is laziness a programer's virtue?

James Stroud jstroud at
Sun Apr 15 23:15:15 CEST 2007

Xah Lee wrote:
> Laziness, Perl, and Larry Wall
> Xah Lee, 20021124
> In the unix community there's quite a large confusion and wishful
> thinking about the word laziness. In this post, i'd like to make some
> clarifications.
> American Heritage Dictionary third edition defines laziness as:
> “Resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness.”
> When the sorcerer Larry Wall said “The three chief virtues of a
> programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubris”, he used the word
> “laziness” to loosely imply “natural disposition that results in being
> economic”. As you can see now, “Resistant to work or exertion” is
> clearly not positive and not a virtue, but “natural disposition that
> results in economy” is a good thing if true.
> When Larry Wall said one of programer's virtue is laziness, he wants
> the unix morons to conjure up in their brains the following
> proposition as true: “Resistant to work or exertion is a natural human
> disposition and such disposition actually results behaviors being
> economic”. This statement may be true, which means that human laziness
> may be intuitively understood from evolution. However, this statement
> is a proposition on all human beings, and is not some “virtue” that
> can be applied to a group of people such as programers.
> Demagogue Larry Wall is smart in creating a confusion combined with
> wishful thinking. By making subtle statements like this, he semi-
> intentionally confuses average programers to think that it is OK to be
> not thorough, it is OK to be sloppy, it is OK to disparage computer
> science. (like the incompetent unixers and perlers are)
> Can you see the evil and its harm in not understanding things clearly?
> This laziness quote by Wall is a tremendous damage to the computing
> industry. It is a source among others that spurs much bad fashion
> trends and fuckups in the industry. It is more damaging than any
> single hack or virus. It is social brain-washing at work, like the
> diamond company De Beers' tremendously successful sales slogan: “A
> Diamond is Forever” or Apple's grammatically fantastic “Think
> Different”.
> The most fundamental explanation of why Larry Wall's sophistry are
> damaging to society is simply this: What he said is not true and they
> are widely spread and conceived as worthwhile. This is a form of mis-
> information. This is a manifestation of Love without Knowledge as i
> expounded before, with subtle but disastrous consequences (already).
> [DISCLAIMER: all mentions of real persons are opinion only.]
> ----
> This post is archived at:
>   Xah
>   xah at

Laziness is re-posting something dated 2002.

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