Catching Save - newbie

Michael Hudson mwh at
Wed Apr 16 18:10:21 CEST 2003

Peter Hansen <peter at> writes:

> Michael Hudson wrote:
> > 
> > Peter Hansen <peter at> writes:
> > > One of the most important things to learn as a programmer is this,
> > > as stated by various people but most popularly attributed to Knuth:
> > > "Premature optimization is the root of all evil in programming."
> > 
> > And Knuth really did say it!  In "Structured Programming with goto
> > Statements", on page 268 of the rather naff scan[*] I have of it, we
> > find:
> > 
> >  "We /should/ forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time:
> >  premature optimization is the root of all evil."
> > 
> > So even you have managed to misquote him, unless he (or someone else)
> > said it differently somewhere else.
> > 
> > [*] you can get your own naff scan easily enough with google; I can't
> >     remember where mine came from.
> The last time I used Google (of which I'm well aware of course), it
> told me that Knuth was in fact merely paraphrasing someone else 
> (google can tell you who it was, if you wish ;-),

Yes, you can find lots of people claiming it was Hoare that said this.
However, their plurality doesn't necessarily make them right.

> and since I was not directly quoting him, but merely paraphrasing
> "various people" myself, I made no claims that he said precisely
> that.

I wasn't meaning to accuse you of inaccuracy, but there is *so* much
vagueness about this particular quote that I like to inject a little
precision every now and again.

> It is, after all, the sentiment that matters, more than the specific
> words used to convey them.



  If design space weren't so vast, and the good solutions so small a
  portion of it, programming would be a lot easier.
                                            -- maney, comp.lang.python

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