Copyright © 2013–2015,2019 by Thomas E. Dickey
Here is a random set of quotes which I have used on occasion.
Some are probably original to me.
First, in dealing with civilized people:
- no problem (report bugs)
- Though trite, google listed more than
100 thousand hits in September 2013, mainly from me. As
usual, with numbers from google, your mileage may
- Somebody's got to do
- In the context of my
$dayjob, I am
paraphrasing Harry Truman's "the buck stops
- If you cannot agree on what the
problem is, you will not be able to agree on the
- Used since the early 1990s, I see that variations on this
widely used, with no definite origin.
- If you can't be clever, use brute
- This might be a paraphrase of "When in doubt, use brute
force", which I see attributed to Ken Thomson here. I
- Do you have time to do it twice?
- This is a shortened version of “If you don't have
time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?”
used, no known original source).
“Measure twice, cut once.” is
easier to find, and says the same thing.
- Any interesting program has one loop,
one I/O statement and one bug
- Not original (from the 1970s) but I can find no
- Someone has to make the free
- In discussion with my associates, the point is often made
that most of the people involved with free/open source
are essentially bystanders, and that the work is done by a
small minority. I respond as quoted here.
- Software development is a truthful
however not all software developers are truthful.
- In the first part, "truthful" refers to Boolean logic (a
pun on the 1's and 0's);
the latter is used in discussion with my associates in
reference to various Internet personalities.
- If you don't know where you've been, you
can't tell where you're going
- Not original, but surprisingly
- Brevity is the soul of
rarer. Quoted to me (see this
$dayjob and some mailing lists are civilized
places. Barbarians get shown the door.
In contrast there is Usenet (and web forums, and sadly, some
mailing lists—even moderated ones). Ugly places. Here is a
- People with more than one set of
standards have no standards at all.
- This is in reference to a former associate who glossed over
plagiarism because (paraphrasing Orwell) some team-mates
were more equal than others. In the Internet I encounter
people who feel entitled to discriminate.
- Everyone deserves to have the truth told
- This is not a comment on the exposé-site-of-the day
(no, I won't provide fodder for google by giving an example).
Rather, having seen too many Usenet/Internet fanboys, I keep
this in mind. There is no point for example in villainizing XYZ
company if you have facts to present on your side of the
argument. Present the facts you have and don't speculate on
your opponent's ancestry or methods of doing business. Doing
less undermines your argument and discredits you.
- Never argue with a liar; they make
up their own facts
- Actually I don't see much point in arguing: I present the
facts that I have, review those offered in return, ignore the
attempts to persuade. After redlining the attempts at
persuasion, if there is nothing left, there is nothing to
- There is no point in calling
someone a fool, if you can prove it
- hmm (no comment).
- There are no stupid questions,
there are only stupid answers.
- Used on appropriate newsgroups, mailing lists, etc., of
- You forgot to call me a
- I acquired this from Usenet in the 1990s (perhaps from a
thread involving Jörg Schilling). Referring to my mail
archive, I see that I use it rarely (for people who are in the
habit of making personal attacks).
- ... explain it to them in words of
one syllable or less
- I have used this at least since 1988, apparently not
original to me though. I picked this up from John Chludzinski
(in turn, from Winnie the Pooh).