python programming help

Chris Angelico rosuav at
Mon Dec 9 09:15:49 CET 2013

On Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM,  <rurpy at> wrote:
> We all use buggy software every day.  *Every* piece of non-trival
> software is buggy -- you already know that.  So you are saying
> that bugs that annoy *you* are ones that *others* should change
> their practice to join your boycott to fix.

The ones that have interoperability problems are the ones that need to
be fixed. When a MUD client uses CP-1252 instead of either Latin-1 or
UTF-8, that's a fault in it. (Confession: My own RosMud has that exact
problem, because of what it uses under the covers for screen display.
But it's being retired in favour of Gypsum, which supports full
Unicode and defaults to UTF-8 transport.)

> You sound like some Unix hard-asses of the 1990's who, by god, weren't
> going pollute their software with any kind of MS Windows compatibility.
> No supporting a broken OS for them.  They would keep the software pure
> and Unix-only and force Microsoft to fix their broken OS.
> Well, most of that software and those programmers have been eliminated
> by Darwinian selection, and today cross-platform (or Windows only)
> software is the norm.

And there were Microsoft people in the same era who, by Bill, weren't
going to pollute their software with any kind of standards
compatibility. Let's look at just one product, Internet Explorer:

IE6: Microsoft enjoys a near monopoly and uses this to encourage
people to use IE-only features  Myriad intranet sites get set up that
won't work properly on any other browser.

IE7: Other browsers now actually have some market-share, and people
are agitating for IE to match them in behaviour. Oh dear. Guess we'd
better add tabbed browsing, everyone else has it... the monopoly isn't
enough to maintain itself on its own.

IE8: Actually, it looks like standards compliance is becoming
important. But so is compatibility with IE6. What a pain, what a pain.

IE9 and IE10: The market shift to other browsers and thus the pressure
shift to standards compliance continues. Unfortunately, it's just not
possible to maintain IE6 compatibility, so lots of corporates have to
keep XP and IE6 for their daily use.

(I was in a Subway buying a sandwich a few weeks ago, and the system
was having trouble. Guy was on the phone to the US trying to get it
sorted out. Everything was in IE6. I pity them.)

Windows-only is hardly the norm. There's at least as much software
that's Mac-only or Linux-only as Windows-only. And far far more that's
cross-platform or at least multi-platform. The most important thing is
interoperability - sometimes that means stuff like Samba (specifically
written to talk to a "foreign" system), but more often it means coding
to the pre-written standards. I can write all sorts of TELNET servers
and clients, and I can be confident that they'll work nicely with
other people's clients and servers, and that they'll understand each
other when they say IAC DO NAWS or IAC SB TERMTYPE IS "Gypsum" IAC SE.
If one of them is buggy, it must be fixed, or it must not be used.


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