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Alan Perlis Quotes

Please enjoy these encouraging quotes by Alan Perlis.

In software systems it is often the early bird that makes the worm.
- Alan Perlis

Related topics: Technology

A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.
- Alan Perlis

If your computer speaks English, it was probably made in Japan.
- Alan Perlis

LISP programmers know the value of everything and the cost of nothing.
- Alan Perlis

 

It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.
- Alan Perlis

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
- Alan Perlis

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

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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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There are two ways to write error-free programs;
only the third one works.
- Alan Perlis

The computing field is always in need of new cliches.
- Alan Perlis

Simplicity does not precede complexity,
but follows it.
- Alan Perlis

If you have a procedure with 10 parameters,
you probably missed some.
- Alan Perlis

Some programming languages manage to absorb change,
but withstand progress.
- Alan Perlis

Don't have good ideas if you aren't willing to be responsible for them.
- Alan Perlis

In computing, turning the obvious into the useful is
a living definition of the word "frustration".
- Alan Perlis

Computer Science is embarrassed by the computer.
- Alan Perlis

We toast the Lisp programmer who pens his thoughts
within nests of parentheses.
- Alan Perlis

I think it is inevitable that people program poorly.
Training will not substantially help matters.
We have to learn to live with it.
- Alan Perlis

One man's constant is another man's variable.
- Alan Perlis

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting
his attitude on the continuing vitality of FORTRAN.
- Alan Perlis

Every program has two purposes: The one for which it
was written and another for which it wasn't.
- Alan Perlis

Is it possible that software is not like anything else,
that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point
is to always see it as a soap bubble?
- Alan Perlis

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland";
but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.
- Alan Perlis

In English every word can be verbed.
Would that it were so in our programming languages.
- Alan Perlis

It goes against the grain of modern education to teach students to program.
What fun is there to making plans, acquiring discipline,
organizing thoughts, devoting attention to detail,
and learning to be self critical.
- Alan Perlis

Fools ignore complexity.
Pragmatists suffer it.
Some can avoid it.
Geniuses remove it.
- Alan Perlis

A programming language is low level when its programs
require attention to the irrelevant.
- Alan Perlis

A picture is worth 10K words - but only those to describe the picture.
Hardly any sets of 10K words can be adequately described with pictures.
- Alan Perlis

Most people treat the office manual the way they treat a software manual.
They never look at it.
- James Levine

It's hardware that makes a machine fast.
It's software that makes a fast machine slow.
- Craig Bruce

When I write software, I know that it will fail,
either due to my own mistake, or due to some other cause.
- Wietse Venema

Every piece of software written today is likely going
to infringe on someone else's patent.
- Miguel de Icaza

We're entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.
- Tim O'Reilly

As a rule, software systems do not work well until they have been used,
and have failed repeatedly, in real applications.
- Dave Parnas

Software comes from heaven when you have good hardware.
- Ken Olsen

Defect-free software does not exist.
- Wietse Venema

Shareware tends to combine the worst of commercial
software with the worst of free software.
- Linus Torvalds

Reading computer manuals without the hardware is as
frustrating as reading manuals without the software.
- Arthur C. Clarke

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.
- Alan Kay

I just became one with my browser software.
- Bill Griffith

I want people to use Perl.
I want to be a positive ingredient of the world and
make my American history.
So, whatever it takes to give away my software and get it used,
that's great.
- Larry Wall

Like all software, Qmail can survive only when it keeps
up with changing requirements.
- Wietse Venema

Writing software that's safe even in the presence of
bugs makes the challenge even more interesting.
- Wietse Venema

There is no neat distinction between operating system
software and the software that runs on top of it.
- Jim Allchin

I think it is important for software to avoiding imposing
a cognitive style on workers and their work.
- Edward Tufte

We've been in the Mac software business for more than 20 years.
And it's been a great business for us.
- Scott Erickson

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
- Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.

Qmail out of the box works fine, so people will want
to use it regardless of licensing restrictions,
even when the software does not ship with their system software.
- Wietse Venema

Any good software engineer will tell you that a compiler
and an interpreter are interchangeable.
- Tim Berners-Lee

People enjoy the interaction on the Internet,
and the feeling of belonging to a group that does something interesting:
that's how some software projects are born.
- Linus Torvalds

I don't believe in government regulation of the software industry.
- Jim Barksdale

Any editing, software work, and mail is done in this exported Plan 9.
- Dennis Ritchie

I have this hope that there is a better way.
Higher-level tools that actually let you see the structure
of the software more clearly will be of tremendous value.
- Guido van Rossum

You get the software you pay for.
In every sense.
To the nth degree.
That's the way the world works.
- Dave Winer

So what I was essentially doing was,
I compromised the confidentiality of their proprietary
software to advance my agenda of becoming the best
at breaking through the lock.
- Kevin Mitnick

From day one our next generation system will run all our exsisting software -
so that gives us a head start.
- Trip Hawkins

I got bitten by the free software bug in February of
1998 around the time of the Mozilla announcement.
- Andy Hertzfeld

I developed some unique software to public it on the
web that I call the Folklore Project.
- Andy Hertzfeld

Digital art software has empowered both the painterly side of photographers,
and the photographer side of painters.
- Buffy Sainte-Marie

So far, Indian companies have focused more on customer application.
This needs to shift to packaged software for sectors
such as banking and financial services.
- Sanjay Kumar

If Unix could present the same face,
the same capabilities,
on machines of many different types,
it could serve as a common software environment for all of them.
- Eric S. Raymond

Interactive computers and software will,
I think, provide a less costly method of doing some kinds of inquiry,
in knowledge acquisition and even reasoning and interaction.
- Roy Romer

For many people my software is something that you install and forget.
I like to keep it that way.
- Wietse Venema

Back in my day, I would probe by hand.
Now you can get commercial software that does the job for you.
- Kevin Mitnick

As every new breed of virus is conceived,
created and released into the wild, another small change
is made to the anti-virus software to combat the new threat.
- Glenn Turner

Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the
danger of software patents,
any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.
- Richard Stallman

Software Engineering might be science;
but that's not what I do.
I'm a hacker, not an engineer.
- Jamie Zawinski

We decided that the French could never write user-friendly
software because they're so rude.
- Doug Coupland

You know, IBM was almost knocked out of the box by
other types of computer software and manufacturing.
- Roy Romer

We also had good software in the key categories and
more focus on the gameplaying capability,
so more of the marketing effort was targeted at game customers.
- Trip Hawkins

Diaspora starts about a thousand years from now.
Most of human civilisation has moved inside computers;
essentially,
a major branch of our descendants consists of conscious software.
- Greg Egan

My reply is: the software has no known bugs,
therefore it has not been updated.
- Wietse Venema


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May the world be kind to you,
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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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