Coding Horror

programming and human factors

We Are Morons: a quick look at the Win2k source

Thanks to my friend Geoff Dalgas for pointing out this interesting article at, which analyzes the comments inside the recently leaked Microsoft Windows NT/2k code. Very amusing, with some surprising insights into the mindset of the coders working at Microsoft:

In the struggle to meet deadlines, I think pretty much all programmers have put in comments they might later regret, including swearwords and acerbic comments about other code or requirements. Also, any conscientious coder will put in prominent comments warning others about the trickier parts of the code. Comments like "UGLY TERRIBLE HACK" tend to indicate good code rather than bad: in bad code ugly terrible hacks are considered par for the course. It would therefore be both hypocritical and meaningless to go through the comments looking for embarrassments. But also fun, so let's go.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Exchange and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: