Optimized quoting (was Re: Speed?)

Martin Maney maney at pobox.com
Sun Jan 11 06:07:20 CET 2004

Aahz <aahz at pythoncraft.com> wrote:
> In article <m3brpi72rb.fsf at pc150.maths.bris.ac.uk>,
> Michael Hudson  <mwh at python.net> wrote:
>>aahz at pythoncraft.com (Aahz) writes:
>>> "Premature optimization is the root of all evil in programming."
>>> --C.A.R. Hoare (often misattributed to Knuth, who was himself quoting Hoare)

> http://www.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/2001-January/001461.html

> Anybody have a copy of _Literate Programming_ to check?

Surely someone else must have checked this before now.  Perhaps the
reply went astray, or isn't threaded properly so that I don't see it.
Anyway.  Yes, Knuth says, in a parenthetical aside on page 276, "But I
also knew, and forgot, Hoare's dictum that premature optimization is
the root of all evil in programming."

Which fails to answer the quite reasonable wish for a cite attributing
the phrase, rather than the concept, to Hoare.  (a distinction Cally
likes to troll in her .sig, as you know.)

(I can't believe that I have, by dint of rigorously ignoring all but
the most fascinating threads, gotten close enough to the working end of
this dynamic work-always-in-progress to feel I might have something to
add other than a belated footnote.  Maybe if I got up at 2:30 AM every
day I could find time to read clp!)

One lesson I've learned from my years as Linux's hood ornament is that
there's something worse: some folks can't be content to just take things
too seriously on their own.  They're not happy unless they can convince
others to go along with their obsession.  -- Linus

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