Deposing Dictators

Stephen Horne steve at lurking.demon.co.uk
Sat Jul 28 01:15:42 CEST 2001


On 27 Jul 2001 14:58:35 -0700, dirck at pacbell.net (Dirck Blaskey)
wrote:

>Inertia should always be taken into account, but it should never
>be the single deciding factor - or we'd all be working legacy COBOL.

A couple of years ago, you may remember a major panic caused by
peoples realisation that a hell of a lot of COBOL code was going to
stop working. The developers were long since retired. In many cases,
the source code was long since lost. That COBOL program was still
there and working, though, some 20 or 30 years after it was written.

Useful programs aren't discarded so fast as development fashions and
religions. The trouble is that Python programs - and libraries much
more so - are quite often shared in source form.

>I think this is where most of the reactionary responses come from.
>C is deeply ingrained in the programming culture, because in a lot
>of ways it was, and in some ways still is, The Programming Language.
>Anything you do, day in and day out, year after year, no matter how 
>odd or perverse or inconsequential, becomes 'the natural order of things'.
>The more deeply ingrained, the harder it is to actually see.

If that was true, we wouldn't be using Python at all. After all, it is
a dynamically typed language that stores its identifiers in a hash
table - it provides a keyword to say 'a function definition is coming'
rather than leaving it to issues that often depend on the semantics
(rather than simply grammar rules) of what has happened in the past.
And it doesn't even allow you to use braces for block structures. How
not-like-C can you get?




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