not safe at all

Alex Martelli aleaxit at
Sat Jul 14 05:03:34 EDT 2001

"Tim Daneliuk" <tundra at> wrote in message
news:3B4F743C.66778F9F at
> Furthermore, bear in mind that code "portability" is no where near as
> important in the commercial sector as it is in academics.  Commercial

That depends on the state of the market.  Just a few years ago, it
would have KILLED us if our CAD applications didn't run portably
between VMS, Apollo Domain, and many versions of Unix -- each
OS accounted for an important segment of our customer base.

Today, running on a small number of somewhat-different Microsoft
operating systems suffices -- but any day now, it would not at all
surprise me if an important market segment suddenly demanded,
say, Linux -- in which case, lack of portability would again become
a commercial killer in this nice.  (Before you scoff -- markets as
important as the French public administration and China appear
to be oriented to demanding Linux pretty soon, while others keep
demanding MS systems -- better keep those portability skills not
too badly honed, is my opinion).

Besides, portability is NOT only an issue between operating systems
and hardware platforms (...and on the latter, someday soon the
ability to exploit Itanium well may be a key market differentiator...).
Anything that qualifies as a "platform" for applications needs to be
seen in this light.  Portability between IIS and Apache can double
the potential market for a commercial web framework.  And it serves
our PDM product well that it's portable between SQL dialects and
RDBMS's -- some customers are totally wed to Oracle and would
never buy a product that can only run on SQL Server, and vice
versa -- this DOES give us an important marketing differentiator
wrt some of our competition.

I'm not getting into the C++ flamewar you're trying to unchain --
just noticing that one of our competitors in the PDM field recently
released their newest product version, and one of the fundamental
differences wrt the previous one is that they rewrote it from Java
(as it originally was) to C++ (as it is now) -- they claim speed-ups
of about 60% overall, more solidity, etc, as a consequence.  If that
is an example of C++ "dying a slow death", I think Mark Twain's
well-known dictum may apply.

I _do_ agree that C++ is too complex for the human brain and
thus should only be used sparingly (for system interaction and
top-speed components -- but do notice that those components
ARE part of large commercial applications... and many people
still do not realize that multi-language applications are the
way to go, thus, needing maybe 10% of the app to be in C++,
they go ahead and make or rewrite it ALL in C++, rather than
make it 10% C++ and 90% Python...:-).

Alex (Brainbench MVP for C++ -- declaring interest, as it were:-)

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