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Ken Thompson Quotes

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Ken Thompson Quote: “One of my most productive days was throwing away 1,000 lines of code.”

One of my most productive days was throwing away 1,000 lines of code.

— Ken Thompson



Ken Thompson Quote: “When in doubt, use brute force.”

When in doubt, use brute force.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “You can’t trust code that you did not totally create yourself.”

You can’t trust code that you did not totally create yourself.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I think the major good idea in Unix was its clean and simple interface: open, close, read, and write.”

I think the major good idea in Unix was its clean and simple interface: open, close, read, and write.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “If you want to go somewhere, goto is the best way to get there.”

If you want to go somewhere, goto is the best way to get there.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “That brings me to Dennis Ritchie. Our collaboration has been a thing of beauty.”

That brings me to Dennis Ritchie. Our collaboration has been a thing of beauty.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “It’s always good to take an orthogonal view of something. It develops ideas.”

It’s always good to take an orthogonal view of something. It develops ideas.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “We have persistent objects, they’re called files.”

We have persistent objects, they’re called files.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “A well installed microcode bug will be almost impossible to detect.”

A well installed microcode bug will be almost impossible to detect.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “Just think, IBM and DEC in the same room, and we did it.”

Just think, IBM and DEC in the same room, and we did it.

— Ken Thompson



Ken Thompson Quote: “The steady state of disks is full.”

The steady state of disks is full.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I wanted to separate data from programs, because data and instructions are very different.”

I wanted to separate data from programs, because data and instructions are very different.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “The average gardener probably knows little about what is going on in his or her garden.”

The average gardener probably knows little about what is going on in his or her garden.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “The X server has to be the biggest program I’ve ever seen that doesn’t do anything for you.”

The X server has to be the biggest program I’ve ever seen that doesn’t do anything for you.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “FORTRAN was the language of choice for the same reason that three-legged races are popular.”

FORTRAN was the language of choice for the same reason that three-legged races are popular.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out!”

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out!

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “One is that the perfect garden can be created overnight, which it can’t.”

One is that the perfect garden can be created overnight, which it can’t.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I am a very bottom-up thinker.”

I am a very bottom-up thinker.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I also enjoy writing my regular column for Organic Gardening magazine, so I may do more of that sort of thing in the future, if anybody wants it!”

I also enjoy writing my regular column for Organic Gardening magazine, so I may do more of that sort of thing in the future, if anybody wants it!

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “There’s a lot of power in executing data – generating data and executing data.”

There’s a lot of power in executing data – generating data and executing data.

— Ken Thompson



Ken Thompson Quote: “I wanted to have virtual memory, at least as it’s coupled with file systems.”

I wanted to have virtual memory, at least as it’s coupled with file systems.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I view Linux as something that’s not Microsoft-a backlash against Microsoft, no more and no less.”

I view Linux as something that’s not Microsoft-a backlash against Microsoft, no more and no less.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “In fact, we started off with two or three different shells and the shell had life of its own.”

In fact, we started off with two or three different shells and the shell had life of its own.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “No amount of source-level verification or scrutiny will protect you from using untrusted code.”

No amount of source-level verification or scrutiny will protect you from using untrusted code.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I also have an idea for a book on biodiversity, and why and how we should be conserving it.”

I also have an idea for a book on biodiversity, and why and how we should be conserving it.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “In college, before video games, we would amuse ourselves by posing programming exercises.”

In college, before video games, we would amuse ourselves by posing programming exercises.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I have to keep up with the scientific literature as part of my job, but increasingly I found myself reading things that weren’t really relevant to my academic work, but were relevant to gardening.”

I have to keep up with the scientific literature as part of my job, but increasingly I found myself reading things that weren’t really relevant to my academic work, but were relevant to gardening.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “On the one hand, the press, television, and movies make heroes of vandals by calling them whiz kids.”

On the one hand, the press, television, and movies make heroes of vandals by calling them whiz kids.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “For most of that time, I’ve also been a keen gardener, but for many years I failed to make the connection between gardening and science.”

For most of that time, I’ve also been a keen gardener, but for many years I failed to make the connection between gardening and science.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “It is only the inadequacy of the criminal code that saves the hackers from very serious prosecution.”

It is only the inadequacy of the criminal code that saves the hackers from very serious prosecution.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I wanted to avoid, special IO for terminals.”

I wanted to avoid, special IO for terminals.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I don’t think there are many people up in research who have strong ideas about things that they haven’t really had experience with.”

I don’t think there are many people up in research who have strong ideas about things that they haven’t really had experience with.

— Ken Thompson


Ken Thompson Quote: “I still have a full-time day job, which is why it took me five years to write An Ear to the Ground, and why I won’t have another book finished by next week.”

I still have a full-time day job, which is why it took me five years to write An Ear to the Ground, and why I won’t have another book finished by next week.

— Ken Thompson

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