Language change and code breaks (fwd)

Bengt Richter bokr at
Fri Jul 20 19:57:47 CEST 2001

On Fri, 20 Jul 2001 07:37:46 -0400, Peter Hansen <peter at> wrote:

>James Logajan wrote:
>> Peter Hansen wrote:
>> >  1. They are inactive in the Python community and are
>> >     therefore unaware of the upcoming code breakage.
>> >
>> >  2. Their code is dependent on the existing integer
>> >     division behaviour, and yet they are not amongst
>> >     the classes of users identified in this newsgroup
>> >     as being the most likely to be impacted.
>> >
>> >  3. They are incapable of maintaining their code,
>> >     and simultaneously are entirely at the mercy of
>> >     outside forces who may choose to upgrade them
>> >     against their will or without their knowledge to
>> >     the new and incompatible version of Python.
>> >
>> >     Or, they are not at the mercy of outside forces,
>> >     yet mysteriously cannot *avoid* upgrading their
>> >     Python installations and thus breaking their
>> >     own code (which they somehow cannot maintain).
>> >
>> >  4. Were we to develop and make easily available to
>> >     them a scanner capable at least of identifying
>> >     the probability they will suffer code breakage,
>> >     they would be unable to use it, whether for
>> >     (1) or (3).
>> >
>> > Have I missed anything?
>> I'm sure you could think of many more insults if you just tried harder. Just
>> how many years have you been in commercial software development anyway?
>Did you miss the thread up until this point?  
>I neither intended the above to be insulting nor, as far as I 
>can tell, *is* anything in the above insulting.
>Therefore, I agree completely with you.  I could *definitely*
>think of more insults (than zero) if I tried.  
>I've been in commercial software development since roughly 1981.
>(Perhaps you consider something in *this* posting insulting too.
>If you do, we clearly have a different definition of insulting.
>You, by the way, were obviously trying to insult me, and I honestly
>have no idea why.)
Perhaps James meant "insult" in the sense of "insult and injury" to
the victims whose injuries you were enumerating. That's the way I took it.

I think you are usefully pointing out a real problem.
Trying to code in the least-likely-to-be-changed subset
of a language is not fun, but that is what you wind up doing.

Perhaps the BDFL may want to consider making a never-to-be-changed
subset official? Ada went through a no-subset discussion, but I think
I might like a very lean official subset, especially if it also meant
a very lean embedding option.

Isn't it fun trying to make Netscape and IE show the same thing
on the screen? ISTM the same could happen between generations of Python.

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