The Craft of Programming

August 31, 2009 at 11:16 am | Posted in Patterns, Programming | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

Here are some quotes I have gathered over the years. They are written by some of the best known Programmers and Hackers with occasionally some very good programmers thrown in, if not great. They inspired me, changed the way I look at programming and especially at some programming languages and methods to solve problems:

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

“Something we didn’t want was an object-oriented language. OO languages remain a popular fad, but our experience using C++ in the EROS system was that it actively got in the way of understanding what was going on.”

The Origins of the BitC Programming Language

When you want to use a language that gets compiled and runs at high speed, the best language to use is C. Using another language is like using a non-standard feature.
GNU Coding Standards

“First off, I’d suggest printing out a copy of the GNU coding standards,
and NOT read it. Burn them, it’s a great symbolic gesture.”
Linux kernel coding guidelines

“C++ will rot your brain”
— someone from #lisp at

“pointer arithmetic and array indexing [that] are equivalent in C, pointers and arrays are different.” Wayne Throop

“An array is not a pointer, nor vice versa” — Steve Summit in C FAQs

“Attitude is no substitute for competence”
— Eric S. Raymond in How to become a Hacker

Q: I’m having problems with my Windows software. Will you help me?

A: Yes. Go to a DOS prompt and type “format c:”. Any problems you are experiencing will cease within a few minutes.

Eric S. Raymond

“This answer cannot be decided by current law—the law should conform to ethics, not the other way around” — Richard M. Stallman

“Lisp is a programmable programming language.”
John Foderaro, CACM, September 1991

Q: “My company needs a proprietary operating system to get a competitive edge.”

A: GNU will remove operating system software from the realm of competition. You will not be able to get an edge in this area, but neither will your competitors be able to get an edge over you. You and they will compete in other areas, while benefiting mutually in this one.

“There is nothing wrong with wanting pay for work, or seeking to maximize one’s income, as long as one does not use means that are destructive. But the means customary in the field of software today are based on destruction.” — Richard M. Stallman

“Haskell saves lives

“In general, functional languages offer powerful new ways to encapsulate abstractions” — Haskell Wiki

“I invented the term ‘Object-Oriented’, and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.”
— Alan Kay.

“C++ is the only current language making COBOL look good”
Bertrand Meyer

“It’s 5.50 a.m…. Do you know where your stack pointer is ?”
— Anonymous

“I understand the philosophy that developer cycles are more important than cpu cycles, but frankly that’s just a bumper-sticker slogan and not fair to the people who are complaining about performance.”
Joel Spolsky

“The standard — either one — is not the End of All C. Writing ‘strictly conforming’ C code, however, has an enormous benefit.”
Chris Torek

“Wait a minute, I want to modify that statement. I’m not claiming, in this particular article, that there’s anything wrong with Java as an implementation language. There are lots of things wrong with it but those will have to wait for a different article.” — Joel Spolsky

“Without understanding functional programming, you can’t invent MapReduce, the algorithm that makes Google so massively scalable”
— Joel Spolsky

“It [Java] might be successful – after all, MS DOS was – and it might be a profitable thing for all your readers to learn Java, but it has no intellectual value whatsoever. Look at their implementation of hash tables. Look at the sorting routines that come with their “cool” sorting applet. ”
– Alexander Stepanov

“Java isn’t platform independent; it is a platform. Like Windows, it is a proprietary commercial platform. ”
Bjarne Stroustrup



Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008 Arnuld Uttre, #331/type-2/sector-1, Naya Nangal, Distt. – Ropar, Punjab (INDIA) – 140126

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice, and the copyright notice, are preserved.


Leave a Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.