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Latest comment: 16 years ago by LrdChaos in topic Erasmus Smums quote
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Universe, programmers and idiots


I believe is has been said by Douglas Adams Rick Cook, The Wizardry Compiled (1989). Should be able to Google it. "Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning."



Wasn't it "640k is ought to be enough for everyone"?

Data torturing

  • I have the following quote attributed by to Fred Menger. This article attribues the quote differently. Rossami 14:30, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

    If you torture data sufficiently, it will confess to almost anything.

Do we need all the win2k source code comments? You find stuff like that in anything; there's plenty in Linux, and in the video game Homeworld.

  • If you know of any from Linux or any other system, post them. They are there because they are funny, not just an attack on Microsoft.



I added a cleanup tag to this article because there are quite a few quotes here that have either no source or look like personal quotes from non-notable people or sources, which is against Wikiquote policy. (This is a general problem with Wikiquote articles, but seems excessive on this one.) Also, it could use some copyediting, especially in changing external to internal wiki links and perhaps some format tuning. Could we work on determining which of these quotes are legitimately notable, and otherwise improving this page? — Jeff Q 07:57, 7 Apr 2005

  • It would probably work to make it similar to the Art page. So we could have headings like Bugs, Design Philosophy, Maintenance, and reserve a place at the end for Apocryphal - which will be a huge section! Some of the trash desperately needs to be removed as well. Anyone can come up with a snappy variation on "there are 10 kinds of people...", and they frequently do, but who said it first? --Richiesmit 20:56, 26 September 2005 (UTC)Reply
  • Just had a quick scan through. I think these headings should be enough:
Operating Systems
Software development
inc. Bugs (not failure!)
inc. Coders' comments
Design philosophy
inc. User friendliness
inc. Failure
The computing professions
Computers and society
"Computers don't make mistakes..."
"Programming is like sex..."
"Computers make it easier to do a lot of things..."
The Internet
False predictions
" market for maybe five computers" etc
Computer games
See also
External links
Gah! Just having a hack at reorganising, and it's a nightmare! This is Wikiquote, not Wikisayings!
Richiesmit 21:22, 26 September 2005 (UTC)Reply
This page may benefit from more subtopics, but that wasn't what I was talking about when I tagged it with "cleanup". The biggest problem is that this page is littered with unsourced quotes, and there's a good chance that many, perhaps most, of them come from unnotable sources. Right now, I'd be sorely tempted to delete 90% of the quotes simply because they have no source, and hope that people who are so anxious to contribute to this page will get the message and start providing reliable sources that others can use to verify quotes. (This theme likely suffers more than most from bad information rapidly spread via Internet.) The only thing stopping me is that I'm much too busy on things I care more about.
At the very least, this article should be divided into Sourced and Attributed sections. "Sourced" means citations of published works, preferably with dates; URLs are optional but useful if available. (NOTE: 90+% of URLs for quotes are useless as sources, because they tend to spread misinformation as fast as, if not faster than, accurate data. That's why we favor print or televised sources.) Everything else is "Attributed". By this standard, about the only material in this entire article that falls into the first category is the Win2k source code that I agree is of questionable value. (And even those sources aren't particularly useful, unless the quotes listed can be verified without an SDK or a developer's license.) Secondly, everyone please remember (or learn at Wikiquote:Manual of style) that we use sentence capitalization for headings; i.e., only the first word and proper nouns in a heading are capitalized. For example, Richiesmit's suggested headings above should include "Software development", "Bugs", "Coders' comments", "Design philosophy", etc. /* end soapbox */ Sorry about the rant, but I've despaired over this page for quite a while. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:07, 26 September 2005 (UTC)Reply
Steering around rant A (with which I fully agree) to deal first with rant B (with which I also agree), I think capitalisation can be fixed up later :-) The main problem here is issue A: the lack of sources. It took me ages to find the correct source for RJ Mical's quote, then realised nobody else had bothered. There are also a hell of a lot of contributions which are just angry barking from minor personalities. Some of them even appear to be made up on the spot! How about we concentrate on the truly influential people like Dave Haynie, Brian Kernighan, Eugene Jarvis, Bill Gates, and so forth? Okay. Priorities:
  1. New section at top for properly sourced quotes. Shift up quotes that have, or can be properly sourced. This should be reserved for the genuinely quotable people!
  2. Remove sayings and T-shirt slogans immediately.
  3. Create a section for people you wouldn't find quoted in a respectable newspaper (H4CK3RB0Y, Olav Mjelde, Jonathan Gilpin, etc), and mark them for deletion.
  4. As top section becomes more populated, categorise under headings similar to the ones I came up with. I'm not proud - change 'em!
  5. Take out the trash.
Richiesmit 10:15, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

I started with the easy stuff. The article is now split into Sourced and Attributed. I also removed the sole quote from Olav Mjelde, who had been voted for deletion. After finding only 7 sourced quotes (besides the Win2k source code), I checked each source, deleted 3 for being inadequate, misleading, or proving non-notability of quotee, and moved the supposed IBM maintenance-manual quote to Attributed because its "source" is too vague to check. (I suspect it will require a secondhand source, like a reference in a published work that quotes it for illustration.)

