[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
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.) 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.
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