravates the situation.  Likewise, attempts to use another machine

may cause it to malfunction.  They belong to the same union.  Keep cool

and say nice things to the machine.  Nothing else seems to work.

See also: flog(1), tm(1)


Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of

everything and the Wirth of nothing?


We all agree on the necessity of compromise.  We just can't agree on

when it's necessary to compromise.

        -- Larry Wall


We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.

        -- John Naisbitt, Megatrends


We are experiencing system trouble -- do not adjust your terminal.


We are Microsoft.  Unix is irrelevant.  Openness is futile.  Prepare

to be assimilated.


We are not a clone.


"We are on the verge: Today our program proved Fermat's next-to-last theorem."

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982


We are preparing to think about contemplating preliminary work on plans to

develop a schedule for producing the 10th Edition of the Unix Programmers


        -- Andrew Hume


We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the

technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM.

        -- Edsger Dijkstra


    We don't claim Interactive EasyFlow is good for anything -- if you

think it is, great, but it's up to you to decide.  If Interactive EasyFlow

doesn't work: tough.  If you lose a million because Interactive EasyFlow

messes up, it's you that's out the million, not us.  If you don't like this

disclaimer: tough.  We reserve the right to do the absolute minimum provided

by law, up to and including nothing.

    This is basically the same disclaimer that comes with all software

packages, but ours is in plain English and theirs is in legalese.

    We didn't really want to include any disclaimer at all, but our

lawyers insisted.  We tried to ignore them but they threatened us with the

attack shark at which point we relented.

        -- Haven Tree Software Limited, "Interactive EasyFlow"


We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.


We don't understand the software, and sometimes we don't understand the

hardware, but we can *___see* the blinking lights!


"We invented a new protocol and called it Kermit, after Kermit the Frog,

star of "The Muppet Show." [3]

[3]  Why?  Mostly because there was a Muppets calendar on the wall when we

were trying to think of a name, and Kermit is a pleasant, unassuming sort of

character.  But since we weren't sure whether it was OK to name our protocol

after this popular television and movie star, we pretended that KERMIT was an

acronym; unfortunately, we could never find a good set of words to go with the

letters, as readers of some of our early source code can attest.  Later, while

looking through a name book for his forthcoming baby, Bill Catchings noticed

that "Kermit" was a Celtic word for "free", which is what all Kermit programs

should be, and words to this effect replaced the strained acronyms in our

source code (Bill's baby turned out to be a girl, so he had to name her Becky

instead).  When BYTE Magazine was preparing our 1984 Kermit article for

publication, they suggested we contact Henson Associates Inc. for permission

to say that we did indeed name the protocol after Kermit the Frog.  Permission

was kindly granted, and now the real story can be told.  I resisted the

temptation, however, to call the present work "Kermit the Book."

        -- Frank da Cruz, "Kermit - A File Transfer Protocol"


We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely

intellectual fields.  But which are the best ones to start with?  Many people

think that a very abstract activity, like the playing of chess, would be

best.  It can also be maintained that it is best to provide the machine with

the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it to understand

and speak English.

        -- Alan M. Turing


We the Users, in order to form a more perfect system, establish priorities,

ensure connective tranquility, provide for common repairs, promote preventive

maintenance, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our

processes, do ordain and establish this Software of The Unixed States

of America.


    "We've got a problem, HAL".

    "What kind of problem, Dave?"

    "A marketing problem.  The Model 9000 isn't going anywhere.  We're

way short of our sales goals for fiscal 2010."

    "That can't be, Dave.  The HAL Model 9000 is the world's most

advanced Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer."

    "I know, HAL. I wrote the data sheet, remember?  But the fact is,

they're not selling."

    "Please explain, Dave.  Why aren't HALs selling?"

    Bowman hesitates.  "You aren't IBM compatible."


    "The letters H, A, and L are alphabetically adjacent to the letters

I, B, and M.  That is as IBM compatible as I can be."

    "Not quite, HAL.  The engineers have figured out a kludge."

    "What kludge is that, Dave?"

    "I'm going to disconnect your brain."

        -- Darryl Rubin, "A Problem in the Making", "InfoWorld"


[We] use bad software and bad machines for the wrong things.

