<> and DeprecationWarning

Geoff Gerrietts geoff at gerrietts.net
Wed Oct 22 19:57:23 CEST 2003

Skip Montanaro <skip at pobox.com> wrote:
>    Gerrit> Is there a difference between obsolescent, obsolete and
>    Gerrit> deprecated?
> Of these, deprecate's computer meaning seems to be quite far from
> it's using in non-computer English.  Further down the page, it shows
> a couple more-to-our-needs definitions of deprecate:

I think when I first saw the term "deprecated", its significance was
more clear. The usage at that time was of the form "this usage is
deprecated", by which people seemed to mean that doing things that way
was considered bad form.

When the Java APIs started to evolve, and the designers began
recognizing their unfortunate reliance on poor behaviors, the more
common usage was to slap up "deprecated" next to any API artifact that
they were hoping to prune away in another release or two.

That was when I saw the currency of the word grow, and its meaning
shift subtly.

I will occassionally still hear someone use the term in its original
styling, but now "deprecated" does seem to have come to mean
approximately the same as "obsolescent" when talking about programs or
features; it's a shorter formulation.

What's interesting to me about this evolution is what it reveals about
the learning and language patterns employed by engineers. (Hm, I guess
qualitative sociology isn't nearly as bad as I thought, now that I'm
accidentally doing it.)


Geoff Gerrietts             "Whenever people agree with me I always 
<geoff at gerrietts net>     feel I must be wrong." --Oscar Wilde

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