Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Several references to the quote "There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things" can be found, such as Martin Fowler's blog and others.

I'm unable to find the source of this quote, has he ever said it?

share|improve this question
Me, I'm interested in who came up with the variant: "There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors." –  Doug Kavendek Mar 8 '14 at 5:15
Have you reached out to Netscape-ians? Phil was Principal Curmudgeon there. lacquer.fi/pauli/blog/2011/05/… –  LIttle Ancient Forest Kami Nov 23 '14 at 18:17

1 Answer 1

Tim Bray says on Twitter:

Phil [Karlton] said it, I reported it, someone else added on the “off-by-one”.

Leon Bambrick replies that he added off-by-one.

share|improve this answer
I'd like a little bit more than just one person saying he "reported it". Where did he report it? I found only tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2005/12/23/UPI which is dated 2005 but a google search for "cache invalidation and naming things" returns random results as far back as February 2001. –  Vitor De Mario Jan 21 at 21:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.