Theresa O’Connor

from “Optimization — Your Worst Enemy

One day we were discussing an algorithm, and it required doing some storage allocation. I was assured that this was unacceptable because storage allocation was very expensive. I said something like “Well, of course, if you use the brain-dead Unix allocator, you're bound to have performance problems. A decent storage allocator makes this a non-issue”. One of the people at the meeting immediately challenged me: “I'm sick of hearing you put down Unix. What do you know about storage allocators, anyway?”. I said “hold that thought, I'll be right back”. I went to my office, where I had a copy of the IDL book, brought it back, and held it open to the chapter labeled “Storage allocation”. “See this?” “Yes”. “What is the title of this chapter?” “Storage allocation”. I closed the book and pointed to the cover. “Recognize this name?” “Yes, of course, that's you”. “Fine. I wrote that chapter. It is on how to write a high-performance, minimum-fragmentation storage allocator. So you asked what I know about storage allocation. Well, I wrote the book on it.”

I was never again challenged when I put down Unix.

The UNIX-HATERS Handbook