A response to ^P^.

While it's easy to bitch about bad programming, I think it's important to keep in mind the underlying reason why there is so much bad code being produced by incompetent or lazy programmers.

The bottom line is that, for any organization of any size, bad code is vastly better than no code at all. This is something that Microsoft realized a long time ago--something that partially works today is preferable to something perfect tomorrow.

The productivity gains1 engendered by even bad code are so valuable that companies continue to happily shell out the (generally large amounts of) money required for the care and feeding of a software development staff. Who cares if the program requires a single $90,000 per year programmer to maintain if it also lets the finance people get by without 8 $20,000 per year permanent temporaries.

While serious programmers2 generally have little respect for the people who make a living this way, it's important to remember that most of the time it is good enough. And that, in the end, is all that matters.

1- According to the United States Government productivity gains are accelerating. This is attributed by many professional economists to the effect of the massive computerization undertaken by corporate America over the past 30 years, while others say that the gains are just a blip and the long term trends remain unchanged.
2- Who still hack assembler on ancient pdp-11's using ed(1)

Disclaimer- I make a living hacking Unix, I'm just sick of listening to the real people with real lives, real kids, and real problems trying to making a living writing silly VB scripts getting bashed. For most people this stuff is just a job and there is nothing wrong with treating it as such.