Title text: 'Are you stealing those LCDs?' 'Yeah, but I'm doing it while my code compiles.'
Programming is essentially writing instructions for a computer to follow, in a specific programming language, which is designed to be human readable to make the programmers' job easier. However, for the computers to follow these instructions, they need to be translated into machine code — a "language" that computers "speak". Such conversion from human-readable source code into computer-executable files is performed by (compilers), and takes certain time — depending on the size of the project and the power of the computer doing the compilation, it may measure in hours. As of 2015 the Linux Kernel contains over 19 million lines of code, a massive job for any compiler.
In general, programming languages are implemented in two ways: interpreters and compilers. Interpreters convert the code at the time when it is currently running (PHP for one example), but compilers convert the source code all at once into executable files. After compiling, the resulting code will run much faster than interpreted code, since it has already been translated into the proper binary language. However, compiling code can take a long time, especially if the compiler is set up to correct syntax errors. When Cueball is caught wasting time at work, he argues that such pastime is not any worse than any other at this moment, as no modifications can be made to the code that he should otherwise be working on until it finishes compiling, anyway.
The title text takes this a step further. Cueball claims that all activities are equally benign while the code is compiling — and that includes committing illegal acts, such as stealing LCD monitors.
- The #1 Programmer Excuse for Legitimately Slacking Off: "My code's compiling."
- [Two programmers are sword-fighting on office chairs in a hallway. An unseen manager calls them back to work through an open office door.]
- Manager: Hey! Get back to work!
- Cueball: Compiling!
- Manager: Oh. Carry on.