Random IT-related quotes
Just some random quotes I found on the Internet and thought worth keeping. I've tried to attribute
them to source wherever possible, but some I just don't know about.
There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little
Success is relative: It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things. -- T.S. Eliot, "The
- Microsoft Windows: Proof that P.T. Barnum was correct.
- -- from Denny Miller's .sig
- -rw-rw-rw- : the file permission of the beast
- An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt.
It's not the Information Superhighway, but the Information Sewer System: Every nitwit with a toilet
flushing the most unimaginable garbage upon us.
- Weiler's Law:
- Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.
- Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
- -- Knuth
There is one terrifying word in the world of nuclear physics.....Oops.
- Program (Pro'-gram) n. A magic spell cast over a computer, causing it to turn one's input into
- Masochists are people who have pain confused with pleasure. In a society which has television
confused with entertainment, Doritos confused with food, and Dan Quayle confused with a national
political leader, masochists are clearly less mixed up than the rest of us."
- -- P.J. O'Rourke
- A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject
- -- Winston Churchill
- X-rated movies are all alike ... the only thing they leave to the imagination is the plot.
- -- Brad Littlejohn
- Conversation, n.:
- A vocal competition in which the one who is catching his breath is called the listener. -- Brad
- Most of the people I know are more critical of their own faults. Especially when they find them
in other people.
- -- Seth
- If two men agree on everything, you can be sure one of them is doing the thinking.
- -- Lyndon Baines Johnson
- Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context.
- -- Unknown
- de-moc-ra-cy (di mok' ra see) n.
- Three wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner -- Bill Gunshannon, firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it's a whole bunch of conformists
who have just decided that the nonconformist's behavior, apparel, or decoration are worthy of imitation.
(apologies to Bill Vaughan)
- The longer a man is wrong, the surer he is that he's right.
- The best way to get information on Usenet is not to ask a question, but to post the wrong information.
- -- email@example.com (Aahz)
- The government which fears arms in the hands of its people...should.
- To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.
- --e. e. cummings
- Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment
by the corrupt few.
- -- G. B. Shaw
- Pascal, n.:
- A programming language named after a man who would turn over in his grave if he knew about it.
- Most of us, when all is said and done, like what we like and make up reasons for it afterwards.
- -- Soren F. Petersen
- Users, like hard disks, fall into two categories: those that have massively screwed up, and
those that will.
- --Ben Yalow
- Code fast, crash young, and leave a pretty core
- -- Robert Cohen
- A society without religion is like a crazed psychopath without a loaded .45
- -- Mike Beebe
- I'd like to buy him for what I think he is worth, and sell him for what he thinks he is worth.
- -- firstname.lastname@example.org
- A pessimist is someone who has had to listen to too many Optimists.
- -- Unknown
- Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under socialism, it's just the opposite.
- --John Kenneth Galbraith
- A novice was trying to fix a broken lisp machine by turning the power off and on. Teacher, 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." Student turned the machine on. The machine worked.
Humans...God's attempt to pass the Turing test.
- -- Maya
- Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.
- --Mark Twain
- Diplomacy: The art of saying "Nice Doggy" while searching for a rock
- -- Paul Austin
- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
- -- Albert Einstein
- But when you borrow from everybody, it's "research".
- --Charlie Luce (paraphrasing R. A. Heinlein)
- People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact
- -- Vice President Dan Quayle
- "(F)rames can add something to a page, primarily annoyance..."
- -- Were-Mutt
- Make no laws whatever concerning speech and, speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration
on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that "freedom does not
mean abuse, nor liberty license;" and they will define and define freedom out of existence.
- -- Voltarine de Cleyre (1866-1912)
- If you're happy and you know it, clank your chains!
- A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with
the possible exception of handguns and tequila.
- -- Mitch Ratcliffe
- Real Life? What's that? Oh yeah, the annoying time between computer crashes.
- -- Steven Stephens
- Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature.
- -- Rich Kulawiec
- "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it."
- -- Donald Knuth
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
- Morality is the theory that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that 99 percent
of them are wrong.
- --H.L. Mencken
Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike.
- Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
- --H.G. Wells
The weak conform, the strong survive
Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen, and some people wonder, 'What
- Real programmers can write assembly code in any language. :-)
- --Larry Wall in <8571@jpl-devvax.JPL.NASA.GOV>
Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
- --Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
- Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless
it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
- Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones
at those who are showing a new road.
- In young scientific fields, if you say all the accepted positions are wrong, you'll seldom be
- --J. Ostriker
- When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to reform.
- --Mark Twain
I'm going to live forever, or die trying.
Engineers think that equations approximate the real world.
Scientists think that the real world approximates equations.
Mathematicians are unable to make the connection.
It is not a sign of weakness to ask for guidance; nor is it a crime to be uninformed, but to choose
the path of ignorance is unforgivable.
To an optimist, it's half full.
To a pessimist, it's half empty.
To an engineer, it's twice as big as necessary...
- If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable.
- --John F. Kennedy
- Our earth is degenerate these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming
to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.
- --Inscription, 4800 year-old tablet (quoted in Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts)
- We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient.
They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self control.
- --Inscription, 6000 year-old Egyptian tomb (quoted in R.Buckminster Fuller's I Seem to be a
- An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.
- The point to remember is that what the government gives, it must first take away.
- --John S. Coleman
- When I get a little money, I buy books; and, if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
- A man is as old as the woman he feels.
- --Groucho Marx
- It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
- The sun, the moon, and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be
within the reach of human hands.
- --Havelock Ellis
- Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the
- --George Eliot
- Never just complain. Exchange, listen, inform, work toward solutions. Choose your
battles carefully and realistically and take action.
- --Grey Watson
- Outlawing cryptography is like outlawing pencils because bookies use them to record bets.
- --John Perry Barlow, EFF-Austin Cryptography Conference (October 1993)
- The problem with the global village is all the global village idiots
- --P. Ginsparg
- .. the Twentieth Century, the innovative century that brought you WW I, WW II, and WWW.
- --Bill Higgins .sig
- Stop tolerating in your leaders what you would not tolerate in your friends.
- --Michael Ventura
- Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram
them down people's throats.
- --Howard Aiken
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt
the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
-- George Bernard Shaw
- The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Originality is the art of concealing your source.
Traditional human government consists of thieves and murderers. By adopting the electoral process,
we have weeded out the murderers. This is actually about as good as it gets.
- Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
- -- Nikita Khrushchev
- H. L. Mencken's Law:
Those who can -- do.
Those who can't -- teach.
- Martin's Extension:
Those who cannot teach -- administrate.
- Miavir's Extension:
Those who cannot administrate -- criticize.
- Kai's Addendum:
Those who cannot do anything -- become politicians.
- -- From Tony Gale <email@example.com> 's .signature:
The Arkansas legislature passed a law that states that the Arkansas River can rise no higher
than to the Main Street bridge in Little Rock.
||Things programmers do that they know shouldn't work but they try anyway, and which sometimes
actually work, such as recompiling everything.
- -- Karl Lehenbauer
- Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.
- -- Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack
Rule 46, Oxford Union Society, London:
- Any member introducing a dog into the Society's premises shall be liable to a fine of one pound.
Any animal leading a blind person shall be deemed to be a cat.
Humor on Computers, Systems and Programming
- Real programmers don't comment their code. It was hard to write, it should be hard to understand
and even harder to modify.
- Real Programmers don't document. Documentation is for simpletons who can't read listings or the object
code from the dump.
- Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.
- Real Programmers don't write in COBOL. COBOL is for COmmon Business-Oriented Laymen who can't run
a business, much less write a real program.
- Real Programmers don't write in COBOL. COBOL was designed to be read, not run. Unfortunately it is
often run anyway.
- Real Programmers don't write in APL, unless the whole program can be written on one line.
- Real Programmers don't write in LISP. Only idiots' programs contain more parenthesis than actual
- Real Programmers don't write in PASCAL, BLISS, ADA, or any of those other sissy computer science
languages. Strong typing is the crutch for people with weak minds.
