Secret life of the OpenSolaris code

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  the code had been relatively free of profanity even before Sun filtered it prior to release.

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TOPICS: Oracle
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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  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 .

"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 .

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."

Topic: Oracle

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12 comments
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  • Makes me wonder just how much GPL'd code is in OpenSolaris. If only it was really OpenSource rather than their "What's mine is mine and whats yours is mine to" perversion. Seems they use MS's so called 'Shared Source' model
    anonymous
  • The Perl source is littered with Tolkien quotes, its a theme. Each *.c file has a quote from Tolkien which has something to do with the code in question. "Didst thou think that the eyes of the White Tower were blind" heads the code for internal debugging. Perhaps the most fitting quote in the Perl source, "Sam sat on the ground and put his head in his hands. 'I wish I had never come here, and I don't want to see no more magic,' he said, and fell silent."
    anonymous
  • The Tolkien references in the Perl source are very, very old news indeed.
    anonymous
  • Search the source here:

    http://cvs.opensolaris.org/source/

    Pretty cool if you ask me.

    -mb
    anonymous
  • I can tell you from my 20 years in the software trenches that this kind of behaviour should almost be .... encouraged !! :) Software code can be a cold, lifeless place, especially if coders are supposed to follow arcane code style and etiquette guidelines often present in large scale projects. These kind of comments definitely breathe a bit of humanity and sociability into what is essentially talking to machines by pecking at a piece of plastic.
    The benefits for future coders stumbling over such colourful utterances range from a good laugh to relieve tension, to a tip off that some code has some issues and you should beware or it needs fixing. Honestly, 9 times out of 10 I find them more useful than some parrot programmer who regimentally reiterates in a paragraph what 2 lines of self evident code actually are doing. I've seen full programmer burn out essays left in the comments of code. These are priceless artifacts better than a Big Brother episode. A "code-ologist" many years from now will say, "... and this is where Fredericko lost his mind and became a used car salesman."
    I would hate to see it get out of control and code comments becoming blogs, but the odd one is pure entertainment (and does have place in the workplace).
    However pure tagging of code like adolescent graffiti artist is truely a waste of space and people's time.
    anonymous
  • <a href="http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/ahl/20050616#comment_out_of_context">[Trackback]</a>

    The OpenSolaris launch has been pretty fun -- I've already had some discussions with customers over the source code. Of course, the first thing people seemed to do with the source code is look for references to "s**t" and "f**k". This was titillating to be sure. Unsatisfied with the cheap laugh, ZDNet wanted to draw some conclusions from the profanity...
    anonymous
  • Renai LeMay is an over-literal moron who has obviously never written a single line of code in his/her life.
    Developers make comments humorous to "break the ice" when people have to read them in attempt to decipher what they've designed.
    Articles by idiots like this are what ruined online journalism.
    anonymous
  • QUOTE: "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."

    Renai obviously has no idea what clock speeds were being referred to.
    HERE'S A HINT: It's not the "3GHz" one you see advertised on television.
    God, who hires these "pseudo-journalists"?

    Please collect a clue before attempting to write a serious article again.
    anonymous
  • Presumable, 'Gray Fool' would be 'Grey Fool', since Tolkien knew how to spell.
    anonymous
  • >>Makes me wonder just how much GPL'd code is in
    >>OpenSolaris. If only it was really OpenSource
    >>rather than their "What's mine is mine and whats
    >>yours is mine to" perversion. Seems they use MS's
    >>so called 'Shared Source' model

    CDDL is nothing like Shared Source. It is OSI certified as a Free Software License and is as much open source as GPL or other OSI approved licenses. See the FAQ at:

    http://www.opensolaris.org/os/about/faq/licensing_faq/

    specifically the section on "If you wanted a copyleft license, why didn't you just use the GPL or LGPL?"
    anonymous
  • Have you actually read the CDDL ?

    Blanket statement without research that is ? Do yourself a favour and read the CDDL before you comment.
    anonymous
  • Your name

    haha i didn't read your story or nothing im just looking up my name on google.. you have the same name as me.. lol whats your middle name!? :P

    from, Rhys Parsons
    anonymous