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The Cause of Code Rot (Robert Bernecky)

It is a well-known phenomenon that computer programs, left to themselves,
will cease to work. This is known as "Code Rot". (Programs NOT left to
themselves also cease to work. This is known as "maintenance" or 
"enhancement", but is not germane to this discussion). The cause of
code rot has recently been discovered in a related discipline -- 
writing. The following is a quote from an article by Richard Purdy,
which appeared in the May 1988 issue of "The Journal of Wild Culture":
(visus litteratum)

The North American print grub is a well-known pest infecting libraries
and bookstores. This tiny grub has a transparent, lens-like body that distorts
the print below it and gives the impression of a typographical error or
misprint(Typographical errors in this magazine {or this quote../rbe}
may be attributable to print grubs. Please check carefully). The print grub
lives on book pages and licks the ink up off the page, slowly erasing whole
lines of type as it feeds. The grub digests the gum arabic or glue contents 
of the ink and defecates the pigment residue, leaving behind an unsightly

The print grub has become a significant pest in large North American libraries,
reducing entire books to defecatory blobs. In recent years, researchers
in the Saskatchewan Bibliographic Centre have discovered marked tendencies
in the print grub's habits. For instance, statistics show a consistent
predeliction for glossy magazines. No infestation has been found in the 
works of William Shakespeare, Marcel Proust, Henrik Ibsen, or Mervyn Peake,
although volumes on nearby shelves were considerably infested. It may be going
too far to suggest that print grubs are executing a type of literary 
criticism; yet, the facts are undeniable."


The vast differences in quality of code produces by different vendors may
also be explained by local infestations of print grubs. Then again, it 
may not.

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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