- 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 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 RPG. RPG is for gum-chewing dimwits who maintain ancient payroll
- Real Programmers don't write applications programs. They program right down on the bare metal. Applications
programming is for the dullards who can't do systems programming.
- Real Programmers don't write specs. Users should be grateful for whatever they get: they are lucky
to get any programs at all.
- Real Programmers don't read manuals. Reliance on a reference manual is the hallmark of the novice
and the coward.
- Real Programmers don't believe in schedules. Planners make up schedules. Managers "firm up" schedules.
Frightened coders strive to meet schedules. Real Programmers ignore schedules.
- Real Programmers consider "what you see is what you get" to be just as bad a concept in text editors
as it is in women. No, the Real Programmer wants a "you asked for it, you got it" text editor -- complicated,
cryptic, powerful, unforgiving, dangerous.
- 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 use the Help key.
- C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows away
your whole leg. ---Bjarne Stroustrup
- If I hear the phrase ``everything is an object'' once more, I think I will scream. ---Michael Stonebraker
- "The C Programming Language -- A language which combines the flexibility of assembly language with
the power of assembly language."
- COBOL programs are an exercise in Artificial Inelegance.
- PASCAL: A programming language named after a man who would turn over in his grave if he knew about
- 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
- Bug: An aspect of a computer program which exists because the programmer was thinking about Jumbo
Jacks or stock options when he wrote the program.
- Heisenbug: [from Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics] A bug that disappears or
alters its behavior when one attempts to probe or isolate it. (This usage is not even particularly fanciful;
the use of a debugger sometimes alters a program's operating environment significantly enough that buggy
code, such as that which relies on the values of uninitialized memory, behaves quite differently.) Antonym
of Bohr bug; see also mandelbug, schroedinbug. In C, nine out of ten heisenbugs result from uninitialized
auto variables, fandango on core phenomena (esp. lossage related to corruption of the malloc arena)
or errors that smash the stack.
- Bohr Bug: [from quantum physics] A repeatable bug; one that manifests reliably under a possibly unknown
but well-defined set of conditions.
- Mandel Bug: [from the Mandelbrot set] A bug whose underlying causes are so complex and obscure as
to make its behavior appear chaotic or even non-deterministic. This term implies that the speaker thinks
it is a Bohr bug, rather than a heisenbug.
- Schroedinbug [Schroedinger's Cat thought-experiment in quantum physics] A design or implementation
bug in a program that doesn't manifest until someone reading source or using the program in an unusual
way notices that it never should have worked, at which point the program promptly stops working for
everybody until fixed. Though (like bit rot) this sounds impossible, it happens; some programs have
harbored latent schroedinbugs for years.
- 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.
- Hardware: The parts of a computer system that can be kicked.
- "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 complaining." -- Jeff Raskin, interviewed in Doctor
- "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, President
of DEC, World Future Society Convention, 1977
- A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a
- Error, no keyboard - press F1 to continue.
- "Unix is user friendly - it's just a bit more choosy about who it's friends are." -- Gene Buckle
- "The box said 'Requires Windows 95, NT, or better,' so I installed Linux."
- Computers are like air conditioners. They stop working when you open Windows.
- "... being a Linux user is sort of like living in a house inhabited by a large family of carpenters
and architects. Every morning when you wake up, the house is a little different. Maybe there is a new
turret, or some walls have moved. Or perhaps someone has temporarily removed the floor under your bed."
-- Unix for Dummies, Jon "maddog" Hall
- The only thing Micro$oft has done for society, is make people believe that computers are inherently
- "Where do you want to go today?" -- Microsoft ad campaign "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" --
- "One cannot delete the Web browser from KDE without losing the ability to manage files on the user's
own hard disk." - Prof. Stuart E Madnick, MIT. So called "expert" witness for Microsoft. 2002/05/02
/ / __ _ _ _ _ __ __
/ /__ / / / \// //_// \ \/ / -o)
/____/ /_/ /_/\/ /___/ /_/\_\ /\\
is lika a WIGWAM: _\_v-
No gates, no windows, and an Apache inside.
- Linux is for networking, Mac is for working, Windows is just for solitaire.
