C9X (was RE: The REALLY bad thing about Python lists ..)

Tim Peters tim_one at email.msn.com
Thu May 18 03:15:11 CEST 2000

[Tim, on integer division in C]
> The next iteration of C has threatened to "fix" this, by
> mandating Fortran's original mistake (truncation, as opposed
> to Python's floor).

[Glyph Lefkowitz]
> By "threatened" you don't mean "already mandated but it hasn't been
> implemented yet", do you?  Please say this is still open for
> discussion :-)

I said "threatened" because I haven't given this any attention since '97,
and that's what the draft std said at the time.  The official home of the
ISO working group is at:


According to that, after two rounds of public review (heh heh -- that's
where the committee members fire off form letters rejecting public comments
<0.7 wink>), C9X became the official ISO C std last December.  Don't know
its ANSI status.  As usual, ISO will not make the std available over the web
(until it's obsolete -- while it's active, they want money from selling
hardcopy), but the 300-page Rationale is available from that site -- it
indeed still says "truncate", and gives compatiblity with Fortran as its
only reason.

An official but maddeningly vague (all it says about the int division change
is "reliable integer division") list of major changes is at:


It's not all bad <wink>.  For example, the new C (finally!) provides ways to
get at IEEE-754 floating-point features, only 15 years after the latter
wholly conquered the world.  Python's 754 story is a mess today because C's
is; now that can be fixed.

> ..
> Windows User - "What do I need?"
> Me - "Well, first you'll need WinZip ... download it from www.winzip.com"
> (20 minutes later)
> Windows User - "OK installed.  What else do I need?"
> Me - "You need Python: go to www.python.org, download it, and install it."
> (20 minutes later)
> Windows User - "Grr.  OK installed.  It asked me about tcl/tk but
> I didn't install that."
> Me - "No, you need that.  Uninstall and then reinstall and
> install that too."
> (5 minutes later)
> Windows User - "Augh!  Done.  OK now what?"
> Me - "Download mysoftware.zip, and double-click on it.  That
> should open up WinZip...."
> (the windows user will almost always become frustrated at this point
> and forget about it, being "just a user" and confused by all this
> high-falutin terminology of "archives" and "virtual machines",
> assuming that WinZip works at all.  I need to build a friggin'
> installer soon so this stops happening.)

You're treating Windows users as if they were Linux users, Glyph:  believe
it or not, that's not their fault <wink>.  Download PySol for Windows:

"What do I need?"
"Download PySol."
"OK, now what?"
"Click on it."
(1 minute later)
"Hey, that's great!  Thanks."

    y'rs  - a tim with relatives who don't let him forget that

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