Crock N. [from The American Scatologism `crock Of Shit'] 1.

HomeFortune CookiesJargon File

crock n.

[from the American scatologism `crock of
shit'] 1. An awkward feature or programming technique that ought to
be made cleaner. For example, using small integers to represent
error codes without the program interpreting them to the user (as
in, for example, Unix make(1), which returns code 139 for a
process that dies due to segfault). 2. A technique that works
acceptably, but which is quite prone to failure if disturbed in the
least. For example, a too-clever programmer might write an
assembler which mapped instruction mnemonics to numeric opcodes
algorithmically, a trick which depends far too intimately on the
particular bit patterns of the opcodes. (For another example of
programming with a dependence on actual opcode values, see
The Story of Mel in Appendix A.) Many crocks have a tightly
woven, almost completely unmodifiable structure. See kluge,
brittle. The adjectives `crockish' and `crocky', and the
nouns `crockishness' and `crockitude', are also used.