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Henrik Warne
Henrik Warne

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More Good Programming Quotes, Part 2

A good programming quote captures an insight about programming, often in a funny way. Many quotes are quite famous, but I like ones that are a bit less well-know. A while ago, I listed some favorites. Here are more good quotes I have found since then. Enjoy!


“What one programmer can do in one month, two programmers can do in two months.” – Fred Brooks (maybe)

“Hardware eventually fails. Software eventually works.” – Michael Hartung

“Static types give me the same feeling of safety as the announcement that my seat cushion can be used as a floatation device.” – Attributed to Don Roberts by Martin Fowler.

“The Release Uncertainty Principle says you can accurately know what the software will do, or when you will get it, but not both.” – @sanityinc

“What programming continuously teaches me is that asking the right questions is infinitely more important than writing the code.” – @DanielMiessler

“The barman asks what the first one wants, two race conditions walk into a bar.” – @iamdevloper

“Programming is a few brief moments of sublime elegance embedded in months of niggling, exacting, precise trivialities.” – @MrAlanCooper

Programmer’s motto: “We’ll cross that bridge when it’s burning underneath us.” @garybernhardt

“The only programs that don’t get changed are those that are so bad that nobody wants to use them.” – David Parnas

“Do; or do not. There is no //TODO” – @jamesshore

Programming is like…

Get 68 people to write a book


End is sort of vague

Change the topic twice

Pedantic people



Now They Have 2 Problems

The most well-known quote in this style is by Jamie Zawinski on regular expressions. Here are four good variations:

Some programmers, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use floating point arithmetic.” Now they have 1.999999999997 problems. – @tomscott

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use multithreading”. Nothhw tpe yawrve o oblems. – @d6

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use versioning.” Now they have 2.1.0 problems. – @JaesCoyle

Some people, when faced with a problem, think, “I know, I’ll use binary.” Now they have 10 problems. – @nedbat


These quotes aren’t about programming per se, but they are still relevant and insightful (or funny):

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” – attributed to, but probably not by, Albert Einstein

“What I cannot create, I do not understand.” – Richard Feynman

“Writing is nature’s way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is.” – Dick Guindon

“It’s often called the ‘elevator pitch’, because you should be able to describe the product in the time between when the cable snaps and the elevator hits the ground.” – Steve Yegge

There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from missing data.

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