computing dictionary

/tan'stah-fl/ (From Robert Heinlein's classic "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress") "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch".

Often invoked when someone is balking at the prospect of using an unpleasantly heavyweight technique, or at the poor quality of some piece of free software, or at the signal-to-noise ratio of unmoderated Usenet newsgroups. "What? Don't tell me I have to implement a database back end to get my address book program to work!" "Well, TANSTAAFL you know." This phrase owes some of its popularity to the high concentration of science-fiction fans and political libertarians in hackerdom.

(01 Feb 1995)

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