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Definitions of cargo cult programming

  1. A style of (incompetent) programmingdominated by ritual inclusion of code or program structuresthat serve no real purpose. A cargo cult programmer willusually explain the extra code as a way of working around somebug encountered in the past, but usually neither the bug northe reason the code apparently avoided the bug was ever fullyunderstood (compare shotgun debugging, voodooprogramming).The term "cargo cult" is a reference to aboriginal religionsthat grew up in the South Pacific after World War II. Thepractices of these cults centre on building elaborate mockupsof aeroplanes and military style landing strips in the hope ofbringing the return of the god-like aeroplanes that broughtsuch marvelous cargo during the war. Hackish usage probablyderives from Richard Feynman's characterisation of certainpractices as "cargo cult science" in his book "Surely You'reJoking, Mr. Feynman" (W. W. Norton & Co, New York 1985, ISBN0-393-01921-7). foldoc_fs
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