21 of the greatest computer quotes ever

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He said it

The world of computers and programming isn’t just a world of algorithms, bits, and coding; it’s also a world of dark, sarcastic and or sardonic humor about the world of computers and programming, by which I mean it’s also recursive (see recursive). Here are arguably (and I’m sure you will argue) 21 of the greatest computer quotes ever. Let the wit begin!

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OO vs. C++

"I invented the term 'Object-Oriented', and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.”

Alan Kay (born May 17, 1940); American computer scientist. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society of Arts. He is best known for his pioneering work on object-oriented programming and windowing graphical user interface design.

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On teaching COBOL
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On teaching COBOL

“The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should therefore be regarded as a criminal offense."

E.W. Dijkstra (11 May, 1930 – 6 August, 2002); Dutch computer scientist and mathematical scientist. An early theoretical pioneer in many areas of computing science including algorithm design, programming methodology, and software architecture. He received the 1972 Turing Award for fundamental contributions to developing programming languages, and was the Schlumberger Centennial Chair of Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin from 1984 until 2000.

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On Trying Code

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

Donald Knuth ( born January 10, 1938); American computer scientist, mathematician, and professor emeritus at Stanford University. He contributed to the development of the rigorous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms and systematized formal mathematical techniques for it.

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On systems analysis

“Computer system analysis is like child-rearing; you can do grievous damage, but you cannot ensure success.”

Tom DeMarco (born August 20, 1940); American software engineer, author, and consultant on software engineering topics. He was an early developer of structured analysis in the 1970s.

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On the evil of PHP and Perl
Credit: Jon Ribbens
On the evil of PHP and Perl

“PHP is a minor evil perpetrated and created by incompetent amateurs, whereas Perl is a great and insidious evil, perpetrated by skilled but perverted professionals.”

Jon Ribbens (born 28 December 1975); Programmer, programming team leader, entrepreneur currently Technical Director for Sitemorse.

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Real programmers

“I'm not a real programmer. I throw together things until it works then I move on. The real programmers will say: “Yeah, it works but you're leaking memory everywhere. Perhaps we should fix that". I'll just restart Apache every 10 requests.”

Rasmus Lerdorf (born 22 November 1968)l Greenlandic programmer with Canadian citizenship. He created the PHP scripting language, authoring the first two versions of the language and participated in the development of later versions [and] continues to contribute to the project.

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What kind of language is Perl?

“When they first built the University of California at Irvine they just put the buildings in. They did not put any sidewalks, they just planted grass. The next year, they came back and put the sidewalks where the trails were in the grass. Perl is just that kind of language. It is not designed from first principles. Perl is those sidewalks in the grass."

Larry Wall (born September 27, 1954); American computer programmer and author, most widely known as the creator of the Perl programming language.

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Low level irrelevancy

"A programming language is low level when its programs require attention to the irrelevant."

Alan J. Perlis (April 1, 1922 – February 7, 1990); American computer scientist known for his pioneering work in programming languages and the first recipient of the Turing Award.

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Ethical coding
Ethical coding

“It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.”

Nathaniel S. Borenstein (born September 23, 1957); American computer scientist. He is one of the original designers of the MIME protocol for formatting multimedia Internet electronic mail and sent the first e-mail attachment.

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C is a what?

”C is not a high-level language.”

Brian Wilson Kernighan (born January 1, 1942); Canadian computer scientist who worked at Bell Labs alongside Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie and contributed to the development of Unix. He is also coauthor of the AWK and AMPL programming languages. The "K" of K&R C and the "K" in AWK both stand for "Kernighan". Since 2000 Brian Kernighan has been a professor at the Computer Science Department of Princeton University, where he is also the Undergraduate Department Representative.

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Credit: John Beidler
Small furry animals

"I will not be a lemming and follow the crowd over the cliff and into the C."

John (Jack) Beidler; professor of Computing Sciences at University of Scranton.

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C is … ?

"C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success.”

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie (September 9, 1941 – c. October 12, 2011); American computer scientist who created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system. Ritchie and Thompson received the Turing Award from the ACM in 1983, the Hamming Medal from the IEEE in 1990, and the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton in 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007. He was the "R" in K&R.

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C is like dancing but

”A C program is like a fast dance on a newly waxed dance floor by people carrying razors."

Waldi Ravens … widely quoted but no online trace.

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C++: As good as it gets?

"Fifty years of programming language research, and we end up with C++ ???"

Dr Richard A. O’Keefe. New Zealand computer scientist, currently working in Department of Computer Science at the University of Otago. He concentrates on languages for logic programming and functional programming (including Prolog, Haskell, and Erlang).

Credit: University of Otago

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Linus, what do you think of C++?

"C++ is a horrible language. It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it. Quite frankly, even if the choice of C were to do *nothing* but keep the C++ programmers out, that in itself would be a huge reason to use C.”

Linus Benedict Torvalds (born December 28, 1969); Finnish American software engineer was the principal force behind the development of the Linux kernel and later became the chief architect of the Linux kernel and now acts as the project's coordinator. He also created the distributed revision control system git.

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C++ is dangerous

"In C++ it's harder to shoot yourself in the foot, but when you do, you blow off your whole leg.”

Bjarne Stroustrup (born 30 December 1950); Danish computer scientist, most notable for the creation and development of the widely used C++ programming language. He is a Distinguished Research Professor and holds the College of Engineering Chair in Computer Science at Texas A&M University, a visiting professor at Columbia University, and works at Morgan Stanley.

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POTUS knows code

“Considering the current sad state of our computer programs, software development is clearly still a black art, and cannot yet be called an engineering discipline.”

William Jefferson Clinton (born August 19, 1946); American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He previously served as Governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, and as the state's Attorney General from 1977 to 1979.

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Garbage in, what out?

"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 (26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871); English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage is best remembered for originating the concept of a programmable computer.

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You don’t really hate computers …

"That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.”

Larry Niven (born April 30, 1938); American science fiction writer. His best-known work is Ringworld (1970), which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics.

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Programming gets things done

“I am rarely happier than when spending entire day programming my computer to perform automatically a task that it would otherwise take me a good ten seconds to do by hand.”

Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001); English writer, humorist, and dramatist. Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy.

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Literary computing
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Literary computing

"#define QUESTION ((bb),| !(bb))

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet, and the "Bard of Avon”. His programming career is unclear.

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