[Distutils] Access to Python config info

John Skaller skaller@maxtal.com.au
Wed, 23 Dec 1998 00:10:13 +1000

At 14:22 21/12/98 -0500, Fred L. Drake wrote:
>John Skaller writes:
> >         HOW do you know this works? HOW do you know
> > that the method is not, in fact, present, but doesn't work?
> > WHERE is the standards document that specifies the
> > precise semantics of the 'os' interface??
>  Sounds like I'd better get the documentation for "os" fixed before I 
>release again; it is on my list.

        I don't think that is really my point.
I'm interested in a STANDARD, not just good documentation.

        Saying what the library does is a useful hint.
Like reading the code. It isn't the same as a specification;
which _requires_ certain behaviour. The python _language_
document is written more like a specification.
If the language doesn't do what the doco says, its a bug
in the implementation (or a fault in the doco).

        Not an excuse from Guido that it doesn't work
on that platform 'because'. I don't want an explanation
why something doesn't work, I want an authoritative
document that I can cite as evidence of a bug.
In other words, relieve myself of the responsibility of
fixing it or working around it.

        I've been shown that my interpretation of
what Python does is wrong, by citation of the
language specification. I want to be shown wrong
about the library (when I am), the same way.

[On testing things to see if they work]
> >         This technique doesn't seem very reliable. :-(
>  How so?  

        Because it requires testing every single
function in the whole system before using 
anything. Because there is no definitive specification
of what might work or not. Do you see?

        And just _how_ do I test the functions?
Using other functions that are themnselves suspect???

>  But this can be written on top of feature tests.  Why not?  

        Sigh. Because there is no reliable way to test features.

        FOR EXAMPLE: consider the module 'commands'.
How do I know if it works??

        I do not see how to test it .. WITHOUT assuming
it works.

        In fact, you can see by examining the code it
will NOT work on NT. So interscript has it's own module
called 'commands' that works on both posix and NT.

        I can't 'test' if it works, because it is 
one of the modules I need to test if tools such as
patch and diff work. I have to rely on it working.
John Skaller    email: skaller@maxtal.com.au
		phone: 61-2-96600850
		snail: 10/1 Toxteth Rd, Glebe NSW 2037, Australia