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2 definitions found
 for kluge
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  kluge
   /klooj/
  
      [from the German ?klug?, clever; poss. related to Polish & Russian ?klucz?
      (a key, a hint, a main point)]
  
      1. n. A Rube Goldberg (or Heath Robinson) device, whether in hardware or
      software.
  
      2. n. A clever programming trick intended to solve a particular nasty case
      in an expedient, if not clear, manner. Often used to repair bugs. Often
      involves ad-hockery and verges on being a crock.
  
      3. n. Something that works for the wrong reason.
  
      4. vt. To insert a kluge into a program. ?I've kluged this routine to get
      around that weird bug, but there's probably a better way.?
  
      5. [WPI] n. A feature that is implemented in a rude manner.
  
      Nowadays this term is often encountered in the variant spelling ?kludge?.
      Reports from old farts are consistent that ?kluge? was the original
      spelling, reported around computers as far back as the mid-1950s and, at
      that time, used exclusively of hardware kluges. In 1947, the New York
      Folklore Quarterly reported a classic shaggy-dog story ?Murgatroyd the
      Kluge Maker? then current in the Armed Forces, in which a ?kluge? was a
      complex and puzzling artifact with a trivial function. Other sources report
      that ?kluge? was common Navy slang in the WWII era for any piece of
      electronics that worked well on shore but consistently failed at sea.
  
      However, there is reason to believe this slang use may be a decade older.
      Several respondents have connected it to the brand name of a device called
      a ?Kluge paper feeder?, an adjunct to mechanical printing presses. Legend
      has it that the Kluge feeder was designed before small, cheap electric
      motors and control electronics; it relied on a fiendishly complex
      assortment of cams, belts, and linkages to both power and synchronize all
      its operations from one motive driveshaft. It was accordingly
      temperamental, subject to frequent breakdowns, and devilishly difficult to
      repair ? but oh, so clever! People who tell this story also aver that
      ?Kluge? was the name of a design engineer.
  
      There is in fact a Brandtjen & Kluge Inc., an old family business that
      manufactures printing equipment ? interestingly, their name is pronounced /
      kloo'gee/! Henry Brandtjen, president of the firm, told me (ESR, 1994) that
      his company was co-founded by his father and an engineer named Kluge /
      kloo'gee/, who built and co-designed the original Kluge automatic feeder in
      1919. Mr. Brandtjen claims, however, that this was a simple device (with
      only four cams); he says he has no idea how the myth of its complexity took
      hold. Other correspondents differ with Mr. Brandtjen's history of the
      device and his allegation that it was a simple rather than complex one, but
      agree that the Kluge automatic feeder was the most likely source of the
      folklore.
  
      TMRC and the MIT hacker culture of the early '60s seems to have developed
      in a milieu that remembered and still used some WWII military slang (see
      also foobar). It seems likely that ?kluge? came to MIT via alumni of the
      many military electronics projects that had been located in Cambridge (many
      in MIT's venerable Building 20, in which TMRC is also located) during the
      war.
  
      The variant ?kludge? was apparently popularized by the Datamation article
      mentioned under kludge; it was titled How to Design a Kludge (February
      1962, pp. 30, 31). This spelling was probably imported from Great Britain,
      where kludge has an independent history (though this fact was largely
      unknown to hackers on either side of the Atlantic before a mid-1993 debate
      in the Usenet group alt.folklore.computers over the First and Second
      Edition versions of this entry; everybody used to think kludge was just a
      mutation of kluge). It now appears that the British, having forgotten the
      etymology of their own ?kludge? when ?kluge? crossed the Atlantic, repaid
      the U.S. by lobbing the ?kludge? orthography in the other direction and
      confusing their American cousins' spelling!
  
      The result of this history is a tangle. Many younger U.S. hackers pronounce
      the word as /klooj/ but spell it, incorrectly for its meaning and
      pronunciation, as ?kludge?. (Phonetically, consider huge, refuge,
      centrifuge, and deluge as opposed to sludge, judge, budge, and fudge.
      Whatever its failings in other areas, English spelling is perfectly
      consistent about this distinction.) British hackers mostly learned /kluhj/
      orally, use it in a restricted negative sense and are at least consistent.
      European hackers have mostly learned the word from written American sources
      and tend to pronounce it /kluhj/ but use the wider American meaning!
  
      Some observers consider this mess appropriate in view of the word's
      meaning.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  kluge
  
      /klooj/, /kluhj/ (From German "klug" /kloog/ - clever
     and Scottish "{kludge") 1. A Rube Goldberg (or Heath
     Robinson) device, whether in hardware or software.
  
     The spelling "kluge" (as opposed to "kludge") was used in
     connection with computers as far back as the mid-1950s and, at
     that time, was used exclusively of *hardware* kluges.
  
     2.  A clever programming trick intended to solve
     a particular nasty case in an expedient, if not clear, manner.
     Often used to repair bugs.  Often involves ad-hockery and
     verges on being a crock.  In fact, the TMRC Dictionary
     defined "kludge" as "a crock that works".
  
     3. Something that works for the wrong reason.
  
     4. ({WPI) A feature that is implemented in a rude manner.
  
     In 1947, the "New York Folklore Quarterly" reported a classic
     shaggy-dog story "Murgatroyd the Kluge Maker" then current in
     the Armed Forces, in which a "kluge" was a complex and
     puzzling artifact with a trivial function.  Other sources
     report that "kluge" was common Navy slang in the WWII era for
     any piece of electronics that worked well on shore but
     consistently failed at sea.
  
     However, there is reason to believe this slang use may be a
     decade older.  Several respondents have connected it to the
     brand name of a device called a "Kluge paper feeder" dating
     back at least to 1935, an adjunct to mechanical printing
     presses.  The Kluge feeder was designed before small, cheap
     electric motors and control electronics; it relied on a
     fiendishly complex assortment of cams, belts, and linkages to
     both power and synchronise all its operations from one motive
     driveshaft.  It was accordingly tempermental, subject to
     frequent breakdowns, and devilishly difficult to repair - but
     oh, so clever!  One traditional folk etymology of "klugen"
     makes it the name of a design engineer; in fact, "Kluge" is a
     surname in German, and the designer of the Kluge feeder may
     well have been the man behind this myth.
  
     TMRC and the MIT hacker culture of the early 1960s seems to
     have developed in a milieu that remembered and still used some
     WWII military slang (see also foobar).  It seems likely that
     "kluge" came to MIT via alumni of the many military
     electronics projects run in Cambridge during the war (many in
     MIT's venerable Building 20, which housed TMRC until the
     building was demolished in 1999).
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (2002-10-02)
  

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