Great quotes about building software

I have always loved quotes. It is not unusual to see me drop a line from a rap song in the middle of a conversation or a line from one of my favorite movies. I have always memorized lines that I thought were memorable. It is rare to read a line from a piece of text that captures a particular situation or relays a particular message so eloquently that it transcends the body of text around it. Many times these sentences are a neat way to store what I like to call pellets of wisdom. They are little messages easy to recall and save you from a truckload of shit!

“It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.” - Winston Churchill

I also record quotes I find great that I read in books or I heard in songs or I see on the interwebs. From time to time I go over them, some of them make me laugh, some of them remind me of key principles and some inspire me to do things better. So below I have decided to share some of my favorite quotes about creating software.


“ Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen. ” - Edward V Berard


“ Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live. ” - Rick Osborne


"I don't care if it works on your machine! We are not shipping your machine!"- Vidiu Platon.


"Sometimes it pays to stay in bed on Monday, rather than spending the rest of the week debugging Monday's code."

  • Christopher Thompson


"Perfection [in design] is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


"Tzu-li and Tzu-ssu were boasting about the size of their latest programs. ‘Two-hundred thousand lines,’ said Tzu-li, ‘not counting comments!’ Tzu-ssu responded, ‘Pssh, mine is almost a million lines already.’ Master Yuan-Ma said, ‘My best program has five hundred lines.’ Hearing this, Tzu-li and Tzu-ssu were enlightened." -Master Yuan-Ma


"Premature optimization is the root of all evil in programming."
-Tony Hoare


"There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult. "

  • Tony Hoare


"Software is like sex: it's better when it's free." - Linus Torvalds


"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."

  • Charles Babbage