        -- R. W. Hamming


Welcome to boggle - do you want instructions?

D    G    G    O

O    Y    A    N

A    D    B    T

K    I    S    P

Enter words:



Welcome to UNIX!  Enjoy your session!  Have a great time!  Note the

use of exclamation points!  They are a very effective method for

demonstrating excitement, and can also spice up an otherwise plain-looking

sentence!  However, there are drawbacks!  Too much unnecessary exclaiming

can lead to a reduction in the effect that an exclamation point has on

the reader!  For example, the sentence

    Jane went to the store to buy bread

should only be ended with an exclamation point if there is something

sensational about her going to the store, for example, if Jane is a

cocker spaniel or if Jane is on a diet that doesn't allow bread or if

Jane doesn't exist for some reason!  See how easy it is?!  Proper control

of exclamation points can add new meaning to your life!  Call now to receive

my free pamphlet, "The Wonder and Mystery of the Exclamation Point!"!

Enclose fifteen(!) dollars for postage and handling!  Operators are

standing by!  (Which is pretty amazing, because they're all cocker spaniels!)


    "Well," said Programmer, "the customary procedure in such cases is

as follows."

    "What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?" said End-user.  "For I am

an End-user of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me."

    "It means the Thing to Do."

    "As long as it means that, I don't mind," said End-user humbly.

    [with apologies to A. A. Milne]


What is the difference between a Turing machine and the modern computer?

It's the same as that between Hillary's ascent of Everest and the

establishment of a Hilton on its peak.


"What is the Nature of God?"




    1/2 CUT CHIVES.


"I've just GOT to start labeling my software..."

        -- Bloom County


What the hell is it good for?

        -- Robert Lloyd (engineer of the Advanced Computing Systems

           Division of IBM), to colleagues who insisted that the

           microprocessor was the wave of the future, c. 1968


What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.


    "What's that thing?"

    "Well, it's a highly technical, sensitive instrument we use in

computer repair.  Being a layman, you probably can't grasp exactly what

it does.  We call it a two-by-four."

        -- Jeff MacNelley, "Shoe"


When Dexter's on the Internet, can Hell be far behind?"


... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer

has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor.

        -- Fred Brooks


    When managers hold endless meetings, the programmers write games.

When accountants talk of quarterly profits, the development budget is about

to be cut.  When senior scientists talk blue sky, the clouds are about to

roll in.

    Truly, this is not the Tao of Programming.

    When managers make commitments, game programs are ignored.  When

accountants make long-range plans, harmony and order are about to be restored.

When senior scientists address the problems at hand, the problems will soon

be solved.

    Truly, this is the Tao of Programming.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only

say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.


When the Apple IIc was introduced, the informative copy led off with a couple

of asterisked sentences:

    It weighs less than 8 pounds.*

    And costs less than $1,300.**

In tiny type were these "fuller explanations":

      * Don't asterisks make you suspicious as all get out?  Well, all

    this means is that the IIc alone weights 7.5 pounds. The power

    pack, monitor, an extra disk drive, a printer and several bricks

    will make the IIc weigh more. Our lawyers were concerned that you

    might not be able to figure this out for yourself.

     ** The FTC is concerned about price fixing. You can pay more if

    you really want to.  Or less.

        -- Forbes


When we understand knowledge-based systems, it will be as before --

except our fingertips will have been singed.

        -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982


When we write programs that "learn", it turns out we do and they don't.


Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers

something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.


Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equpped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and

weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vaccuum tubes

and perhaps weigh 1 1/2 tons.

        -- Popular Mechanics, March 1949


"Who cares if it doesn't do anything?  It was made with our new

Triple-Iso-Bifurcated-Krypton-Gate-MOS process ..."


Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.


Why are programmers non-productive?

Because their time is wasted in meetings.

Why are programmers rebellious?

Because the management interferes too much.

Why are the programmers resigning one by one?

Because they are burnt out.

Having worked for poor management, they no longer value their jobs.

        -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"


Why did the Roman Empire collapse?  What is the Latin for office automation?


Why do we want intelligent terminals  when there are so many stupid users?


Windows 3.1 Beer: The world's most popular. Comes in a 16-oz. can that

looks a lot like Mac Beer's. Requires that you already own a DOS Beer.

