[TUHS] Re.: Princeton's "Unix: An Oral History": who was in the team in "The Attic"?

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 07:07:24 AEST 2022

On Tue, Oct 11, 2022 at 4:09 PM Rob Pike <robpike at gmail.com> wrote:

> I think it is (used to be?) a common pattern.
> Tom Cargill took a year off from Bell Labs Research to work in
> development. He joined a group where every subsystem's code was printed in
> a separate binder and stored on a shelf in each office. Tom discovered that
> one of those subsystems was almost completely redundant, as most its
> services were implemented elsewhere. So he spent a few months making it
> completely redundant. He deleted 15,000 lines of code. When he was done, he
> removed an entire binder from everybody's shelf. His coworkers loved it.
> During his performance review, he learned that management had a metric for
> productivity: lines of code. Tom had negative productivity. In fact,
> because he was so successful, his entire group had negative productivity.
> He returned to Research with his tail between his legs.

Was this vignette in, "The Practice of Programming"? I know I've read it
somewhere before, either there, or in the first edition of "Programming

In the latter, Bentley makes a quip about incentives and lives of code.
Basically, if one incentivizes repetitive code, that's one what gets; "if
you pay by the line of code, how do you think an array with 500 elements
gets initialized?"

        - Dan C.

On Wed, Oct 12, 2022 at 7:03 AM Michael Kjörling <e5655f30a07f at ewoof.net>
> wrote:
>> On 11 Oct 2022 12:54 -0700, from lm at mcvoy.com (Larry McVoy):
>> > On Tue, Oct 11, 2022 at 03:43:19PM -0400, Marc Donner wrote:
>> >> So, come annual review time he gets the most negative possible score.
>> >> Why?  Because he produced -480K lines of code.
>> >
>> > Whoever wrote that review should have been fired.  Absolutely no clue.
>> Isn't it relatively well established, though, that IBM culture at
>> least for a very long time put heavy emphasis on counting lines of
>> source code, and that more SLOC was considered to be better?
>> I definitely recall it being mentioned in _Triumph of the nerds_ as a
>> major issue between IBM and Microsoft during development of OS/2.
>> --
>> Michael Kjörling
>>  https://michael.kjorling.se
>>   “Remember when, on the Internet, nobody cared that you were a dog?”
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