[very common; origin unknown; poss. from ?crusty? or ?cruddy?]
1. Poorly built, possibly over-complex. The canonical example is ?This is
standard old crufty DEC software?. In fact, one fanciful theory of the
origin of crufty holds that was originally a mutation of ?crusty? applied
to DEC software so old that the ?s? characters were tall and skinny,
looking more like ?f? characters.
2. Unpleasant, especially to the touch, often with encrusted junk. Like
spilled coffee smeared with peanut butter and catsup.
3. Generally unpleasant.
4. (sometimes spelled cruftie) n. A small crufty object (see frob); often
one that doesn't fit well into the scheme of things. ?A LISP property list
is a good place to store crufties (or, collectively, random cruft).?
This term is one of the oldest in the jargon and no one is sure of its
etymology, but it is suggestive that there is a Cruft Hall at Harvard
University which is part of the old physics building; it's said to have
been the physics department's radar lab during WWII. To this day (early
1993) the windows appear to be full of random techno-junk. MIT or Lincoln
Labs people may well have coined the term as a knock on the competition.