What is different with Python ?

John Machin sjmachin at lexicon.net
Sun Jun 12 05:26:26 CEST 2005


Roy Smith wrote:
> "Philippe C. Martin" <philippe at philippecmartin.com> wrote:
> 
>>Yet, many issues that a future software engineer should know are
>>mostly hidden by Python (ex: memory management) and that could be
>>detrimental.
> 
> 
> I know I'm going out on a limb by asking this, but why do you think future 
> software engineers should know about memory management?

Perhaps we have a terminology problem here i.e. different meanings of 
"software engineer". Philippe started talking about "CS" courses, 
whereas you may be referring to people who have done an "IT" course or 
achieved a certification in the use of app development tool X.

> 
> I used to worry about register allocation.  Today, I don't even know how 
> many registers any machine I work on has.  I used to worry about word size, 
> and byte order.  I used to worry about whether stacks grew up or down and 
> addressing modes and floating point formats.  Sure, somebody's got to worry 
> about those things, but most people who write software can be blissfully 
> ignorant (or, at best, dimly aware) of these issues because somebody else 
> (compiler writer, hardware designer, operating system writer, etc) has 
> already done the worrying.

You would hope they'd done more than worry about it. However sometimes 
one's fondest hopes are dashed. You must have noticed the anguish in the 
timbot's posts that mention Windows 95 memory management.

> 
> There used to be a time when you had to worry about how many tracks to 
> allocate when you created a disk file.  When's the last time you worried 
> about that?

Seeing you asked: early 1970s, on an IBM 1800. But much more recently it 
certainly helped if one were slightly more than dimly aware of the 
difference between a FAT filesystem and an NTFS filesystem :-)

Cheers,
John



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