My Linux


Documentation for testers

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A novice asked the Master: "Here is a programmer that never designs, documents, or tests his programs. Yet all who know him consider him one of the best programmers in the world. Why is this?" The Master replies: "That programmer has mastered the Tao. He has gone beyond the need for design; he does not become angry when the system crashes, but accepts the universe without concern. He has gone beyond the need for documentation; he no longer cares if anyone else sees his code. He has gone beyond the need for testing; each of his programs are perfect within themselves, serene and elegant, their purpose self-evident. Truly, he has entered the mystery of the Tao."
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

I went on to test the program in every way I could devise. I strained it to expose its weaknesses. I ran it for high-mass stars and low-mass stars, for stars born exceedingly hot and those born relatively cold. I ran it assuming the superfluid currents beneath the crust to be absent -- not because I wanted to know the answer, but because I had developed an intuitive feel for the answer in this particular case. Finally I got a run in which the computer showed the pulsar's temperature to be less than absolute zero. I had found an error. I chased down the error and fixed it. Now I had improved the program to the point where it would not run at all.
-- George Greenstein, "Frozen Star:
Of Pulsars, Black Holes and the Fate of Stars"

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This file was last modified on 2004-10-22