[DB-SIG] Current status of Gadfly

paul@boddie.net paul@boddie.net
12 Oct 2001 11:40:36 -0000

"Moore, Paul" <Paul.Moore@atosorigin.com> wrote:
>You can read that fact two ways. On the one hand, no-one really cares enough
>to put in a lot of effort polishing and perfecting the proposals that get
>made. This is a bad thing, sure. But on the other hand, it also means that
>people are pragmatic - they don't care about *perfecting* the proposal, they
>just want something practical, that works.

That's why I become even more cynical than I usually am when I see lots of 
proposals for things on comp.lang.python. It could be the case with some that 
the author is saying, "Here's a really neat idea! Now I just want someone else 
to give me the working version." Meanwhile, there are a lot of Python projects 
out there which actually exist in working form but get far less publicity 
than "Frivolous Idea #9257 - A Minor Python Syntax Improvement".

>I suspect that if Suchandra simply implemented his proposal, and publicised
>it, and worked at grabbing as many modules as he could and putting them into
>his catalog, then it would work, and take off. But that requires one person's
>commitment and time (and web space).

And frequently a financial commitment in addition to any that would 
automatically come from spending one's time and commitment on something. I 
suppose this is why people look to the (funded) custodians of Python for more 
progress in this area.

>The thing that sometimes saddens me about the Python community is how so
>many good ideas stagnate because there is too much design and not enough
>implementation. Of course, I don't implement anything, so my comments can't
>be seen as anything other than heckling from the peanut gallery :-)

But it's fair comment! The standard "you do it if you're so bothered about it" 
response is fine for those who can deal with the existing situation and have no 
incentive to do anything about it, but it doesn't necessarily make those who 
can't deal with the situation (and who may not be up to implementing such a 
solution either) any more comfortable.

>BTW, if you wish, you may interpret this message as enthusiastic support for
>Suchandra's prototype. It is. I haven't used it - I don't read the catalog
>SIG - but I am strongly in favour of anything in this area.

I saw an implementation based on Zope, but it didn't really show me very much. 
Prototypes don't necessarily convince people that the "final product" is going 
to be useful, since prototypes aren't always intended to be useful, and people 
want to see a certain amount of momentum in certain areas before becoming 
convinced. It's a bit like a "school reunion" site I've been looking at 
recently; ignoring the dodgier parts of the implementation, if there weren't 
any people I know registered on there then I wouldn't be impressed, but since 
there are people I know on there, it suddenly seems a lot more useful and 
interesting - I subsequently become convinced that it's a "good thing".

>Perl's CPAN isn't perfect - heck, in many ways it's dreadful - but people
>still point to it as a shining example of how to do things. Parnassus isn't
>ideal, but still loads of people use it. And as a basis for measuring
>alternatives, it's often quoted (earlier in this thread, we had the
>comment "Vault of Parnassus is a Good Thing, but we need something with...")

Parnassus has become increasingly useful and it must surely be *the* site to go 
to if one is looking for an implementation of something in Python. I get the 
impression, however, that it's regarded by some in a similar way to how the 
hardcore GNU people regard Linux - nice as a stopgap implemention of their own 
agenda until the "real thing" comes out. In both cases, the "real thing" hasn't 
come out yet, and doesn't look as if it will any time soon in either case.

>Lack of comments doesn't always mean lack of interest - number of users is the
>only real measure, and proposals don't have users...
>Sorry - this touched a nerve.

Yes, I expect to get flamed for this too, but I don't care. I don't think 
anyone should take what either you or I have written as personal criticism, or 
indeed criticism of any particular group.


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