Lars Wirzenius: Quote, 2004


Monday, December 27, 2004

Quote: Release management

Roland McGrath describes how he will do release management for the stable branch of the GNU C library:

The paramount rule of the stable branch is that everything that happens there must be specifically approved by the branch's release manager, who is me. I intend to be merciless about enforcing these rules I'm making up right now. (Of course, I will violate them myself for unspecified reasons at unspecified times, but that doesn't mean I will violate them for you when you ask.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Quote: Mudgeeraba Creek Emu Racing and Boomerang Throwing Association

The Mudgeeraba Creek Emu Racing and Boomerang Throwing Association. One of its rules read: "The decisions of the judges are final unless shouted down by a really overwhelming majority of the crowd present. Abusive and obscene language may not be used by contestants when addressing memebers of the judging panel or, conversely, by members of the judging panel when addressing contestants (unless struck by a boomerang)."

— Len Fisher, How to dunk a doughnut, page 206

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Quote: Serenity prayer

Katri forwarded this to me, she heard it at work. I've no idea who wrote this first:

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to leave untested things I cannot test;
courage to test the things I can;
and wisdom to know when to refactor.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Quote: Washing

R.K. Mulholland about his visit to Dexcon:

At the con, I handed out Aubrey's Guide to Con Hygiene along with a bar of Mr. Personality soap, made by La Moon. There were some mixed feelings about this from the con-goers, but then again most radical ideas were met with confusion and fear. Integration. Women's rights. In time, I'm sure washing will be accepted by the con-goers. I just hope it's in my lifetime.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Quote: Napoleon Bonaparte

While surfing the web recently, I ran into several things that Napoleon Bonaparte said:

Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence.

This is a good maxim and I need to keep it in mind more often. Doing so would help me deal with annoying business partners.

If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.

Obviously, Napoleon was also a NIHolic.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

Now, if only I had enemies.

I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.

Ah, the heady feeling of power. While I've only ever had a little of it, I know how hard it can be to give it up. I did, in the end, and the world became a better place for everyone.

I'll conclude with a longer quote, from the Duke of Wellington, who won over Napoleon in Waterloo. It is unrelated to the above, but funny. I found it with fortune -m, which is a fun toy I can recommend to anyone.


Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as the the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or perchance:

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

— Duke of Wellington, to the British Foreign Office, London, 1812.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Quote: Kenny Tilton on Lisp

Kenny Tilton in comp.lang.lisp on March 31, 2004:

Lisp is no longer the crazy aunt in the attic, she is now out in the front parlor where her admirers come to pay respect and learn.

This is why I read comp.lang.lisp: the attitude and the humor.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Quote: Weird unit of the day

At work I'm writing some software that reads various things from a vehicle's CAN bus. Some of these things include time spans, which are specified in decihours, i.e., one tenth of an hour. These continue to amuse me after several weeks of dealing with them.

I'd already stumbled on nanocenturies and microfortnights in other contexts, though I've since forgotten where.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Quote: Coding music

From Heather Alexander's March of Cambreadth:

follow orders as you're told,
make their yellow blood run cold,
fight till you die or drop,
a force like ours is hard to stop,
close your mind to stress and pain,
fight till you're no longer sane,
let not one damn cur pass by,
how many of them can we make die

This is so perfect for coding music that it scares me.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Quote: Programmers screw light bulbs

I got these from Cessu.

Q: How does an imperative programmer change lightbulbs? A: He smashes the old lightbulb in its socket and forcibly screws the new bulb into the socket. The fragments of the old bulb may short-circuit the whole system.

Q: How does a functional programmer switch lightbulbs? A: He creates another identical room, possibly sharing many parts with the old one, but so that a new lightbulb is in the socket. A few moments later the unshared parts of original room just disappear.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Quote: No command line = no security problems

The University of Helsinki page for Macintosh security says in part:

Mac OS 9 ja aiemmat ovat täysin suojattuina tietoturvaongelmilta, koska niissä ei ole komentoriviä UNIX-järjestelmien tavoin.

My translation to English:

Mac OS 9 and earlier are completely secured against computer security problems, since they do not have a command line, like UNIX systems do.

I'm sure they don't really mean that.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Quote: tar

$ tar cf foo.tar
tar: Cowardly refusing to create an empty archive