I’ve been collecting quotes for years. Some are pithy, some deep, some make you laugh but the ones I’ve kept have always made an impression on me. Here are some of my favourites.
Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.
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.
DOS computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq, Tandy, and millions of others are by far the most popular, with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans, on the other hand, may note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans, and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form.
New York Times, November 26, 1991
Memory is like an orgasm. It’s a lot better if you don’t have to fake it.
Seymore Cray, on virtual memory
Programmer /n./ A red-eyed, mumbling mammal capable of conversing with inanimate objects.
2 + 2 = 5, for extremely large values of 2
I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck.
Rob Pike, commenting on the X Window System
You start coding. I’ll go find out what they want.
Computer analyst to programmer
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.
Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
Donald E. Knuth
The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.
Robert R. Coveyou, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.
John von Neumann (1951)
Before software can be reusable it first has to be usable.
Linux is only free if your time is worthless.
Trying to outsmart a compiler defeats much of the purpose of using one.
Kernighan & Plauger, The Elements of Programming Style
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
19 Jan 2038 at 3:14:07 AM
The end of the word according to Unix (2^32 seconds after Jan 1st 1970)
In C++ it’s harder to shoot yourself in the foot, but when you do, you blow off your whole leg.
The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should therefore be regarded as a criminal offense.
E.W. Dijkstra (1930-2002)
The ultimate metric that I would like to propose for user friendliness is quite simple: if this system was a person, how long would it take before you punched it in the nose?
This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.
Western Union internal memo, 1876
Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895
Everything that can be invented has been invented.
Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
Ken Olson, president/founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
The Internet? Is that thing still around?
Come to think of it, there are already a million monkeys on a million typewriters, and Usenet is nothing like Shakespeare.
Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea; massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it.
Eugene Spafford [can be equally well applied to the Internet]
Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.
I don’t believe in painted roses or bleeding hearts while bullets rape the night of the merciful.
Bono, U2, One Tree Hill
The greater the number of laws and enactments, the more thieves and robbers there will be.
Lao-tzu (604-531 B.C.)
The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter.
In politics stupidity is not a handicap.
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.
Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.
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.
At the time of Caliph Omar’s invasion of Egypt, the Arab officer on duty in the destruction of the library of Alexandria used two stamps with which he marked the books. One said: ‘Does not agree with the Koran – heretic, must be burned’. The other said: ‘Agrees with the Koran – superfluous, must be burned’.
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.
When did ignorance become a point of view?
A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
Whenever books are burned men also in the end are burned.
Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.
If you choke a smurf, what color does it turn?
Children are like a house full of drunken midgets.
Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.
Ovid (43 BC-18 AD)
A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
William James (1842-1910)
People who are smart get into MENSA. People who are really smart look around and leave.
Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British philosopher
Ich kann nicht mehr (I can do no more).
Toni Kurz while within touching distance of the rescue team, north face of Eiger, 1936