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Misc Pearls of Wisdom collected on the net

Ken Thompson on Hackers

«The act of breaking into a computer system has to have the same social stigma as breaking into a neighbor's house. It should not matter that the neighbor's door is unlocked. The press must learn that misguided use of a computer is no more amazing than drunk driving of an automobile.»
— Ken Thompson, “Reflections on Trusting Trust”, 1995

Mike Godwin on Freedom

«I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say 'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'»
— Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Mike Cheponis on IPv6

«The IPv6 “solution” is somewhat like replacing English with Esperanto to make spelling easier. Maybe it would, but it's not going to happen.»
— Mike Cheponis

IETF and inteoperability

«The IETF requires at least two interoperable implementations before a draft can become a standard. Interoperating only with yourself is just a standards-compliant form of masturbation.»
— Mark Pilgrim

Collective Intelligence

«Individuals are smart, people are stupid»
—K, Men in Black.

Computer programming

«Computer programming is tremendous fun. Like music, it is a skill that derives from an unknown blend of innate talent and constant practice. Like drawing, it can be shaped to a variety of ends – commercial, artistic, and pure entertainment. Programmers have a well-deserved reputation for working long hours but are rarely credited with being driven by creative fevers. Programmers talk about software development on weekends, vacations, and over meals not because they lack imagination, but because their imagination reveals worlds that others cannot see.»
—Larry O'Brien and Bruce Eckel in Thinking in C#.

Planning and emergencies

«Lack of planning on your part will not constitute an emergency on my part»
—©2004 Brefi Group Limited,

Graffiti "artists"

« Graffiti happens at the intersection of ambition and incompetence: people want to make their mark on the world, but have no other way to do it than literally making a mark on the world.»
Paul Graham, 2008

What a PhD is about...

«When you think you know everything, they give you a bachelors; when you find that you know nothing, they give you a masters; when you find that others also don't know anything, they give you a PhD.»
joelthelion, 2008

Why people write Free Software

«Programming is an art. Many famous composers and painters had boring “day jobs” painting kings and their fat kids. This is not what we know them for. We know them for what they did at night for free.»
Eugueny Kontsevoy, 2008

n00b alarmists

«[T]ake the advisory seriously—we're not just a bunch of n00b alarmists, if we tell you your DNS house is on fire, and we hand you a fire hose, take it.»
— Paul Vixie, 2008

Fast systems

«Anyone can build a fast processor. The trick is to build a fast system.»
— Seymour Cray


«It's hard to make money from open-source software. Some companies have tried giving away some software and then selling “support and services,” but that business plan has proven as profitable as giving away VCRs and selling the Owner's Manuals.»
Evan Miller, 2008

Powerpoint is Evil

«We had 12.9 gigabytes of PowerPoint slides on our network. And I thought, 'What a huge waste of corporate productivity'. So we banned it. And we've had three unbelievable record-breaking fiscal quarters since. Now I would argue that every company in the world, if it would just ban PowerPoint, would see its earnings skyrocket. Employees would stand around going: 'What do I do? Guess I've got to go to work'.»
Scott McNealy, 1997


«Object-oriented programming offers a sustainable way to write spaghetti code.»
— Paul Graham

Unix and LSD

«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

Specialization is for insects

«A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.»
— Robert A. Heinlein

A company makes shoes

«No financial man will ever understand business because financial people think a company makes money. A company makes shoes, and no financial man understands that. They think money is real. Shoes are real. Money is an end result.»
— Peter Drucker

CS and telescopes

«Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.»
— Edsger Dijkstra

Zoom with your feet

«If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough»
— Robert Capa

Computer programming

«Computer programming is moments of triumph surrounded by hours of the computer telling you you're an idiot»
—David Brown(@davidbro)

Hard things in CS

«There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.»
– Phil Karlton

«There are two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors.»
– Unknown

Way Out

«Always leave a way out, unless you really want to find out how hard a man can fight when he's nothing to lose.»
– Robert Jordan

«To a surrounded enemy, you must leave a way of escape.»
– Sun Tzu

The abyss gazes into you

«He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.»
– Nietzsche

Fundamental theorem of software engineering

Theorem: «All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection.»
– David Wheeler

Corollary: «…except for the problem of too many levels of indirection.»
– Unknown

lore/pearls_of_wisdom.txt · Last modified: 2019/08/23 13:14 by ap

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