My audience was the personnel of a software house and, in my innocence, I expected for economic reasons this audience to be highly receptive for techniques for making flawless software. I gave a beautiful lecture, which fell flat on its face. The managers were horrified at the suggestion that flawless software should be delivered since (the) company derived its stability from the subsequent maintenance contracts. The programmers were horrified too: they derived their intellectual excitement from not quite understanding what they were doing and their professional satisfaction from finding weird bugs they had first introduced in their daring irresponsibility. Teaching the competence to program boils down to the training of misfits.

EWD #1041

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