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Our Daily Bleg: Where Did “Garbage” and “Bugs” Come From?

Here’s the latest bleg request from Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations. You can find his past blegs here and you can send blegs of your own here.

The past few weeks I have been blegging for information about famous computer quotations to help with future editions of the recently published Yale Book of Quotations. Can anyone supply evidence or clues or conjectures about the origin of any of the following?

  • “Do not fold, mutilate, or spindle.” The earliest reference I have now is from The New York Times in 1948.
  • “Garbage in, garbage out.” The earliest reference I have now is from a 1959 issue of Business Quarterly.
  • “Information wants to be free.” The earliest citation I have found attributes this quotation to Stewart Brand, quoted in a 1984 Washington Post article.
  • “That’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” The earliest evidence I have found is a reference in the spring 1981 issue of CoEvolution Quarterly.
  • “To err is human. To really foul up — it takes a computer.” I have found this dating back to 1969 in The Newark Advocate.