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Programming Humor

Christopher Thompson

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

Change a Light Bulb

Q: How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. It’s a hardware problem.

Q: How many hardware engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. We’ll just work around that in the software.

Q: How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one. But it takes them all night. And when they’re done, the washing machine doesn’t work right.
A: None. “We’ll document it in the manual.”
A: Two. One always leaves in the middle of the project.
A: Four. One to design the change, one to implement it, one to document it, and one to maintain it afterwards.
A: Four, plus one senior analyst to manage the project, one technical writer to correct the spelling and grammar of the one who documented it, one light bulb librarian, a sales-force of at least five to drum up enough users who want to turn the light on, 274 users to burn out the new bulb, at which point we go to tender for another light bulb change.
A: Five. Two to write the specification program, one to screw it in, and two to explain why the project was late.
A: Only one, but he’s not available till the year 2025.
A: “The change is 90% complete.”
A: “It’s hard to say. Each time we separate the bulb into its modules to do unit testing, it stops working.”
A: Of course, as everyone knows, just forty-five years ago all it took was a bunch of kids in a garage in Palo Alto to change a light bulb.
A: The light bulb works fine on the system in my office.

On Wed, 14 Jan 1998, Paul Bleisch wrote:
What are light bulbs?
On Thu, 15 Jan 1998, Steve Baker replied:
Oh dear. I wish people would RTM. . . .


     lightbulb - Convert electrons to photons

     lightbulb [-wattage number]

     lightbulb reads a stream of electrons from standard input and
     produces photons on standard output.

         lightbulb <110_volts_ac >light

     The following options apply to lightbulb:

     -wattage  Sets the rate at which electrons are converted
               to photons.


     xmas_tree_lights(1), streetlamp(1), led(2)

     lightbulb is known to fail unexpectedly after some unknown
     number of applications. Repeated complaints to the authors
     of lightbulb have failed to come up with a fix for this
     bug. The only known workaround for a crashed lightbulb is
     re-installation from a fresh copy of the source media.

     I believe M$ Windows is based on lightbulb because they
     share the same bug - and the same workaround.

     It is important to ensure that the input stream is correctly
     formatted or the lightbulb may crash unexpectedly and with
     undefined results.

     Do not attempt to apply lightbulb's input files to other
     UNIX tools (esp. 'finger(1)'), however, lightbulb's output
     stream is fairly compatible with most other devices.

     Consult a hardware engineer.

     Your operating system must support sockets and switches.

The Fine Print: I don’t own the copyright to any of the information on this page. It’s all stuff I found on the internet that made me laugh.

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2 responses to “Programming Humor”

  1. Anita

    Is this really about how government gets things done, in code?

    1. Soren Stoutner

      Pretty much!

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