The new Attributed section is more problematic. As one might expect of quotes about computers, many or most of these will have dozens or hundreds of Google source, importing a false sense of truth to them, even for famous people.

As far as T-shirts and sayings go, there is precedent for keeping these if they are very well known, just as some anonymous- or unknown-authored sayings are in non-computer fields. But it would be helpful to find published references for them.

For now, I leave further work to Richiesmit and other interested parties. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:40, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

You know you're a geek when...


"You know you're a geek when... You try to shoo a fly away from the monitor with your cursor. That just happened to me. It was scary." ~ Juuso Heimonen

also when you drag a pen over a text written on paper to select it

Zalman Stern


I've transferred over the "awk" quote from Zalman Stern, originally contributed by MadUrban, prior to the voted deletion of the Stern article. It had had the "distributed file systems" quote as well, but MadUrban had added it after an anonymous contributed had already added it to Computers. — Jeff Q (talk) 08:10, 1 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

Windows Vista


There's one for Windows Vista, but I forgot the source. "VISTA stands for Virus, Infection, Spyware, Trojans, Adware." (or something like that)

IBM Quote


Considering the quote given is from a 1925 manual, can we really say the manual is making a quote about computers?

Well, since IBM started as the Computing Tabulating Recording (CTR) Corporation, building punched-card data processing equipment, which is considered computer technology, this quote is plausibly relevant. But a source on this quote, in particular which maintenance manual, would help answer this question. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 09:46, 10 October 2005 (UTC)Reply

Possibly unnotable quotes


I have moved some quotes to this section, because the originators seem to be unnotable. Add them back if evidence of notability can be provided. I am sorry if this seems harsh, but the article has accumulated vast amounts of "witty sayings", and a mass cleanup is needed. My "notability" test was to see if there is a wikiquote *or* wikipedia page. Thanks ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 10:47, 10 October 2005 (UTC)Reply

  • "I/O, I/O, It's off to disk I go, to read or write a bit or byte. I/O, I/O, I/O" (no source given)
  • "There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't." ~ Appears on a tshirt
  • "There are 10 types of people in this world: People who understand binary, and people who have friends. ~ Drew from ""
  • "There are only 10 types of people in this world. Those who know ternary, those who don't and those who confuse it with binary." ~ unknown
  • "There are only 11 types of people in this world. Those who understand Gray, and those who don't." ~ Appears on a tshirt following the binary one
  • "Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature." ~ Bruce Brown
  • "Heuristics are bug ridden by definition— if they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms." (no source given)
  • "You start coding. I'll go find out what they want." ~ Computer analyst to programmer
  • "Be free, be opensource, be Linux user" ~ Anonymouse
  • "Unix is user-friendly. It's just very selective about who its friends are." (no source given)
  • "Unix is user-friendly. However, it isn't idiot friendly." (no source given)
  • "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 bulb lights up in the center of the dashboard. 'The experienced driver'", he says, 'will usually know what's wrong.'" (no source given)
  • "Once you're done writing the code, never open it again unless you want to see how uncomprehensible and utterly ridiculous it really is." ~ Raphael Sazonov
  • "Coding styles are like assholes, everyone has one and no one likes anyone elses." Eric Warmenhoven
  • "Always program as if the person who will be maintaining your program is a violent psychopath that knows where you live." ~ Martin Golding
  • "Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning." ~ Rich Cook
  • "I liken starting one's computing career with Unix, say as a undergraduate, to being born in East Africa. It is intolerably hot, your body is covered with lice and flies, you are malnourished and you suffer from numerous curable diseases. But, as far as young East Africans can tell, this is simply the natural condition and they live within it. By the time they find out differently, it is too late. They already think that the writing of shell scripts is a natural act." — Ken Pier, Xerox PARC
  • "UNIX is an operating system, OS/2 is half an operating system, Windows is a shell, and DOS is a boot partition virus." ~ Peter H. Coffin
  • "VMS is a text-only adventure game. If you win you can use Unix." ~ W. Davidson
  • "The most horrifying thing about Unix is that, no matter how many times you hit yourself over the head with it, you never quite manage to lose consciousness. It just goes on and on." ~ Patrick Sobalvarro
  • "Last week i bought a chain saw with a twisted handle. Perhaps i wasn't careful, but by accident it chopped one of my arm off, then i thought to myself “gosh, this is POWERFUL!”. This seems to be the fashionable mode of thinking among the unixers or unixer-to-be, who would equate power and flexibility with rawness and complexity; disciplined by repeated accidents. Such a tool would first chop off the user's brain, molding a mass of brainless imbeciles and microcephalic charlatans the likes of Larry Wall and Linus Torvald jolly asses." — Xah Lee
  • "Come to think of it, there are already a million monkeys on a million typewriters, and Usenet is nothing like Shakespeare." ~ Blair Houghton
  • "It can be shown that for any nutty theory, beyond-the-fringe political view or strange religion there exists a proponent on the Net. The proof is left as an exercise for your kill-file." ~ Bertil Jonell
  • "Of course, the best way to get accurate information on Usenet is to post something wrong and wait for corrections." ~ Matthew Austern
  • "In headlines today, the dreaded killfile virus spread across the country adding '' to people's Usenet kill files everywhere. The programmer of the virus still remains anonymous, but has been nominated several times for a Nobel peace prize." ~ Mark Atkinson
  • "The smiley is an attack on writers and readers alike. If it is funny, it doesn't need a smiley. If is not funny, a smiley won't help it. The smiley teaches writers that anything they write will pass as humor as long as it is punctuated properly. It teaches readers that they must ignore their better judgment, and look only at punctuation to determine intent." ~ Jim Showalter
  • "The Internet is like a giant jellyfish. You can't step on it. You can't go around it. You've got to get through it." ~ John Evans
  • "Designing for 90% of browsers is our policy? Here's a question. If I answered 10% of the sales calls with 'Hello [companyname], could you please f*** off"', how would that affect our sales?" ~ Seen in Argument over web standards.

