Does Python really follow its philosophy of "Readability counts"?

Paul Rubin http
Sat Jan 17 22:43:38 CET 2009


Bruno Desthuilliers <bdesth.quelquechose at free.quelquepart.fr> writes:
> Once again, there's quite a lot to learn from
> the story of Ariane 5.

Do you know what actually happened with Ariane 5?  The failure was
because "smart" humans overrode the language enforced protection by
casting a floating point number down to a 16-bit integer, which worked
ok in Ariane 4, but failed with an overflow on Ariane 5 where bigger
numbers were involved.  The actual code fragment is here, and you can
see where the error is suppressed:

  http://www-aix.gsi.de/~giese/swr/ariane5.html

This is one thing that Python gets right, automatically using bignums
rather than allowing int overflow.  In that sense, Python has more
enforced protection than Ada.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_5_Flight_501



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