Comparatives

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Comparatives

Finally, note that many words in hacker jargon have to be understood as members of sets of comparatives. This is especially true of the adjectives and nouns used to describe the beauty and functional quality of code. Here is an approximately correct spectrum:

     monstrosity  brain-damage  screw  bug  lose  misfeature
     crock  kluge  hack  win  feature  elegance  perfection
The last is spoken of as a mythical absolute, approximated but never actually attained. Another similar scale is used for describing the reliability of software:

     broken  flaky  dodgy  fragile  brittle
     solid  robust  bulletproof  armor-plated
Note, however, that `dodgy' is primarily Commonwealth Hackish (it is rare in the U.S.) and may change places with `flaky' for some speakers.

Coinages for describing lossage seem to call forth the very finest in hackish linguistic inventiveness; it has been truly said that hackers have even more words for equipment failures than Yiddish has for obnoxious people.


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