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See also: bike-shedding


Alternative forms[edit]


bikeshed +‎ -ing. The term was coined as a metaphor to illuminate Parkinson's Law of Triviality. Parkinson observed that a committee whose job is to approve plans for a nuclear power plant may spend the majority of its time on relatively unimportant but easy-to-grasp issues, such as what materials to use for the staff bikeshed, while neglecting the design of the power plant itself, which is far more important but also far more difficult to criticize constructively. It was popularized in the Berkeley Software Distribution community by Poul-Henning Kamp[1] and has spread from there to the software industry at large.


  • (file)


bikeshedding (uncountable)

  1. Futile expenditure of time and energy in discussion of marginal technical issues.
    • 2000 December 14, Bill Fumerola, “Re: Ratelimint Enhancement patch (Please Review One Last Time!)”, in[1] (Usenet), retrieved 2020-06-20, message-ID <9197ru$212o$>:
      Exactly. Bikeshedding the millions of possible reasons the queue/ratelimit was triggered is silly.
    • 2001 January 15, Jordan Hubbard, “Re: cvs commit: src/sys/i386/conf GENERIC”, in mailing.freebsd.cvs[2] (Usenet), retrieved 2020-06-20, message-ID <93t363$273m$>:
      Modulo giving developers and the user community a few weeks to comment on the matter and make any last convincing cases for keeping it, I agree. That's not to say that I want to see two weeks worth of i386 bike-shedding and highly emotional arguments for keeping it purely on general principle, I'm saying that we need to let a couple of weeks go by so that along with the emotional bike sheds, anyone with a *technical* argument for retaining support has a chance to be heard.
    • 2001 August 8, Wilko Bulte, “Re: RFC: Removing support for TurboChannel machines from -current”, in mailing.freebsd.alpha[3] (Usenet), retrieved 2020-06-20, message-ID <9kpcd8$2oha$>:
      Hmm. Sounds like my RFC is taken to be a RFB (Request For Bikeshedding).
    • 2001 October 25, Peter Wemm, “64 bit times revisited..”, in lucky.freebsd.arch[4] (Usenet), retrieved 2020-06-20, message-ID <>:
      So.. What do people think? Let the bikeshedding begin...
  2. Procrastination.



  1. present participle and gerund of bikeshed

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The bikeshed email, Poul-Henning Kamp, web page (undated)