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Software Quotations

"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. -Bill Gates"

"Programming is like sex: one mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life. -Michael Sinz"

What is your favourite software quote?

I have been collecting quotations from the world of programming and made a website at

I would like to get some feedback on the website and
see some more quotations about software development.

Quotations from the World of Programming
Quotations from the World of Photography

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Gordie Howe was asked what Bobby Orr's best move was...  Gordie hesitated briefly, chuckled and replied

"Putting on his fucking skates!"

Brad Siemens
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Couple of ones I've used in software development situations.

Gen. George Patton:  "a good plan executed today always beats a perfect plan executed tomorrow"

Mike Tyson: "everyone has a plan until they get hit."

... or words to that effect...

D Ross
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

"Giving the Linus Torvalds Award to the Free Software Foundation is a bit like giving the Han Solo Award to the Rebel Alliance."

Richard Stallman, accepting the 1999 LinuxWorld's Linus Torvalds Award for Community Service

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I once heard somebody say "But it's working as coded!" in an attempt to justify some bad code. When I am asked for progress on whatever I'm developing, I sometimes say in a serious voice, "It's working as coded" , it's amazing how many people are happy with that.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

My favourite comes from Larry Ellison when Oracle was just starting. He would go around to the clients, promise them vaporware, and then force the programmers to ship seriously buggy code, which kept on crashing with dire consequences.

On one of the occasions when he was phoning back to headquarters from the road one of the developers asked him how many people had asked for their money bacK.

"Oh, nobody's asked for their money back yet" he replied. "A few have asked for their data back though!"

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I find it difficult to believe that Bill Gates really said "We will never make a 32 bit operating system". I can believe the "640kb enough for anyone" quotation as he was probably talking about the situation _at the time_, but surely he wouldn't have ruled out making a 32-bit OS at some indeterminate point in the future?

Adrian Gilby
Thursday, November 14, 2002

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 not obvious deficiencies.  The former method is by far the more difficult.
C.A.R. Hoare – in his Turing Award acceptance speech (1980)

and the one I have on my monitor now:
"If you automate a mess, you get an automated mess."
Rod Michael, Directory of Customer E-Business, Rockwell Automation.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

One that should be engraved on the retina of all commissioning managers.

"A database can't do everything", supposedly said in frustration to the second in command of the US Navy who kept on upping the ante.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Skimmed the site, and found this:

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

... love it.

It also has the "premature optimization" quote.

I've been keeping a file of memorable quotes from some of my coworkers and myself.  Nothing that would fit at, but fun nonetheless:

Bill: Anything can be made into a Star Trek reference.
Paul (me): That doesn't mean it should be.

Bill: Make the simplifying assumption that there are no users.

Paul [referring to meatloaf]: In Texas, we call that a vegetable.

Paul: I keep having to remind people how easygoing I am.

Josh (to Jen/Bill/Brian): It's too bad; you're going to Germany in that
  depressing part between OktoberFest and when the Kristkindlsmarkt(?)s
Paul: Yeah, in fact they have a festival just for that.
Bill: Schadenfest.

There are some in that file that are even better (IMO), but I dare not repeat them here...

Paul Brinkley
Thursday, November 14, 2002

"I'll talk it into her!"

Referring to my wife the night we met.  Incidentally, I did, just took longer than I'm willing to admit.

Brad Siemens
Thursday, November 14, 2002

> I find it difficult to believe that Bill Gates really said "We will never make a 32 bit operating system".

Perhaps he was promising not to compete against OS/2.

Christopher Wells
Thursday, November 14, 2002

"there are 10 types of people : People who can read binary, people who can't"

Friday, November 15, 2002

Hoffstetler's law of software development:

"Software development takes twice as long as anticipated, even when you take into account Hoffstetler's law"

Bill Carlson
Friday, November 15, 2002

I usually refer to any problem in software that was caused by something that would take too long to explain as simply a 'computah glitch'

My favorite software quote is this dearly pearl of a comment  in source code sprinkled lovingly all over...  It goes like this:

// this should never happen


David Mossakowski
Friday, November 15, 2002

That reminds me of one of the error messages in a software package we use.

"This error message should never be seen."

I try to avert my gaze whenever it pops up.

Steve Barbour
Friday, November 15, 2002

"No keyboard detected. Press F1 to continue"

Stephen Jones
Friday, November 15, 2002

one of the more interesting things I have ever come up with... I was drunk at the time :)

"My brain works in mysterious ways. It has a mind of its own."

Saturday, November 16, 2002

My friend George has an Power Book G4, and I have a Dell Inspiron; we have these constant battles on which is superior ... on one such occasion I said "To err is human, to buy a mac is George"

at that time it was really funny:-)

Prakash S
Saturday, November 16, 2002

"Get others to give you free content..and sell banner ads on it" -- you


Jeff Winkler
Sunday, November 17, 2002

From a colleague, to non-IT savvy management:
"Just because we can do this, doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea."

Monday, November 18, 2002

"The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at least until we've finished building it."

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

"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)

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

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