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

Ricardo Aráoz ricaraoz at gmail.com
Thu Jan 22 23:50:33 CET 2009


Paul Rubin wrote:
> Mark Wooding <mdw at distorted.org.uk> writes:
>   
>> Some people (let's call them `type A programmers') have decided that
>> they want to be assisted with writing correct programs...
>> Other people (`type B programmers') don't like having their (apparently?
>> possibly?) correct programs rejected....
>> I think trying to persuade a type A programmer that he wants to work
>> like a type B programmer, or /vice versa/, is difficult, bordering on
>> futile.  Type A stereotypes type B as a bunch of ill-disciplined
>> reckless hackers; type B stereotypes type A as killjoy disciplinarians.
>> Meeting in the middle is difficult.  (`We just want to add a little
>> safety.'  `You want to take away our freedom!'  Etc., /ad nauseam/.)
>>     
>
> That's an interesting analysis.  You know, I think I'm really a type B
> programmer, interested in type A techniques and tools for the same
> reason someone who naturally sleeps late is interested in extra-loud
> alarm clocks.
>
> Also, the application area matters.  There is a difference between
> programming for one's own enjoyment or to do a personal task, and
> writing programs whose reliability or lack of it can affect other
> people's lives.  I've never done any safety-critical programming but I
> do a fair amount of security-oriented Internet programming.  As such,
> I have to always assume that my programs will be attacked by people
> who are smarter than I am and know more than I do.  I can't possibly
> out-think them.  If I don't see problems in a program, it's still
> plausible that someone smarter than me will spot something I missed.
> Therefore, my failure to detect the presence of problems is not
> reassuring.  What I want is means of verifying the absence of
> problems.  
>   

Mmmmm..... your "means of verifying the absence of problems" were
coded/thought by some other person who also has a measurable amount of
intelligence. So it follows that there will be somebody else who is
smarter and will spot something this other person missed and will be
able to subvert those "means". So it would seem that by thinking you can
"verify" the absence of problems you are trying to get a false sense of
security that actually does not exist.

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