tanstaafl

Computing Dictionary

TANSTAAFL definition


/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.
[Jargon File]
(1995-02-28)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
TANSTAAFL
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch!
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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