No matter how unnotable or unsourcable they are, they're still funny. Too bad most can't be included.OriginalPiMan 00:01, 4 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Major removal of quotes


I just noticed that back on 20 June, (talk · contributions) removed the entire "Attributed" section as well as the sourced "Windows 2000" section. This article was too much of a mess for me to care about the loss of the unsourced (or inadequately sourced) quotes, but we must have an unsourced section to allow new additions that don't define their sources. I have recreated this section (titled "Unsourced" using the newer practice) and have moved some quotes into it. Someone may want to go back through the article history to resurrect some quotes, but please remember that Wikiquote articles are for quotes from notable people and creative works, preferably sourced by reliable publications. This article is not the place to include funny things you read in a blog or that your friend happened to say the other day. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:48, 28 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Erasmus Smums quote


I recently moved a quote attributed to Erasmus Smums ("I don’t know what percentage of our time…") into the Unsourced section, from a separate Erasmus Smums page which is to be deleted. The relevant portion of the edit history from that page is:

(cur) (last) 2007-06-17T20:43:42 Matjack (Talk | contribs | block) (297 bytes) (New page: * I don’t know what percentage of our time on any computer based project is spent getting the equipment to work right, but if I had a gardener who spent as much of the time fixing her sh...)

This is to avoid any GFDL problems regarding attribution. —LrdChaos (talk) 18:01, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Reply


  • The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents.
  • Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music.
  • The computer is the game.
  • Quantum mechanic Seth Lloyd says the universe is one giant, hackable computer. Let's hope it's not running Windows.
  • [Software are among the] things which can be copied infinitely over and over again, without any further costs.
  • A world full of computers which you can't understand, can't fix and can't use [because it is controlled by inaccessible proprietorial software] is a world controlled by machines.
  • Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
  • The cheapest, fastest and most reliable components of a computer system are those that aren't there.
  • If computers take over (which seems to be their natural tendency), it will serve us right.
  • Gilder's Law: Bandwidth grows at least three times faster than computer power.
    • George F. Gilder, Telecosm: How Infinite Bandwidth Will Revolutionize Our World, The Free Press, NY, 2000
  • The best way to predict the future is to implement it.
    • Alan Kay
  • As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance.
    • National Lampoon
  • Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.
  • Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.
  • If you think you can solve your security problems with more technology, then you don’t understand the problems and you don’t understand the technology.
  • People make mistakes, but to get a mess you'll need a computer.
  • .HELP SEX: This system is a computer and as such is not able to help with enquiries of this nature. For details on reproduction, see the Xerox documentation.
    • Famous Help text from Essex Dec 10
  • Don't trust a computer you can't throw out a window.
  • A computer is like air conditioning; it becomes useless when you open Windows.
  • "I'm not afraid of computers taking over the world. They're just sitting there. I can hit them with a two by four."