A young Co-op is sent down I-5 to "downsize" Don Knuth because his methods are unsound. The co-op student is well trained in .Net, XML, and Design Patterns, and he's sent to off Knuth for his heretical non-standards-base approach (and specifically, the MMIX-fallacy based on --gasp-- assembly language!).

UVic, shit. Eight years into my degree, and I'm still trying to get through calculus. My girlfriend graduated last year and left me for a commerce major. Every semester I spend on this campus I get weaker. I just wanted one co-op term that wasn't testing or writing documentation.

At his briefing, the co-op student is handed a listing of an APL program by the chief architect of the .NET CLR, while the Spec Lead of the Java Community Process group looks on. An unnamed representative from W3C is sitting in the background.

Q: "Are you familiar with this language, son?"

A: "No sir"

(The W3C guy gives the student a significant look)

Q: "What about Forth?"

A: "Sir, I have never participated in any projects utilizing these languages. Furthermore, if I had in fact participated in any such projects, I would not be at liberty to speak of them at this time. Sir."

While the co-op student is being driven down the I-5 in an SUV, he reviews Knuth's dossier and ruminates "this guy wrote two volumes of The Art of Computer Programming, then gave it all up to implement TeX. Back to coding, at his age? What balls. I tried to write a validating XML processor when I was 18 and it damn near killed me."

To get directions to Knuth, Willard is sent to see Bill "Kernel" Kiljoy, a former Sun VP, now with Microsoft. Kiljoy is in the process of reorganizing a software company recently acquired by Microsoft. Willard meets Kiljoy on-site, where half the programming staff has been given pink slips and the other half is being indoctrinated in the Microsoft development style. Flunkies scurry everywhere, installing hardware and software, while hapless employees look on.

FLUNKY: The network topology's pretty hairy here, sir. Some of it's old 10 megabit coax. There?s even a 4 megabit token ring. I don't know where we'll get the bandwidth to set up VoIP.

KILJOY: We can get rid of some of these Unix workstations for a start.

Kiljoy yanks an ethernet cable out of the back of a nearby computer.

HAPLESS EMPLOYEE: Hey, that's Charlie's network connection

KILJOY: So what? Charlie won't surf!

A new horde of flunkies arrive and begin to install Windows Vista on all the computers in the office. Kiljoy starts up Visual Studio on a computer and several minutes later, source code is displayed.

KILJOY: You see that? Do you see that? Hungarian notation, son. No other coding style in the world looks like that. I love to look at C# in the morning. You know, one time we migrated some BSD software to .NET. When it was all done I reviewed the code. I didn't understand one line, not one stinkin' expression. It was the style, you know that verbose COBOL-like style, the whole program. It looked like... like the Reverse-injected Victory Pattern. (He casts an avuncular glance at Willard and winks). Some day this software's going to ship.

In the boardroom waiting for Knuth, the VP of Marketing explains Knuth's brilliance

VPM: no mantissa. You can't address memory, you can't index into process space, with, like you know, floating point numbers. What byte do you get with 2.5E-1, 3.75E-1, what are you gonna do when you reach the end of allocated storage or something -- that's array subscripting, OK?

Never leave the cubicle, absolutely goddamn right, unless you're going all the way. Knuth left the cubicle, he wrote the whole fucking program.

- Donald Chan,Noel Burton-Krahn


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