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DeCSS Haiku (wikipedia.org)
85 points by kick on June 19, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments

Also related is the idea of an Illegal Prime number[1], the binary representation of which is a compressed version of the DeCSS source code while also being sufficiently large to be published on the list of largest prime numbers at the time.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_prime

A lot of us may espouse the view that "code is poetry" and may even have the sticker to show for it on our laptops -- but how many of us have actually written a code poem in this fashion?

In their infinite wisdom our technological ancestors created high level languages to help us on our way and this article reminds me that code is language, it tells a story.

Code is meant to be human readable and it's meant to be the ultimate design document. Code is in its very nature self-documenting however we must attain a level of mastery before we can write code others can actually read.

I'd say the disparity between people who can write any old code and people who can efficiently write readable code is the greatest challenge to our industry and will likely always be.

Code is at the nexus of mathematics and poetry and sure we can choose convenient notations to make the output more elegant but without input from the author's hand it'll only ever be machine readable.

> how many of us have actually written a code poem in this fashion?

Does it have to be written in this fashion? The PGP community defeated US export restrictions in the past by literally printing books filled with source code. Books are protected free speech in the US.

Funny anecdote, from an article about the novel Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson:

> One of the noteworthy features of the novel CRYPTONOMICON is that it contains a new cryptosystem invented by Bruce Schneier, called Solitaire. [...] Since Solitaire is strong enough to be subject to U.S. laws governing export of crypto technology, this means that when the text of the novel is rendered in electronic form it becomes an export-controlled good.

They relaxed that restriction shortly afterward, so Neal got to have his cake (having his ebook classified as weapons-grade), and eat it too (sell it anyway).

DeCSS was printed on T-shirts.

The medium is the message.

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