Jeremy Bowers jerf at
Tue Jan 18 18:20:19 EST 2005

On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 14:36:08 -0800, Jeff Shannon wrote:
> I think that this sort of thing is better to have as an explicitly 
> risky hack, than as an endorsed part of the language.  The mere fact 
> that this *is* something that one can clearly tell is working around 
> certain deliberate limitations is a big warning sign, and it makes it 
> much less likely to be used extensively.  Relatively few people are 
> going to want to use something called "bytecodehacks" in a 
> mission-critical piece of software, compared to the number who'd be 
> perfectly happy to use a language's built-in macro facilities, so at 
> least it keeps the actual usage down to a somewhat more manageable level.
> To rephrase this a bit more succinctly ;) there's a big difference 
> between having no practical way to prevent something, and actually 
> encouraging it.

Hey, argument, there you are. I figured you'd work your way out somehow
without me having to type you.


The counterargument that leaps to mind is that if enough people do it,
there's a need, and that need should be met explicitly rather than with
"hacks", for the benefit of all.

Again, I emphasize my ambivalence. Are there "enough"? (It's hard to tell,
maybe if it weren't so hard more would do it.) Is the benefit big enough?
Is "the need" the need to tell people "stop juggling chainsaws!"? (In
which case I guess "the need" has been met.)

Basically, I'm willing to trust Guido overall on the grounds that he has
earned it. But I still can't help but wonder if outright dismissal isn't
missing something that could be useful and positive if Guido et al turned
their minds to it. But then, I have no idea what it may be and it may be

Like I said, I'm torn on this one :-)

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