- "An Interface is what gets in between you and what you want to do." - Carl Havermiste
- "It's large amounts of well-organized ignorance that scares me." - Cody Ann Michaels, quoted by Steve
Thompson, Sysadmin, Malcontent
- "Modularity is not a hack." - Dan Bernstein
- "Troubleshooting is intrinsically a layering violation." - Larry Doolittle
- "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, as quoted by Erik de Castro Lopo
- "I don't trust a precompiled binary any farther than I can spit a rat." - Erik Fichtner
- "FF1517 packages are for professional drivers only, on a closed course." - Austin Lesea
- "The cheapest, fastest and most reliable components of a computer system are those that aren't there."
- Gordon Bell, DEC laboratories, quoted by Jörn Engel
- "The real romance is out ahead and yet to come. The computer revolution hasn't started yet. Don't
be misled by the enormous flow of money into bad defacto standards for unsophisticated buyers using
poor adaptations of incomplete ideas." - Alan Kay, quoted by Donovan Rebbechi
- "See everything; overlook a great deal; correct a little." - Pope John XXIII
- "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore, quoted by Bjørn Borud
- "The Web is to graphic design as the fax machine is to literature." - Decklin Foster
- "Computers are state machines. Threads are for people who can't program state machines." - Alan Cox
- "Have you ever worked until late at night, put the resulting alpha software in a public location,
and then read a bug report and suggested fix from halfway around the world using the bedside laptop
the next morning? I have." - Donald J. Becker
in November, 1993
- "Just because the code is intended to cause flaming death is no reason to get sloppy and leave off
the casts." - Tim Smith
, regarding sample (F0 0F C7 C8) Pentium Death code on comp.os.linux.advocacy
- "Note that if I can get you to 'su and say' something just by asking, you have a very serious security
problem on your system and you should look into it." - Paul Vixie
, in the vixie-cron
3.0.1 installation notes
- "DES itself is now 'DED'. It is 'kid sister' code. It has 'X'es for eyeballs. It is defunct. It is
an ex-protocol." - Robert Hettinga
, in July 20, 1998 letter explaining that it
costs $684.93 to break one DES key.
- "...very few phenomena can pull someone out of Deep Hack Mode, with two noted exceptions: being struck
by lightning, or worse, your *computer* being struck by lightning." - Matt Welsh
- "Well, let's just say, 'if your VCR is still blinking 12:00, you don't want Linux.'" - Bruce Perens,
Debian's Fearless Leader
- "The sticker on the side of the box said 'Supported Platforms: Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0, or better',
so clearly Linux was a supported platform." - Nathan Hand
- "Would you buy a car with the hood welded shut? Debian/GNU Linux ... the maintainable operating system."
- Tim Thomson
- "Right now some people are just running around in circles and claiming that moving things to the
kernel automatically makes it more stable. I'm telling you that the kernel is stable not because it's
a kernel, but because I refuse to listen to arguments like this." - Linus Torvalds
- "I don't know what you would do for MSDOS other than boot Linux." - Russ Nelson
- "All I'm saying is this: 'Great, you're a new pilot, and you want to fly. Fine. We've got a Cessna
127 here, and an F16. You know, I think you ought to start with the Cessna.'" - Bryan Pfaffenberger
, explaining why he wants companies to create "Linux Lite" products targeted for newcomers
- "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, set a bone, comfort
the dying, take orders, give orders, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, fight efficiently,
die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Lazarus Long, in Time Enough for Love by Robert A.
- "How do you power off this machine?" - Linus, when upgrading linux.cs.helsinki.fi, and after using
the machine for several months
- "Who is General Failure and why is he reading my disc?"
- 'Hit any user to continue'
- Use the force, read the source!
- Of course it doesn't work. We've performed a software upgrade.
- Artificial Intelligence stands no chance against Natural Stupidity.
- "Lies, damned lies and FPGA Gate Count." - Uwe Bonnes
- "My favorite programming language is a soldering iron." - Steve Ciarcia
- "Computers are useless; they can only give you answers." - Pablo Picasso
- [X] <- nail here for new monitor
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Fifty glorious years (1950-2000):
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