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Who is Eagleson and where did Eagleson's law originate?
November 14, 2011 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Programmers soon learn that
“Any code of your own that you haven't looked at for six or more months might as well have been written by someone else.”
This maxim, generally cited as “Eagleson's Law [of Programming]” (and often extended “Eagleson is an optimist; the real number is more like 3 weeks”) has been floating around the internet for ages*. But who is Eagleson, and where did this notion originally appear?

*Here it is in someone's sig in a 1991 comp.graphics post so it's at least that old. Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if it were twenty or thirty years older but I haven't had any luck tracking down a source. Can any of you librarians, sleuths, and computer historians provide more info?
posted by Songdog to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
It looks to be anonymously attributed and sometimes confused with an actual Ohio law with the same name. I'm willing to bet that someone named Eagleson self quoted himself on Usenet and it stuck around since (much like the orgins of Godwin's law). This is kind of what Usenet folks did back in the day before LOLcats...
posted by samsara at 10:04 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would put a strong wager on Peter S. Eagleson, a member of the MIT faculty since 1952.

I found the quote in a comp.fortune file from 1987, to give an earlier date for its origin. It could easily have arisen on a private network before USENET, as well.
posted by dhartung at 12:32 AM on November 16, 2011


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