OFFTOPIC: opensource (Was: Re: chdir questions)

Thomas Wouters thomas at
Sun Feb 6 16:41:02 EST 2000

On Sun, Feb 06, 2000 at 09:50:38PM +0100, Gerrit Holl wrote:
> > ...for os.chdir in the Python libraries. It's defined *somewhere*, and 
> > I'm sure that someone will show me where.  One of the greatest things 
> > about open source is that you're never really stuck.  For example, if 
> > you can't figure out how to use glob, you can always look at 
> > to see what it does.

> One of the greatest things about open source is that *programmers*
> and *geeks* are never stuck.

> I can't look at the Mozilla, KDE, X or kernel source code to
> see what it does. Others can. I can't.

C isn't all that hard. It's hard to write properly, and very hard*) to
debug, but reading it is fairly easy. The main problem with C is that the
average function in C does much, much less than the average python function,
and is a great deal longer. Reading large C projects can be confusing and
headache-inducing. Debugging a large C project is like a oversized crime
novel of which the last page is missing :P

But there are two buts: the original poster (Tom Bryan ?) was talking about
Python code, and Python code is very easy to read. I'd hazard to guess that
people writing python code and getting stuck, are qualified enough
programmers to read python code. And secondly, the source code of python
itself seems very readable. Certainly the standard extension modules tend
towards that -- they all have a similar structure, a helpful struct
describing the intrinsics, and usually another struct or other data
structure of public methods.

I'm sure there are more readable pieces of work out there, on the great
internet, and better documented ones, and more intuitive ones. But python
gets close enough for most people ;)

Painful-ly y'rs,

hard*) the special kind of hard, not hard as in 'difficult', but hard as in
hitting yourself on the forehead, with a large spiked morningstar, going
'D'oh!' for missing the obvious for four long, slow, embarrasing days.

Thomas Wouters <thomas at>

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