Discussion:
Murphy vs. Machiavelli --- who coined it?
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m***@mailinator.com
2014-11-08 13:38:12 UTC
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Hi group,

A bit of an off-topic question, but still, it relates to discussions that took
place here at c.l.c++.m

I'm writing an essay where I want to use (and hopefully cite!) the "protecting
against Murphy vs. protecting against Machiavelli" idea --- I know Herb Sutter
used it often in the GotW column (and as I recall, I'm pretty sure it made it
to his Exceptional C++ books).

Could someone confirm the origin of this expression? Who really coined the
term? (and if you could point me to the source --- a link, a textbook where
it appears, etc. --- that would be appreciated)

I see in a stackoverflow.com post someone saying that "As Bjarne puts it, the
access control in C++ is meant to protect against Murphy, not Machiavelli". But
I'm not sure that Bjarne actually did say it in those words (it might be just
that afterwards, the *idea* that Bjarne wrote in his D&E was rephrased using
the Murphy/Machiavelli analogy/expression). Could someone confirm?

Thanks,
Carlos
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Öö Tiib
2014-11-09 13:51:59 UTC
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Post by m***@mailinator.com
I'm writing an essay where I want to use (and hopefully cite!) the "protecting
against Murphy vs. protecting against Machiavelli" idea --- I know Herb Sutter
used it often in the GotW column (and as I recall, I'm pretty sure it made it
to his Exceptional C++ books).
It is usually attributed to Damian Conway. Almost always in form "c++ tries to
guard against murphy, not machiavelli".
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[ See http://www.gotw.ca/resources/clcm.htm for info about ]
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