Legal System as a Perl OS?

OK, you really do have to be a geek to understand this, but that doesn’t make it any less funny:

Our legal code is almost entirely like an entire operating system written in undocumented Perl.

  • There are no hints as to what any part of it is supposed to do and it is written in a language that to most people looks like line noise.
  • Every significant patch is applied by adding an additional Perl module that overrides an existing method in an existing module, replacing all of the code in that method with a complete new copy of the method that is almost identical to the old one but adds or removes a backslash in a single regular expression.
  • The entire core logic was written in a crunch session by a bunch of geeks locked in a room together and forced to design it by committee.
  • The application was a rewrite of another application that never really worked well in the first place.
  • Every function name is chosen explicitly to provoke an emotional response in the developer, e.g. thisFunctionSucks() or callMeNow().

It’s funny because it’s true.

Author: Keith

A geek, programmer, amateur photographer, anime fan and crazy rabbit person.