Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.

— Niklaus Wirth

The most provocative Niklaus Wirth quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

Indeed, the woes of Software Engineering are not due to lack of tools, or proper management, but largely due to lack of sufficient technical competence.


A good designer must rely on experience, on precise, logic thinking;

and on pedantic exactness. No magic will do.


The belief that complex systems require armies of designers and programmers is wrong. A system that is not understood in its entirety, or at least to a significant degree of detail by a single individual, should probably not be built.


A primary cause of complexity is that software vendors uncritically adopt almost any feature that users want.


In the practical world of computing, it is rather uncommon that a program, once it performs correctly and satisfactorily, remains unchanged forever.


C++ is an insult to the human brain


Time pressure gradually corrupts an engineer's standard of quality and perfection. It has a detrimental effect on people as well as products


Increasingly, people seem to misinterpret complexity as sophistication, which is baffling -- the incomprehensible should cause suspicion rather than admiration.


Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.

(Or, sometimes known by] Grove [the head of Intel] giveth and Gates [the head of Microsoft] taketh away.)


Software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster.


Whereas Europeans generally pronounce my name the right way ('Ni-klows Wirt'), Americans invariably mangle it into 'Nick-les Worth'. This is to say that Europeans call me by name, but Americans call me by value.


Usually its users discover sooner or later that their program does not deliver all the desired results, or worse, that the results requested were not the ones really needed.


About Niklaus Wirth

Quotes 37 sayings
Nationality Swiss
Profession Scientist
Birthday February 15, 1934

But active programming consists of the design of new programs, rather than contemplation of old programs.


Many people tend to look at programming styles and languages like religions: if you belong to one, you cannot belong to others. But this analogy is another fallacy.


Prolific programmers contribute to certain disaster.


Good engineering is characterized by gradual, stepwise refinement of products that yields increased performance under given constraints and with given resources.


Programs should be written and polished until they acquire publication quality.


It is evidently necessary to generate and test candidates for solutions in some systematic manner.


The idea that one might derive satisfaction from his or her successful work, because that work is ingenious, beautiful, or just pleasing, has become ridiculed.


My being a teacher had a decisive influence on making language and systems as simple as possible so that in my teaching, I could concentrate on the essential issues of programming rather than on details of language and notation.


Program construction consists of a sequence of refinement steps.


The possible solutions to a given problem emerge as the leaves of a tree, each node representing a point of deliberation and decision.


Clearly, programming courses should teach methods of design and construction, and the selected examples should be such that a gradual development can be nicely demonstrated.


Professors typically spend their time in meetings about planning, policy, proposals, fund-raising, consulting, interviewing, traveling, and so forth, but spend relatively little time at their drawing boards. As a result, they lose touch with the substance of their rapidly developing subject. They lose the ability to design; they lose sight of what is essential; and they resign themselves to teach academically challenging puzzles.


But quality of work can be expected only through personal satisfaction, dedication and enjoyment. In our profession, precision and perfection are not a dispensible luxury, but a simple necessity.


Yet, I am convinced that there is a need for high quality software, and the time will come when it will be recognized that it is worth investing effort in its development and in using a careful, structured approach based on safe, structured languages.


Software development is technical activity conducted by human beings.


Go To statement considered harmful.


I have never designed a language for its own sake.


My duty as a teacher is to train, educate future programmers.


Experience shows that the success of a programming course critically depends on the choice of these examples.


Our ultimate goal is extensible programming (EP).

By this, we mean the construction of hierarchies of modules, each module adding new functionality to the system.


During the process of stepwise refinement, a notation which is natural to the problem in hand should be used as long as possible.


Reliable and transparent programs are usually not in the interest of the designer.


Nevertheless, I consider OOP as an aspect of programming in the large;

that is, as an aspect that logically follows programming in the small and requires sound knowledge of procedural programming.


Programming is usually taught by examples.