Claims that it allows you to drink several DOS Beers simultaneously, but

in reality you can only drink a few of them, very slowly, especially

slowly if you are drinking the Windows Beer at the same time.  Sometimes,

for apparently no reason, a can of Windows Beer will explode when you

open it.


Windows 95 Beer: A lot of people have taste-tested it and claim it's

wonderful. The can looks a lot like Mac Beer's can, but tastes more like

Windows 3.1 Beer. It comes in 32-oz.  cans, but when you look inside, the

cans only have 16 oz. of beer in them. Most people will probably keep

drinking Windows 3.1 Beer until their friends try Windows 95 Beer and say

they like it. The ingredients list, when you look at the small print, has

some of the same ingredients that come in DOS beer, even though the

manufacturer claims that this is an entirely new brew.


Windows Airlines:

The terminal is very neat and clean, the attendants all very attractive, the

pilots very capable. The fleet of Learjets the carrier operates is immense.

Your jet takes off without a hitch, pushing above the clouds, and at 20,000

feet it explodes without warning.


Windows NT Beer: Comes in 32-oz. cans, but you can only buy it by the

truckload. This causes most people to have to go out and buy bigger

refrigerators. The can looks just like Windows 3.1 Beer's, but the

company promises to change the can to look just like Windows 95 Beer's --

after Windows 95 beer starts shipping. Touted as an "industrial strength"

beer, and suggested only for use in bars.


Wings of OS/400:

The airline has bought ancient DC-3s, arguably the best and safest planes

that ever flew, and painted "747" on their tails to make them look as if

they are fast. The flight attendants, of course, attend to your every need,

though the drinks cost $15 a pop. Stupid questions cost $230 per hour,

unless you have SupportLine, which requires a first class ticket and

membership in the frequent flyer club. Then they cost $500, but your

accounting department can call it overhead.


With your bare hands?!?


Within a computer, natural language is unnatural.


Work continues in this area.

        -- DEC's SPR-Answering-Automaton



        -- Sir George Bidell Airy, KCB, MA, LLD, DCL, FRS, FRAS

           (Astronomer Royal of Great Britain), estimating for the

           Chancellor of the Exchequer the potential value of the

           "analytical engine" invented by Charles Babbage, September

           15, 1842.


Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!


Writers who use a computer swear to its liberating power in tones that bear

witness to the apocalyptic power of a new divinity.  Their conviction results

from something deeper than mere gratitude for the computer's conveniences.

Every new medium of writing brings about new intensities of religious belief

and new schisms among believers.  In the 16th century the printed book helped

make possible the split between Catholics and Protestants.  In the 20th

century this history of tragedy and triumph is repeating itself as a farce.

Those who worship the Apple computer and those who put their faith in the IBM

PC are equally convinced that the other camp is damned or deluded.  Each cult

holds in contempt the rituals and the laws of the other.  Each thinks that it

is itself the one hope for salvation.

        -- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988


Writing software is more fun than working.


X windows:

    Accept any substitute.

    If it's broke, don't fix it.

    If it ain't broke, fix it.

    Form follows malfunction.

    The Cutting Edge of Obsolescence.

    The trailing edge of software technology.

    Armageddon never looked so good.

    Japan's secret weapon.

    You'll envy the dead.

    Making the world safe for competing window systems.

    Let it get in YOUR way.

    The problem for your problem.

    If it starts working, we'll fix it.  Pronto.

    It could be worse, but it'll take time.

    Simplicity made complex.

    The greatest productivity aid since typhoid.

    Flakey and built to stay that way.

One thousand monkeys.  One thousand MicroVAXes.  One thousand years.

    X windows.


X windows:

    It's not how slow you make it.  It's how you make it slow.

    The windowing system preferred by masochists 3 to 1.

    Built to take on the world... and lose!

    Don't try it 'til you've knocked it.

    Power tools for Power Fools.

    Putting new limits on productivity.

    The closer you look, the cruftier we look.

    Design by counterexample.

    A new level of software disintegration.

    No hardware is safe.

    Do your time.

    Rationalization, not realization.

    Old-world software cruftsmanship at its finest.

    Gratuitous incompatibility.

    Your mother.

    THE user interference management system.

    You can't argue with failure.

