Secret life of the OpenSolaris code

Summary:Although incidences of profanity and swearing are rare in the ten million lines of the newly-released OpenSolaris code, the ones that do exist reveal programmers' frustration with their art.OpenSolaris community manager Jim Grisanzio told ZDNet Australia&nbsp the code had been relatively free of profanity even before Sun filtered it prior to release.

Although incidences of profanity and swearing are rare in the ten million lines of the newly-released OpenSolaris code, the ones that do exist reveal programmers' frustration with their art.

OpenSolaris community manager Jim Grisanzio told ZDNet Australia&nbsp the code had been relatively free of profanity even before Sun filtered it prior to release. "They went through the code for a great many things," he said, "and I'm sure they cleaned a word or two. Or three."

"But you know, when I got involved in this project last year, even at that time, no one was worried about any comments in the code. Maybe we have clean engineers, I don't know, but for the most part I've heard it's pretty clean."

A cursory search through the code revealed almost a complete lack of commonly-used profanity. This is in contrast with other examples such as the leaked Windows 2000 code and the Linux kernel project -- which are famous in coding circles for the number of rude words programmers have included in an adult-rated effort to describe how a particular portion of the code works.

But the OpenSolaris code is not entirely clean. "This is an ugly PCMCIA hack - ugh!", wrote one developer in the comments section of his code. Another was realistic about his coding confusion. "Couldn't find the damn thing," he said.

"The following cast 'makes it all work'. Yes, it's ugly," admitted a third.

The much-vaunted dynamic tracing (dtrace) feature of Sun's system may not be as safe to use as most people think.

"This bit me in the ass a couple of times, so lets toss this in as a cursory sanity check," wrote one careful developer in the dtrace section.

Another tried his hand at predicting the future of system speeds. "As of this writing (1996) a clock rate of more than about 10 kHz seems utterly ridiculous, although this observation will no doubt seem quaintly amusing one day," he wrote.

Religion was a common theme in the code. "Oops, did not find this signature, so we must advance on the next signature in the SUA and hope to God that it is in the susp format, or we get hosed," said one developer.

"God help us all if someone changes how lex works," wrote another. "Oh God, what an ugly pile of architecture," moaned a third.

However, the real potty-mouths appeared to be open-source developers whose software made it into the OpenSolaris release in the form of the Perl and GRUB projects.

One Perl developer cursed Microsoft: "Darn MS FTP server is a load of CRAP !!!!", while another inexplicably chose to quote from JRR Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings&nbsp.

"Didst thou think that the eyes of the White Tower were blind? Nay, I have seen more than thou knowest, Gray Fool," the quote from ill-fated steward of Gondor Denethor went.

A third referred to the infamous movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail&nbsp.

The most embarassing comment came from a developer of the GRUB project who went only by the name of "Gord".

"This function is truly horrid," he wrote. "We try opening the device, then severely abuse the GEOMETRY->flags field to pass a file descriptor to biosdisk. Thank God nobody's looking at this comment, or my reputation would be ruined."

Topics: Oracle

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