Unix Guru : The Curse of Dangling Pointers

“The worst thing in life is life itself …” Old Nick the Unix Guru said one morning between sips of coffee.

I nearly choked on my coffee. Things must be really bad in Nick’s world. Well, Nick is not quite known to be an optimist, but this level of pessimism is uncommon even for him. I waited with bated breath, since I assumed there would be more of such wisdom to follow.

I was rewarded soon.

“… and it is followed closely by dangling pointers.” Nick said, sounding ominous. I wondered if it had to do with the code I checked in last night.

“No, it's not your code, Tao,” Nick seemed to be able to read my mind. “I think you write pretty good code, umm, most of the time. It's the new intern. He has dangling pointers and memory leaks coming out of the wazoo.”

“What did he do?” I dared to ask, emboldened by Nick’s sort-of-praise. “Did he break the build?”

“Thankfully, no!” Nick said. “He put his code out for review before he checked in. Boy, I could barely sleep after looking at that code last night. That code needs to be hung by all its dangling pointers, and life snuffed out of it.”

“That sounds terrible. May be you should not have told him to write code in C++.”

“Well, he told me he was comfortable with C++. Anyway, I talked to him earlier this morning,” Nick said. “He told me afterwards that he is contemplating a career change.”

“You don’t say!” I was dumbfounded.

“I do!” Old Nick said, as he got up to leave.


Roger said…
Nice! That intern could have been me. :-)

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