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A Unix zealot, having heard that Master Foo was wise in the
Great Way, came to him for instruction. Master Foo said to him:
“When the Patriarch Thompson invented Unix, he did not
understand it. Then he gained in understanding, and no longer invented
“When the Patriarch McIlroy invented the pipe, he knew
that it would transform software, but did not know that it would
“When the Patriarch Ritchie invented C, he condemned
programmers to a thousand hells of buffer overruns, heap corruption,
and stale-pointer bugs”.
“Truly, the Patriarchs were blind and foolish!”
The zealot was greatly angered by the Master's words.
“These enlightened ones”, he protested. “gave
us the Great Way of Unix. Surely, if we mock them we will lose merit
and be reborn as beasts or MCSEs”.
“Is your code ever completely without stain and
flaw?” demanded Master Foo.
“No”, admitted the zealot, “no man's
“The wisdom of the Patriarchs”, said Master Foo,
“was that they knew they were
Upon hearing this, the zealot was enlightened.