Thursday, May 4, 2023

Compiler Humor

Tony Cunningham (via Hacker News):

These are some of the error messages produced by Apple’s MPW C compiler. These are all real. (If you must know I was bored one afternoon and decompiled the String resources for the compiler.)


“You can’t modify a constant, float upstream, win an argument with the IRS, or satisfy this compiler”


“type in (cast) must be scalar; ANSI 3.3.4; page 39, lines 10-11 (I know you don’t care, I’m just trying to annoy you)”


“This label is the target of a goto from outside of the block containing this label AND this block has an automatic variable with an initializer AND your window wasn’t wide enough to read this whole error message”

Jim Rea:

This parody of Jefferson Airplane’s classic song “White Rabbit” is about programming psychedelia—undefined behavior in C.

One flag makes it faster
and one flag makes it small
and the deprecated -Wchkp
doesn’t do anything at all. […]


Update (2023-09-04): Irreal:

There’s a long tradition of this sort humor, especially in the Unix world. There’s the famous “bug” listed at the end of the tunefs man page: You can tune a file system, but you can’t tunafish. That joke was in the BSD Unix distribution until the suits discovered it and had it removed. Then there was the in-joke values of β will give rise to dom! error diagnostic from the Version 6 mv utility. Dennis Ritchie explains the joke at the link.

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