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Recently I posted an oldie from the last century. Here’s another from the deep time layers of my file system. It’s a poetic parable any programmer can relate to.

Think of it as the programmer’s version of Sisyphus.

I have no idea where I got it, and it has no name credited to it. I’ve made some word changes to improve the meter. (It wasn’t consistent before. I’ve left one key paragraph using a slightly different beat.)

The Last Bug

“No program is perfect,”
they said with a shrug.
“The client is happy,
What’s one little bug?”

But he was determined
as others went home,
to dig out the flowchart
and go it alone.

Night became morning, and
the room became filled,
with hex dumps and listings.
“I’m close now”, he thought.

Chain-smoking, cold coffee,
logic, deduction,
“I’ve got it!” he cried out!
“Just change this one line!”

Then change two, then change more,
as day followed night.
There was a solution,
he would get it right!

It still wasn’t perfect,
as year followed year,
and strangers would comment,
“Is that guy still here?”

He died at the console,
of hunger and thirst.
Next day he was buried,
Face down, Nine edge first.

His wife, through her tears,
accepted his fate.
“He’s not really gone,
he’s just working late.”

And the last bug in sight,
an ant passing by,
saluted his tombstone,
and whispered, “Nice try.”

§ §

And another golden oldie gets another chance at life (pass it on). And another example of better out (in public) than in (my file system).”

It would be interesting to know how many hours I’ve spent debugging since the mid-1970s. About 45 years of coding. Lotta debugging, although over the years I’ve gotten better at both finding bugs and not creating them in the first place.

Defensive programming. What a number of my blog posts here are about.

That is all. Carry on.