"Microsoft Apologies for "Big Boobs" Coding Gag"
The short story, a Microsoft programmer had put "0xB16B00B5" (i.e. "big boobs") in some Linux kernel code.
I thought this quote in the article summarized my thoughts on the subject
"At the most basic level it's just straightforward childish humour, and the use of vaguely-English strings in magic hex constants is hardly uncommon. But it's also specifically male childish humour. Puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys club where girls aren't welcome."I couldn't agree more.
Then I paused for a second ...
While I like to think of myself as having always been the consummate professional, I suppose I was once younger and more immature. I was once told the following "cool" hex string by an older programmer and put it into some code maybe 10 or so years ago:
#define _MAGIC 0xcafebabeIMO not as bad as "big boobs", but not exactly good.
So when I was told this "cool" hex string, a younger version of me thought nothing of it. The fact older colleagues also thought it was cool, probably established the idea this kind of thing was acceptable.
A now older version of me now would pause and think "I probably shouldn't."
So what's the lesson learned now that I'm a tad older?
A) I shouldn't encourage this by teaching it to younger engineers
B) I should never accept them in patches or let them get through code reviews.
Sigh, the ghost of 0xcafebabe affected me another time somewhat recently. A colleague of mine had programmed:
#define PLUGIN_FOO_INIT_NUMBER 0xcafeWhen I had to write a new plugin, I copied his code to start the new one. What did I put at the top of the file?
#define PLUGIN_BAR_INIT_NUMBER 0xbabeWell, the best thing I can do is admit the mistake, change the code, and be more conscious of this in the future.