Goto Considered Harmful [was Re: Python and the need for speed]

Steve D'Aprano steve+python at
Thu Apr 13 21:33:12 EDT 2017

On Fri, 14 Apr 2017 04:09 am, Rustom Mody wrote:

> On Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 11:14:15 PM UTC+5:30, Steve D'Aprano wrote:
>> Meyer's "Considered Harmful Essays Considered Harmful" essay is
>> hypocritical junk, and should be considered harmful.
> Your view.

Well duh :-)

> Here's an alternative.
> [Sorry its a vague memory of something I read more than a decade ago that
> [I cant
> trace again]
> Some unknown Cobol programmer talking about Dijkstra:
> Dijkstra used his enormous prestige to destroy Cobol.

"Imminent Death Of Cobol Predicted. Again."

When the sun finally expands into a supergiant in five billion years,
destroying the earth, the last survivors to die will be COBOL-programming
cockroaches and Keith Richards.

> We lost a great deal
> What did he gain?
> Ok so Cobol's control constructs are below par
> But do any of its modern successors have its data-describing properties?
> [the PIC clause]

If PIC is so great, why do no other languages have it?

That's a serious question, not a rhetorical question.

> Or consider(!) Alan Kay's statement: "Arrogance in computer science is
> measured in nanodijktras"

Indeed. What's your point? Because that sounds awfully like an ad hominem
fallacy. Dijkstra was arrogant, therefore he must be wrong.

> Maybe that's a response to similar violent, unnecessary barbs from
> Dijkstra?


Are you one of those people who think that calling a person an idiot is
morally indistinguishable from beating them into a coma?

"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but that's nothing to the harm
caused by a few mean words."

“Cheer up,” they said, “things could be worse.” So I cheered up, and sure
enough, things got worse.

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