Some quotes I've found to be thought-provoking over the last week or so:

"Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress."

"In a 5 year period we get one superb programming language. Only we can't control when the 5 year period will begin."

"Every program has (at least) two purposes: the one for which it was written and another for which it wasn't."

"If a listener nods his head when you're explaining your program, wake him up."

"A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing."

"Wherever there is modularity there is the potential for misunderstanding: Hiding information implies a need to check communication."

(All of the above, Alan Perlis)


"Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!"

"The competent programmer is fully aware of the limited size of his own skull. He therefore approaches his task with full humility, and avoids clever tricks like the plague."

"How do we convince people that in programming simplicity and clarity —in short: what mathematicians call "elegance"— are not a dispensable luxury, but a crucial matter that decides between success and failure?"

"Are you quite sure that all those bells and whistles, all those wonderful facilities of your so called powerful programming languages, belong to the solution set rather than the problem set?"

"Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California."

"The prisoner falls in love with his chains."

"Write a paper promising salvation, make it a 'structured' something or a 'virtual' something, or 'abstract', 'distributed' or 'higher-order' or 'applicative' and you can almost be certain of having started a new cult."

"I remember from those days two design principles that have served me well ever since, viz.

  1. before really embarking on a sizable project, in particular before starting the large investment of coding, try to kill the project first, and
  2. start with the most difficult, most risky parts first."

(All of the above, Edsgar Dijkstra)

Make of them what you will....