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Re: Principles of obfuscation?

by djantzen (Priest)
on Apr 04, 2004 at 02:06 UTC ( #342391=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Principles of obfuscation?

My Philosophy of Obfu: I have better things to do.

Not to be wet blanket on this discussion, but I've never understood why obfuscated code is interesting. Generally speaking, it relies on little understood quirks of a language, or worse, bugs, that someone with the appropriate pathology has devoted their time to committing to memory. My goal as a programmer is to write *good* code -- by which I mean correct, robust, extensible, and maintainable -- and I've never seen anything in any obfu anywhere that helped me to write good code.

In short, like my chemistry major roommate opined about my philosophy studies in college, it's mental masturbation. FWIW, I don't get Geek Code either.


"The dead do not recognize context" -- Kai, Lexx

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Re: Re: Principles of obfuscation?
by flyingmoose (Priest) on Apr 05, 2004 at 02:19 UTC
    I've seen some really slick stuff done in obfuscation, and for that, I have to give the artists credit.

    I have no interest in decoding it. I thoguht I did, but it runs counter to my upbringing. In fact, I look at obfuscation without documentation as to how it works and often thing "Well what is the point?", as what is presented is often denied knowledge. There may be a really clever trick inside, but most won't find it, and in essense that's just hiding the cool tricks. (If the tricks are cool ... I don't consider the evil corners of Perl near-bugs cool in the least .. but rather, signs the language or interpreter needs improvement to be more clear)

    Anyhow, some tricks involved in obfuscation bring programming back to it's earlier roots, when things weren't always written for you and trivial, and you have to invent hacks or neat ways of solving problems. I think a lot of teamster_jr's maze solving stuff, for instance, is pretty darn cool.

    But I do agree, while these things are cool in obfuscated state, the ability to obfuscate isn't the interesting one, it's the ability to get a lot done in a short amount of code and the algorithms they contain.

    That being said, I'd rather read and write clean interesting code myself, as to me elegance can only be found in clean code and the Zen-like simplicity of a well tailored algorithmic solution. Of course, even that is blowing smoke, I seldom achieve that either -- I just don't like to add fuel to the bigotry that is "Perl is line noise!" any more than I have to.

    It's sort of like those bad movies where there are good wizards and bad wizards, and the good wizards refuse to cast the "Black" spells. I am sort of refusing to cast those spells, because the power would corrupt me and I might enjoy it.

    Or take Star Wars, if you will. Yoda isn't going to cast lightening from his fingertips, that's not what Yoda does. But I'm still blowing smoke, I am no Jedi Master, sitting in a swamp down in Dagobah, where it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soda.

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