Copyright © 2013–2014,2015 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 vary.
Somebody's got to do it.
In the context of my $dayjob, I am paraphrasing Harry Truman's "the buck stops here".
If you cannot agree on what the problem is, you will not be able to agree on the solution
Used since the early 1990s, I see that variations on this are widely used, with no definite origin.
If you can't be clever, use brute force
This might be a paraphrase of "When in doubt, use brute force", which I see attributed to Ken Thomson here. I forget...
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?” (rarely 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 source.
Someone has to make the free software.
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 activity;
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 rare.
Brevity is the soul of eloquence
Even rarer. Quoted to me (see this page).


$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 sample:

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 about them.
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 discuss.
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 course.
You forgot to call me a Nazi.
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).