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Ken Thompson Quotes

Please enjoy these encouraging quotes by Ken Thompson.

I am a programmer.
- Ken Thompson

I wanted to have virtual memory, at least as it's coupled with file systems.
- Ken Thompson

So maybe I can go back to being a Gardeners' World addict again.
- Ken Thompson

One of my most productive days was throwing away 1000 lines of code.
- Ken Thompson

 

There are no projects per se in the Computing Sciences Research Center.
- Ken Thompson

Grant, if we edited Fortran, I assume that you'd put a column thing in there.
- Ken Thompson

If you want to go somewhere, goto is the best way to get there.
- Ken Thompson

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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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I am a very bottom-up thinker.
- Ken Thompson

There's a lot of power in executing data -
generating data and executing data.
- Ken Thompson

It's always good to take an orthogonal view of something.
It develops ideas.
- Ken Thompson

That brings me to Dennis Ritchie.
Our collaboration has been a thing of beauty.
- Ken Thompson

I wanted to avoid, special IO for terminals.
- Ken Thompson

A well installed microcode bug will be almost impossible to detect.
- Ken Thompson

You can't trust code that you did not totally create yourself.
- Ken Thompson

When in doubt, use brute force.
- Ken Thompson

One is that the perfect garden can be created overnight,
which it can't.
- Ken Thompson

We have persistant objects, they're called files.
- Ken Thompson

It is only the inadequacy of the criminal code that
saves the hackers from very serious prosecution.
- Ken Thompson

No amount of source-level verification or scrutiny
will protect you from using untrusted code.
- Ken Thompson

In college, before video games, we would amuse ourselves
by posing programming exercises.
- Ken Thompson

Unauthorized access to computer systems is already
a serious crime in a few states and is currently being
addressed in many more state legislatures as well as Congress.
- Ken Thompson

On the one hand, the press, television,
and movies make heroes of vandals by calling them whiz kids.
- Ken Thompson

I have to keep up with the scientific literature as part of my job,
but increasingly I found myself reading things that
weren't really relevant to my academic work,
but were relevant to gardening.
- Ken Thompson

I think the major good idea in Unix was its clean and simple interface:
open,
close, read, and write.
- Ken Thompson

I wanted to separate data from programs,
because data and instructions are very different.
- Ken Thompson

I also have an idea for a book on biodiversity,
and why and how we should be conserving it.
- Ken Thompson

We tried to avoid, you know, records.
We were told over and over that was probably the most
serious mistake and the reason was the system would never catch on,
because we didn't have records.
- Ken Thompson

I still have a full-time day job, which is why it took
me five years to write An Ear to the Ground,
and why I won't have another book finished by next week.
- Ken Thompson

The average gardener probably knows little about what
is going on in his or her garden.
- Ken Thompson

The X server has to be the biggest program I've ever
seen that doesn't do anything for you.
- Ken Thompson

In fact, we started off with two or three different
shells and the shell had life of its own.
- Ken Thompson

The intellectual property situation is bad and getting worse.
To be a programmer, it requires that you understand
as much law as you do technology.
- Eric Allman

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.
- Edsger Dijkstra

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

It always helps to be a good programmer.
It is important to like computers and to be able to
think of things people would want to do with their computers.
- Bill Budge

And, I think that is actually appropriate because I'm
really not the world's best programmer,
I think it's a good thing that I'm not touching the code.
- Brian Behlendorf

The mark of a mature programmer is willingness to throw
out code you spent time on when you realize it's pointless.
- Bram Cohen

The trouble with programmers is that you can never
tell what a programmer is doing until it's too late.
- Seymoure Cray

If you're a musician or actor, you know that if you're successful,
some level of fame goes along with that.
You're prepared.
But how often does that happen to a programmer?
- Shawn Fanning

I am a composer, horn player, and computer programmer.
- Robert Patterson

The three chief virtues of a programmer are:
Laziness,
Impatience and Hubris.
- Larry Wall

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

Low-level programming is good for the programmer's soul.
- John Carmack

Because of the nature of Moore's law,
anything that an extremely clever graphics programmer
can do at one point can be replicated by a merely competent
programmer some number of years later.
- John Carmack

God, our genes, our environment, or some stupid programmer
keying in code at an ancient terminal -
there's no way free will can ever exist if we as individuals
are the result of some external cause.
- Orson Scott Card

Then I started graduate school at UCLA.
I got a part time research assistant job as a programmer
on a project involving the use of one computer to measure
the performance of another computer.
- Jon Postel

From the viewpoint of what you can do,
therefore, languages do differ - but the differences are limited.
For example, Python and Ruby provide almost the same power to the programmer.
- Yukihiro Matsumoto

Programming is not a zero-sum game.
Teaching something to a fellow programmer doesn't take it away from you.
I'm happy to share what I can, because I'm in it for the love of programming.
- John Carmack

The intellect is a cold thing
and a merely intellectual idea
will never stimulate thought
in the same manner that a spiritual idea does.
- Ernest Holmes

God is a metaphor for that which transcends
all levels of intellectual thought.
It's as simple as that.
- Joseph Campbell

Intellectual growth should commence at birth
and cease only at death.
- Albert Einstein

People disparage knowing and the intellectual life,
and urge doing.
I am content with knowing, if only I could know.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wit - the salt with which the American humorist spoils
his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.
- Ambrose Bierce

Those who desire to rise as high as our human condition allows,
must renounce intellectual pride, the omnipotence of clear thinking,
belief in the absolute power of logic.
- Alexis Carrel

An intellectual is a man
who takes more words than necessary
to tell more than he knows.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Mad, adj.
Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence.
- Ambrose Bierce

The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit
that still carries any reward.
- John Maynard Keynes

An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.
- Albert Camus

The march of science and technology does not imply
growing intellectual complexity in the lives of most people.
It often means the opposite.
- Thomas Sowell

The forces that are driving mankind toward unity and
peace are deep-seated and powerful.
They are material and natural, as well as moral and intellectual.
- Arthur Henderson

To be wholly devoted to some intellectual exercise
is to have succeeded in life.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Being an intellectual creates a lot of questions and no answers.
- Janis Joplin

Our family life was certainly not intellectual.
- Douglass North

The true traveller is the one urged to move about for physical,
aesthetic, intellectual as well as spiritual reasons.
- Ella Maillart

Thought is a key to all treasures; the miser's gains
are ours without his cares.
Thus I have soared above this world,
where my enjoyment have been intellectual joys.
- Honore de Balzac

He was a sociologist; he had got into an intellectual
muddle early on in life and never managed to get out.
- Iris Murdoch

I need three million dollars to make a low-budget,
intellectual, artistic, exciting, erotic movie with a great soundtrack.
- Ray Manzarek

Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kid of sin.
Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty.
- Gilbert K. Chesterton

In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is
nothing more nor less than the power of attention.
- Simone Weil

If Socialism can only be realized when the intellectual
development of all the people permits it,
then we shall not see Socialism for at least five hundred years.
- Vladimir Lenin

All in the Family was intellectual; it was art.
- Carroll O'Connor


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May the world be kind to you,
and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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