Python: Database to Web Part II

Peter Hansen peter at
Sat Jul 7 16:33:32 CEST 2001

Edward Wilson wrote:
> I have come to the harsh reality that 90% of the developers who use
> Python are advanced developers doing mostly scientific research.  

I doubt that.  I know of many people using Python for other purposes.
In particular, I know of a group of 15 mostly junior and intermediate
programmers using Python to write a variety of components, utilities,
and applications used in telecommunications systems.  Not research
(although they do a little of that), and really scientific.  I think
the developers you refer to are a relatively visible minority. 

> I can't possibly use "EXPERIMENTAL" code in my day to
> day work.  If something goes wrong with my code, I lose my job, and if
> it can be shown that I used experimental code downloaded from the
> Internet, I could be charged with criminal negligence.

I don't know what "experimental" means to you, but it seems likely
that your own code could be considered more experimental than much 
of what you might download from the Net.

I think you are right to be concerned about being fired for 
criminal negligence, but what could lead to that would be
delivering inadequately reviewed and tested code, whether it
was built on "free" stuff downloaded from the Net or on commercial
software.  The only advantage to commercial software is the
possibility that you can divert attention away from your own
incompetence (were that the case) and onto a third-party supplier
which provided you the software in the first place.  And yet
it would still be your own negligence which led to the problem.

We use a lot of code downloaded from the Net, not in life-safety
situations but in mission critical ones.  We have also adopted
the philosophy of the Python and XP crowds, who promote the idea
that testing is far more important than others traditionally believe.
As long as we review and test adequately, even if we have used 
"experiemental" code downloaded from the net and it leads to a 
failure, we will not be guilty of criminal negligence.

Peter Hansen, P.Eng.
peter at

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