Classic Programming Quotes

A selection of our favorite, classic programming quotes from the some of the industries biggest names.

We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil
– C. A. R. Hoare

Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen
– Edward V Berard

It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.
– Hofstadter’s Law

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems
– Jamie Zawinski

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.
– Brian Kernighan

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.
– Bill Gates

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

On two occasions I have been asked, ‘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

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
– Rick Osborne

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 don’t care if it works on your machine! We are not shipping your machine!
– Ovidiu Platon

I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.
– Bjarne Stroustrup

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
– Mitch Ratcliffe

If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.
– E. W. Dijkstra

It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC. As potential programmers, they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.
– E. W. Dijkstra

In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they’re not.
– Yoggi Berra

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.
– Albert Einstein

Perl – The only language that looks the same before and after RSA encryption.
– Keith Bostic

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
– Douglas Adams

Saying that Java is good because it works on all platforms is like saying anal sex is good because it works on all genders
– Unknown

XML is like violence – if it doesn’t solve your problems, you are not using enough of it.
– Unknown

Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer.
– Fred Brooks



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