Language change and code breaks

Steve Holden sholden at
Wed Jul 18 16:41:26 CEST 2001

"Guido van Rossum" <guido at> wrote in message
news:cpvgkq1f2b.fsf at
> Roman Suzi <rnd at> writes:
> > Windows is case-insensitive and thus "easy to use" only before one needs
> > to put web-pages on the real (UNIX) web-server. Then they understand all
> > the troubles with mised case, national-charset filenames, abbr~ted
> > filenames, local file references "C:\Mydocs\lalala", bmp-images etc.
> But it's still open for debate whether the problem here is Windows or
> Unix!  All programming languages and file systems used to be
> case-insensitive, until the designers of Unix and C decided that it
> was too much work to write and use a case-insensitive comparison
> routine.  It wasn't necessarily intended to be better, just easier to
> implement.  But times have changed, and that's a lousy excuse.
Well, there's case-insensitive and then there's just plain old insensitive,
which is what Windows NT ended up being. I would rather have a
case-sensitive filesystem, properly implemented, than the mess you get with
Posix primitives layered on top of a rather poorly-implemented
case-insensitive filesystem. Using Posix utilities it is possible under NT
4.0 to have two files with the "same" name, but (of course) then impossible
to use native NT files to say which file you want to read!

In the CP4E world, do you feel it is better to educate everybody to
understand that capitaisation has meaning, or dumb down the systems to allow
those without a finer appreciation of language to get what *they* expect,
thereby annoying the literate minority? I've never been quite sure how
inclusive the "E" in "CP4E" is intended to be, but you may find that spoken
natural language is the only acceptable user interface, given the literacy
problems of even "advanced" societies. Now, even I couldn't disagree that
there's no upper case spoken language, unless it's the traditional British
device of

         S-H-O-U-T-I-N-G   S-L-O-W-L-Y   A-T   F-O-R-E-I-G-N-E-R-S

which-i-wouldn't-even-do-about-print->>-ly y'rs  - steve

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