= C =
cargo cult programming n.
A style of (incompetent)
programming dominated by ritual inclusion of code or program
structures that serve no real purpose. A cargo cult programmer
will usually explain the extra code as a way of working around some
bug encountered in the past, but usually neither the bug nor the
reason the code apparently avoided the bug was ever fully
understood (compare shotgun debugging, voodoo programming).
The term `cargo cult' is a reference to aboriginal religions that
grew up in the South Pacific after World War II. The practices of
these cults center on building elaborate mockups of airplanes and
military style landing strips in the hope of bringing the return of
the god-like airplanes that brought such marvelous cargo during the
war. Hackish usage probably derives from Richard Feynman's
characterization of certain practices as "cargo cult science" in
his book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" (W. W. Norton
& Co, New York 1985, ISBN 0-393-01921-7).
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.