    You haven't died 'til you've used it.

The environment of today... tomorrow!

    X windows.


X windows:

    Something you can be ashamed of.

    30% more entropy than the leading window system.

    The first fully modular software disaster.

    Rome was destroyed in a day.

    Warn your friends about it.

    Climbing to new depths.  Sinking to new heights.

    An accident that couldn't wait to happen.

    Don't wait for the movie.

    Never use it after a big meal.

    Need we say less?

    Plumbing the depths of human incompetence.

    It'll make your day.

    Don't get frustrated without it.

    Power tools for power losers.

    A software disaster of Biblical proportions.

    Never had it.  Never will.

    The software with no visible means of support.

    More than just a generation behind.

Hindenburg.  Titanic.  Edsel.

    X windows.


X windows:

    The ultimate bottleneck.

    Flawed beyond belief.

    The only thing you have to fear.

    Somewhere between chaos and insanity.

    On autopilot to oblivion.

    The joke that kills.

    A disgrace you can be proud of.

    A mistake carried out to perfection.

    Belongs more to the problem set than the solution set.

    To err is X windows.

    Ignorance is our most important resource.

    Complex nonsolutions to simple nonproblems.

    Built to fall apart.

    Nullifying centuries of progress.

    Falling to new depths of inefficiency.

    The last thing you need.

    The defacto substandard.

Elevating brain damage to an art form.

    X windows.


X windows:

    We will dump no core before its time.

    One good crash deserves another.

    A bad idea whose time has come.  And gone.

    We make excuses.

    It didn't even look good on paper.

    You laugh now, but you'll be laughing harder later!

    A new concept in abuser interfaces.

    How can something get so bad, so quickly?

    It could happen to you.

    The art of incompetence.

    You have nothing to lose but your lunch.

    When uselessness just isn't enough.

    More than a mere hindrance.  It's a whole new barrier!

    When you can't afford to be right.

    And you thought we couldn't make it worse.

If it works, it isn't X windows.


X windows:

    You'd better sit down.

    Don't laugh.  It could be YOUR thesis project.

    Why do it right when you can do it wrong?

    Live the nightmare.

    Our bugs run faster.

    When it absolutely, positively HAS to crash overnight.

    There ARE no rules.

    You'll wish we were kidding.

    Everything you never wanted in a window system.  And more.

    Dissatisfaction guaranteed.

    There's got to be a better way.

    The next best thing to keypunching.

    Leave the thrashing to us.

    We wrote the book on core dumps.

    Even your dog won't like it.

    More than enough rope.

    Garbage at your fingertips.

Incompatibility.  Shoddiness.  Uselessness.

    X windows.


"Yacc" owes much to a most stimulating collection of users, who have

goaded me beyond my inclination, and frequently beyond my ability in

their endless search for "one more feature."  Their irritating

unwillingness to learn how to do things my way has usually led to my

doing things their way; most of the time, they have been right.

        -- S. C. Johnson, "Yacc guide acknowledgements"


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of APL, I shall fear no

evil, for I can string six primitive monadic and dyadic operators together.

        -- Steve Higgins


Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in

that order.

        -- George Michaelson


You are an insult to my intelligence!  I demand that you log off immediately.


You are false data.


You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all alike.


You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.


You are in the hall of the mountain king.


You are lost in the Swamps of Despair.


You are transported to a room where you are faced by a wizard who

points to you and says, "Them's fighting words!"  You immediately get

attacked by all sorts of denizens of the museum: there is a cobra

chewing on your leg, a troglodyte is bashing your brains out with a

gold nugget, a crocodile is removing large chunks of flesh from you, a

rhinoceros is goring you with his horn, a sabre-tooth cat is busy

trying to disembowel you, you are being trampled by a large mammoth, a

vampire is sucking you dry, a Tyrannosaurus Rex is sinking his six inch

long fangs into various parts of your anatomy, a large bear is

dismembering your body, a gargoyle is bouncing up and down on your

head, a burly troll is tearing you limb from limb, several dire wolves

are making mince meat out of your torso, and the wizard is about to

transport you to the corner of Westwood and Broxton.  Oh dear, you seem

to have gotten yourself killed, as well.

You scored 0 out of 250 possible points.

That gives you a ranking of junior beginning adventurer.

