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Edsger W. Dijkstra

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The required techniques of effective reasoning are pretty formal, but as long as programming is done by people that don't master them, the software crisis will remain with us and will be considered an incurable disease. And you know what incurable diseases do: they invite the quacks and charlatans in, who in this case take the form of Software Engineering gurus.
--
Dijkstra (2000) "Answers to questions from students of Software Engineering" (EWD 1305)

 
Edsger W. Dijkstra

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[Software engineering is the] establishment and use of sound engineering principles to obtain economically software that is reliable and works on real machines efficiently.

 
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Far too often, "software engineering" is neither engineering nor about software. Bjarne Stroustrup's FAQ: Did you really say that?. Retrieved on 2011-04-11.

 
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Free software permits students to learn how software works. Some students, on reaching their teens, want to learn everything there is to know about their computer and its software. They are intensely curious to read the source code of the programs that they use every day. To learn to write good code, students need to read lots of code and write lots of code. They need to read and understand real programs that people really use. Only free software permits this.
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Over the years, many companies have contributed to free software development. Some of these companies primarily developed non-free software, but the two activities were separate; thus, we could ignore their non-free products, and work with them on free software projects. Then we could honestly thank them afterward for their free software contributions, without talking about the rest of what they did.
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The major cause [of the software crisis] is that the machines have become several orders of magnitude more powerful! To put it quite bluntly: as long as there were no machines, programming was no problem at all; when we had a few weak computers, programming became a mild problem, and now we have gigantic computers, programming has become an equally gigantic problem. In this sense the electronic industry has not solved a single problem, it has only created them, it has created the problem of using its products.

 
Edsger W. Dijkstra
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