[PYTHON C++-SIG] Re: LLNL Python/C++ integration: current status

Geoffrey Furnish furnish at laura.llnl.gov
Thu Feb 13 22:36:04 CET 1997

Johann Hibschman writes:
 > On Thu, 13 Feb 1997, Geoffrey Furnish wrote:
 > > David Ascher writes:
 > >  > This is not at all a criticism, but I'm curious: does the latest g++
 > >  > qualify?  I think this will have at least some impact on the public
 > >  > reaction to your system.
 > > 
 > > 2.7.2 is certainly nowhere near adequate.  I don't think 2.8.0 is out
 > > yet, but early indications I have received make me fear it will also
 > > be inadequate, despite being a dramatic improvement over 2.7.2.
 > > 
 > > We are aware this is a short term liability.  Be we do believe it is a
 > > /short/ term liability, and in our group here at LLNL, we simply do
 > > not work with compilers that do not conform to a recent edition of the
 > > draft.  It will be a great day indeed, when g++ is ANSI C++
 > > compatible, and we look forward to that day, but we are not prepared
 > > to wait idly for that day.
 > This one *is* meant to be a criticism.  By requiring features that are not
 > in common distribution, you're cutting out a sizeable chunk of the user
 > base.  LLNL may have pots of money to buy the latest optimizing C++
 > compiler, but I am stuck either using the Sun CC compiler or g++.  I don't
 > think that either is in full compliance with the ANSI draft standard,
 > although I'm not sure about the latest version of Sun's offering.
 > I don't think that I am that atypical of academia, and I don't want to
 > wait a year or two for g++ to get up to par.  If this is a mainstream
 > effort to get C++ support for python, it should be usable by mainstream
 > compilers.  If this is really just a forum to perfect your idealized C++
 > implementation, then there's probably enough demand for a separate "lowly
 > C++" SIG for everyone else. 

Reactions like this are inevitable.  It is because I am sympathetic to
such considerations that I put the fair-warning clause in the
announcement.  That way you don't waste time some day pulling down the
patch set only to find you can't use it.  At least now you know,
without wasting any of your precious time.  And time /is/ extremely
precious in academia.

It was only a year ago that I was still in academia.  I was critically
dependent upon g++.  There is no conceivable way that I could've
gotten through my degree program without a compiler at the level of
g++.  It was a life saver for me, literally.  And your observation is
right:  at LLNL we can manage to buy compilers if we really want them.

There are many ways to address the situation from your end.  Not the
least of which is to actively participate in g++ development.  While I
was using g++ daily, I personally:

1) Tested every release I could, including rotd's from cygnus.
2) Sent the g++ developers email at the rate of  two to three messages
   per week, reporting bugs in as much detail as I could possibly
3) Worked a contract to develop g++ support in a particular area.
4) Got on the g++ alpha users group for a particular platform I cared
   a lot about.
5) Learned enough RISC asm to help debug back end code generation

If you care so much about g++, maybe you should do some of these
things too.

With respect to the hoity-toityness argument.  The charter for this
sig is very clear.  It is for discussion by anyone, of anything
relating to a C++ interface to Python.  You do not need a new sig for
discussing a lowball approach.  You are welcome, and hereby so
invited, to do it right here.

Geoffrey Furnish		email: furnish at llnl.gov
LLNL X/ICF			phone: 510-424-4227	fax: 510-423-0925

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