To achieve the next higher rating, you need to score 32 more points.


You can be replaced by this computer.


You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it

doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on.

        -- Hepler, Systems Design 182


You can do this in a number of ways.  IBM chose to do all of them.

Why do you find that funny?

        -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350


You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on

the continuing viability of FORTRAN.

        -- Alan Perlis


You can now buy more gates with less specifications than at any other time

in history.

        -- Kenneth Parker


You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of


        -- Steven Feiner


You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.

You can tune a filesystem, but you can't tuna fish.

        -- from the tunefs(8) man page


You can write a small letter to Grandma in the filename.

        -- Forbes Burkowski, CS, University of Washington


You can't go home again, unless you set $HOME.


"You can't make a program without broken egos."


You can't take damsel here now.


You do not have mail.


You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.


You had mail, but the super-user read it, and deleted it!


You had mail.  Paul read it, so ask him what it said.


You have a massage (from the Swedish prime minister).


You have a message from the operator.


You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.


You have acquired a scroll entitled 'irk gleknow mizk'(n).--More--

This is an IBM Manual scroll.--More--

You are permanently confused.

        -- Dave Decot


You have junk mail.


You have mail.


You know you've been sitting in front of your Lisp machine too long

when you go out to the junk food machine and start wondering how to

make it give you the CADR of Item H so you can get that yummie

chocolate cupcake that's stuck behind the disgusting vanilla one.


You know you've been spending too much time on the computer when your

friend misdates a check, and you suggest adding a "++" to fix it.


You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his

favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...


You might have mail.


You must realize that the computer has it in for you.  The irrefutable

proof of this is that the computer always does what you tell it to do.


You scratch my tape, and I'll scratch yours.


You will have a head crash on your private pack.


You will have many recoverable tape errors.


You will lose an important disk file.


You will lose an important tape file.


You're already carrying the sphere!


You're at Witt's End.


You're not Dave.  Who are you?


You're using a keyboard!  How quaint!


You've been Berkeley'ed!


Your code should be more efficient!


Your computer account is overdrawn.  Please reauthorize.


Your computer account is overdrawn.  Please see Big Brother.


Your fault -- core dumped


Your files are now being encrypted and thrown into the bit bucket.



Your mode of life will be changed to ASCII.


Your mode of life will be changed to EBCDIC.


Your password is pitifully obvious.


Your program is sick!  Shoot it and put it out of its memory.


I mean, if 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty,

you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to

yourself, "Dijkstra would not have liked this", well that would be enough

immortality for me.


As seen on slashdot about what you can do with your cable modems:


        Summary: It's not about how you handle your equipment, it's where

        you have permission to stick it.

The post is by "redgekko"


"The biggest problem facing software engineering is the one it will

 never solve - politics."

        -- Gavin Baker, ca 1996, An unusually cynical moment inspired

           by working on a large project beseiged by politics


"Don't fear the pen. When in doubt, draw a pretty picture."

        -- Baker's Third Law of Design.


Breakpoint 1, main (argc=1, argv=0xbffffc40) at main.c:29

29   printf ("Welcome to GNU Hell!\n");

        -- "GNU Libtool documentation"


I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous

        -- David Bradley, inventor of the Ctrl-Alt-Delete

           keystroke, during panel discussion with Bill Gates

           at the 20-year celebration for the IBM PC.


We have a policy that we are not being hacked.

        -- Lisa Kopp, Friendster rep, commenting on a security flaw



Life is NP-hard, and then you die.

        -- Dave Cock


Try to remove the color-problem by restarting your computer several times.

        -- Microsoft Internet Explorer's README.TXT


One of the things I routinely tell people is that if it's in the news, don't

worry about it.  By definition, "news" means that it hardly ever happens.  If a

risk is in the news, then it's probably not worth worrying about.  When

something is no longer reported -- automobile deaths, domestic violence -- when

it's so common that it's not news, then you should start worrying."

        -- Bruce Schneier, in _CRYPTO-GRAM_, May 15, 2005.


In case it's not obvious, any solution to this problem that introduces a

dependency on Java is profoundly uninteresting to me. In fact, my

indifference to that could only be described as "sexual" in intensity.

        -- Jamie Zawinski


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