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[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
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.