[very common; origin unknown;
poss. from `crusty' or `cruddy'] 1. Poorly built, possibly
over-complex. The canonical example is "This is standard old
crufty DEC software". In fact, one fanciful theory of the
origin of `crufty' holds that was originally a mutation of
`crusty' applied to DEC software so old that the `s' characters
were tall and skinny, looking more like `f' characters.
2. Unpleasant, especially to the touch, often with encrusted junk.
Like spilled coffee smeared with peanut butter and catsup.
3. Generally unpleasant. 4. (sometimes spelled `cruftie') n.
A small crufty object (see frob); often one that doesn't fit
well into the scheme of things. "A LISP property list is a good
place to store crufties (or, collectively, random cruft)."
This term is one of the oldest in the jargon and no one is sure of
its etymology, but it is suggestive that there is a Cruft Hall at
Harvard University which is part of the old physics building; it's
said to have been the physics department's radar lab during WWII.
To this day (early 1993) the windows appear to be full of random
techno-junk. MIT or Lincoln Labs people may well have coined the
term as a knock on the competition.