Would you agree with this statement?


Sep 7, 2004
Programming Experience
"Part of being a good programmer is being a good thief. Stealing this code will save you a lot of programming time."

This author is referring to a piece of code contained on the CD that came with the book I'm reading. Now, however, I'm questioning the integrity of the content of the book and the author's honesty. This kind of behavior is nothing more than plagiarism and should be punishable. Why do we have copyright laws when authors of major publications are advocating such behavior? I cut my teath on mainframes in the early 80's when programmers were admired and respected; unlike today where they are viewed as weird technophiles (there's a bit of trivia for ya - who first coined that term and where?) I have not once copied anyone's code and called it my own. I have studied other people's techniques and when I found them to be useful to my own efforts I've incorporated them into my own coding. This blatant disregard for the tireless efforts of a collegue should not and cannot be tolerated. I will not purchase another text from this author. The name of author is purposely being withheld until I get a response from a personal letter I sent to this person.

Interesting question!
Hmm it's a bit of a yes and no...
I see what the auther means, by looking at other peoples code and using it within your program does save you time and can teach you a lot. I know I learn a lot for examining other people's code snipets etc. I personally wouldn't consider reusing someone else's code snipit that they wrote in a book or on a web site as stealing, especially if I alter it. That is after all why people post/write code, for the benifit of other's. But to steal someone's code say off of their hard drive without them knowing, I would consider totaly wrong.
I would agree that studying other's code and incorporating their methodologies in your own efforst is acceptable and a viable learning tool; I study other's code all the time and have increased by knowledge and understanding from it. Where I have a problem is with the statements, "being a good programmer..." is "being a good thief." and "stealing..saves you time." This I can't accept.

I think it was probably a poor choice of words.
shoot stuff i get off of forums and stuff was posted on the forum for everyone's use, and even then if i use a sub or a function that i got off of a forum i still have comments surrounding it that it's not my code and the website i got it from

anything i post here is meant for everyone's use (with or without comments and junk lol) but if someone's stealing code and using it in applications (or in this case a published book) that's the line that should never be crossed
I dont consider it stealing code if someone published it on the internet for others to view or published their code in a book. I mean how rarely do you see people publish code and then write underneath it "Do not use this code, its mine!". Hahahaha....

I see your point though, I have lots of code that i have come across over the internet and tweeked them and wrote my own code and store it in aprogram like code keep, which some code I share publically and some I keep confidential.

Its all good. Unless my code is protecting us from the next Nazi invasion, I dont mind sharing. I think most programmers agree. Hey we were all Noobs once.
Dim i as integer
i = 6
'This code is protected by VBHuguenot.  
'Any unauthorized use of the above code will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law 
'punishable by death and taxes!!
I'd agree with that sentiment. While using/modifying code found publically, I wouldn't consider it stealing but at the same time I wouldn't (directly - a rewrite from scratch+memory is different) use code that I used/wrote while working for a different company for example. Obviously though the code of my jobs I have code from several place but this was simply due to working from home and I make quite sure that each collection of code is separate and encrypted along with having permission from said companies to have the code on my hard drive in the first place.

Essentially, if it's posted publically I consider it free game but keep a reference to the author. If private then it's kept private and any public post of it would be theft.
"Part of being a good programmer is being a good thief. Stealing this code will save you a lot of programming time."

Nothing is original. Even when I write "Dim s as String" i'm using the words Dim, and String that MS invented

Being a good programmer these days is about having the mental agility to assemble the provisions of others in the best way to get your job done. Calling it theft is a bit extreme, because thievery is unfairly depriving someone of something they are rightfully entitled to. You only cross into this if you violate licence boundaries that were put around making snippets of code available to you in the first place

"stealing..saves you time." This I can't accept.

Chasing this back to the ridiculous Nth, though.. You cant accept that as stealing, yet you still breathe air, consume the planet's resources and leave behind some waste dont you? Who gave you the right to do that? Who gave humans the right to do most of what they do? There's a hypocrisy inherent in a species that takes so much from the resources of the surroundings, but then cries so loudly when someone takes what is "theirs". If aliens showed up tomorrow and said "actually, we built this planet as a nice garden but then had to nip next door to a parallel universe for a few hundred thousand years and now we're back to find you sods have wrecked it, we're gonna exterminate you all.." would we actually have an argument?

Just something to think about.. Dont get too precious over accusations such as this. It doesnt take long to scratch the surface of anyone's life and find something they hypocritically stole

take the book to Kinkos, copy it then return it.

It won't save you time but sure as hell save you money.

What good would it be if you can't use the info in the book you purchase but have to steal it?

Can you share the author's name? Not sure about you guys but I wouldn't want to purchase a book from this author.