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

Russ P. Russ.Paielli at gmail.com
Sun Jan 18 00:45:33 CET 2009


No one ever claimed that a programming language, no matter how
rigorous, can eliminate all bugs. All a language can do is to reduce
their rate of occurrence.

The Ariane fiasco was not a failure of Ada per se but rather a failure
of people using Ada. They attempted to re-use software written for one
rocket for another without proper testing. No language can prevent
that sort of error.

We can argue forever about the usefulness of language-enforced
restriction of access to private data and methods. I have no doubt
whatsoever that it is very useful at least for the extreme cases of
very large, safety-critical systems. If you don't think access to
private data needs to be restricted for control of strategic nuclear
arsenals, for example, I think you're crazy, but that's just my
opinion.

The only reasonable question in my mind is where the line should be
drawn between systems that should have enforced restrictions and those
that can rely on coding standards and voluntary cooperation among
programmers.

A while back, I read something about the final integration of the
flight software on the Boeing 777, which was written mainly in Ada.
The claim was made that this integration took only three days, whereas
normally it would be expected to take more like three months with a
less rigorous language such as C++. The reason for the simplified
integration is that Ada enforces interfaces and prevents access to
private data and methods. Apparently such enforcement can improve the
efficiency of software production -- and that's not just in "theory."



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