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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
larval stage
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Describes a period of monomaniacal concentration on coding
apparently passed through by all fledgling hackers. Common
symptoms include the perpetration of more than one 36-hour
hacking run in a given week; neglect of all other activities
including usual basics like food, sleep, and personal hygiene;
and a chronic case of advanced bleary-eye. Can last from 6
months to 2 years, the apparent median being around 18 months.
A few so afflicted never resume a more "normal" life, but the
ordeal seems to be necessary to produce really wizardly (as
opposed to merely competent) programmers. See also
wannabee. A less protracted and intense version of larval
stage (typically lasting about a month) may recur when one is
learning a new OS or programming language.