Write programs that produce crazy, obscure, ridiculous, or just plain nutty runtime errors. Obfuscation and golfitude (shortness) not required.

  • solutions that look like they should work fine are better.
  • solutions that look like they should break one way but break another are better.
  • solutions that are nondeterministic are better as long as they are reproducible sometimes.
  • solutions with long distance between error cause and manifestation are better.
  • bonus points for producing errors that should be impossible.
  • bonus points for errors that crash the runtime (like making python segment fault) or operating system.

The unit of score shall be upvotes.

Addendum 1

Compiler misbehaviors are fine too.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Making Python segfault is easy: import sys; sys.setrecursionlimit(~-2**31); x=lambda x:x(x); x(x); \$\endgroup\$ – marinus Aug 4 '12 at 1:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Peter: whoops. I repurposed the question half way through writing it :S \$\endgroup\$ – Wug Aug 5 '12 at 23:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...what about malbolge or INTERCAL? i'm pretty sure they'd have some pretty insane errors, probably can do it with a single char as well. \$\endgroup\$ – acolyte Aug 6 '12 at 21:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is definitely the best link to go for the solution: destroyallsoftware.com/talks/wat :-) \$\endgroup\$ – seri Aug 13 '12 at 17:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of stackoverflow.com/q/1146014/736054. \$\endgroup\$ – Konrad Borowski Jan 6 '14 at 12:29

32 Answers 32

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This simple TeX program:


gives the following error in the log file:

! TeX capacity exceeded, sorry [main memory size=5000000].
l.1 \def~{x~}~

If you really absolutely need more capacity,
you can ask a wizard to enlarge me.

You better know which wizard it the right wizard :-)

TeX: second error message

This is a small LaTeX table with 260 columns, for which we want a cell that spans all the columns.

\multicolumn{260}{c}{Table Title}

The error message is also hilarious:

! This can't happen (256 spans).
<template> \endtemplate 

l.5     \end{tabular}

I'm broken. Please show this to someone who can fix can fix

How many programs are humble enough to admit they are broken?


Not to compete but Burlesque is pretty easy to crash :D.

blsq ) rs
blsq: Burlesque/Eval.hs:(2900,3)-(2904,33): Non-exhaustive patterns in case

and there are literally dozens of these crashes still hanging around. It's just that nobody ever reports them so they won't be fixed anytime soon.

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