The title says it all. Where/When was "a good developer is a lazy developer" (or its equivalent) first said, in which context and for what purpose?
I'm lazy. But it's the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn't like walking or carrying things.
When I have a tough job at the plant and can't find an easy way to do it, I have a lazy man on it. He'll find an easy way to do it in 10 days. Then we adopt that method.
In software Mr. Bill Gates is often cited to have said
I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.
Except, that quote can not be found in any of his books, but shows up in an 1920 article in ‘Popular Science Monthly’ where Frank B. Gilbreth mentions it as his family's motto.
Bottom line, it's a very common quote used in many areas, more often around engineering and organizational task. I wouldn't be surprised to find quotes going back more then 200 years.
I don’t know whether this is the first appearance, but the idea was popularised in programming circles (at least, those I frequented at the time) by Larry Wall, Perl’s creator. The first edition of Programming perl (1991) says
We will encourage you to develop the three great virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris.
and its glossary defines laziness as
The quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure. It makes you write labor-saving programs that other people will find useful, and document what you wrote so you don’t have to answer so many questions about it. Hence, the first great virtue of a programmer. Also hence, this book.
Later on, Larry Wall would explain the history thus:
The beginnings of Perl were directly inspired by running into a problem I couldn't solve with the tools I had. Or rather, that I couldn't easily solve. As the Apostle Paul so succinctly put it, “All things are possible, but not all things are expedient.” I could have solved my problem with awk and shell eventually, but I possess a fortuitous surplus of the three chief virtues of a programmer: Laziness, Impatience and Hubris. I was too lazy to do it in awk because it would have been hard to get awk to jump through the hoops I was wanting it to jump through. I was too impatient to wait for awk to finish because it was so slow. And finally, I had the hubris to think I could do better.
I imagine there are earlier references on Usenet but I haven’t found them.
Here are some older statements of the general concept, not specific to software development:
Quote Investigator attributes to Agatha Christie in 1977:
I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention-- invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness.
I have been unable to find it online, but I believe something similar was spoken by Ensign Pulver in the play Mister Roberts from 1948, which I read in high school. (This line didn't appear to make it into the 1955 film script which is available online.)
Also, German general Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord is quoted as dividing his officers into four "quadrants" like this:
I distinguish four types. There are clever, hardworking, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and hardworking; their place is the General Staff. The next ones are stupid and lazy; they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the mental clarity and strength of nerve necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is both stupid and hardworking; he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always only cause damage.