[Python-Dev] Parrot -- should life imitate satire?

Tim Peters tim.one@home.com
Wed, 1 Aug 2001 00:26:30 -0400

[Paul Prescod]
> Also, the .NET CLR is standardized at ECMA so we could (at least in
> theory!) go to the meetings and try to influence version 2.

> Notice the addition "in theory".  In practice, this is BS.

[Paul Prescod]
> It depends on the rules and politics of each particular standards group.
> It is fundamentally a social activity. It also depends how much effort
> you are willing to put into promoting your cause.

And cash:  being an active member (== the only way to be an *effective*
member) of a stds committee is expensive and time-consuming.  In my 15-year
compiler-geek career, I worked for companies who put major money behind
language development, and wrote off several person-years per annum to doing
language committee work.  Somehow I don't picture your boss springing for
that -- which isn't a knock, since I can't picture the people up my chain of
command even letting me finish explaining the idea <wink>.

> ...
> Working within a standards body is a gamble.  It can pay off big or
> it can completely fail.

I don't know how ECMA works; indeed, I never heard of it before it agreed to
fast-track ECMAScript (nee JavaScript).  ANSI/ISO committees work by
consensus, and one intransigent member can paralyze the entire effort.  Lots
of power there!  The breadth and depth of compromises made to make progress
in the end also account for the "a camel is a horse designed by a committee"

Note:  I was an active member of ANSI X3J17 for a couple of years.  This was
tasked to come up with a high-level x-language model for expressing parallel
computation, plus bindings for a few languages.  In order to protect an
ancient implementation of Fortran, the IBM representative vetoed any idea
that required so much as a runtime *stack* -- or any other dynamic feature.
In the end, X3J17 did the honorable thing:  it voted to put itself out of
its misery <wink>.

had-enough-of-that-myself-ly y'rs  - tim