Ask Your Compiler

Recently, a formal-verification researcher gave the expected verdict on software: “It is surprising that any software works!” I could not resist replying “You should be surprised that you work.” The researcher muttered something about evolution.

And in fact it has been observed that “Linux is evolution, not intelligent design”. From this viewpoint, review, testing, and other validation processes provide the Darwinian fitness function, eliminating unfit mutations from the “gene pool”. Which is good reason to continue working to improve these validation processes.

But there is another implication of this viewpoint. The patches that we developers sweat so hard over are nothing more or less than the software counterpart of random mutations.

But don't take my word for it. Ask your compiler!