Great Software Quotes

Before software can be reusable, it first has to be usable.

–Ralph Johnson

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.

–Fred Brooks

Theory is when you know something, but it doesn’t work. Practice is when something works, but you don’t know why it works. Programmers combine theory and practice: Nothing works and they don’t know why. It’s hard enough to find an error in your code when you’re looking for it; it’s even harder when you’ve assumed your code is error-free.

-Steve McConnell Code Complete

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilisation.

-Gerald Weinberg

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

–Bertrand Russell

If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

–Edser Dijkstra

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

–Alan J. Perlis

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

–Bill Gates

The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.

–Tom Cargill

Programmers are in a race with the Universe to create bigger and better idiot-proof programs, while the Universe is trying to create bigger and better idiots. So far the Universe is winning.


I did say something along the lines of “C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows your whole leg off.”

–Bjarne Stroustrup

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong.

–attributed to Norm Schryer

As we said in the preface to the first edition, C “wears well as one’s experience with it grows.” With a decade more experience, we still feel that way.

–Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie

Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability

–Edsger W.Dijkstra

Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.

–Alan Kay

Every program has (at least) two purposes: the one for which it was written, and another for which it wasn’t.

–Alan J. Perlis

Copy and paste is a design error

–David Parnas

Any code of your own that you haven’t looked at for six or more months might as well have been written by someone else.

–Eagleson’s law

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