I recently discovered this little gem hanging around on my hard drive. I apparently downloaded it from a gopher server some time ago. I have reproduced it in its original pre-formatted text glory for all to see.
William Astle, August 25, 2004
REAL SOFTWARE ENGINEERS DON'T READ DUMPS Real software engineers don't read dumps. They never generate them, and on the rare occasions that they come across them, they are vaguely amused. Real software engineers don't comment their code. The identifiers are so mnemonic they don't have to. Real software engineers don't write applications programs, they implement algorithms. If someone has an application that the algorithm might help with, that's nice. Don't ask them to write the user interface, though. Real software engineers eat quiche. If it doesn't have recursive function calls, real software engineers don't program in it. Real software engineers don't program in assembler. They become queasy at the very thought. Real software engineers don't debug programs, they verify correctness. This process doesn't necessarily involve executing anything on a computer, except perhaps a Correctness Verification Aid package. Real software engineers like C's structured constructs, but they are suspicious of it because they have heard that it lets you get "close to the machine." Real software engineers play tennis. In general, they don't like any sport that involves getting hot and sweaty and gross when out of range of a shower. (Thus mountain climbing is Right Out.) They will occasionally wear their tennis togs to work, but only on very sunny days. Real software engineers admire PASCAL for its discipline and Spartan purity, but they find it difficult to actually program in. They don't tell this to their friends, because they are afraid it means that they are somehow Unworthy. Real software engineers work from 9 to 5, because that is the way the job is described in the formal spec. Working late would feel like using an undocumented external procedure. Real software engineers write in languages that have not actually been implemented for any machine, and for which only the formal spec (in BNF) is available. This keeps them from having to take any machine dependencies into account. Machine dependencies make real software engineers very uneasy. Real software engineers don't write in ADA, because the standards bodies have not quite decided on a formal spec yet. Real software engineers like writing their own compilers, preferably in PROLOG (they also like writing them in unimplemented languages, but it turns out to be difficult to actually RUN these). Real software engineers regret the existence of COBOL, FORTRAN and BASIC. PL/1 is getting there, but it is not nearly disciplined enough; far too much built in function. Real software engineers aren't too happy about the existence of users, either. Users always seem to have the wrong idea about what the implementation and verification of algorithms is all about. Real software engineers don't like the idea of some inexplicable and greasy hardware several aisles away that may stop working at any moment. They have a great distrust of hardware people, and wish that systems could be virtual at ALL levels. They would like personal computers (you know no one's going to trip over something and kill your DFA in mid-transit), except that they need 8 megabytes to run their Correctness Verification Aid packages. Real software engineers think better while playing WFF 'N' PROOF.
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