[Types-sig] OPINIONS: Warnings

Tim Peters tim_one@email.msn.com
Wed, 5 Jan 2000 21:04:48 -0500

[Paul Prescod]
> This is an important issue that I would like a lot of feedback
> about. I will state my opinion and invite Greg and others to
> state theirs.
> It is my opinion that we should not, in our specification, flag
> any dubious constructs as being constructs that the compiler
> should warn about. Anything dubious should be merely disallowed.
> Warnings are for getting around language flaws.

Also for pointing out less than perfect compile-time knowledge; i.e., I
think it depends on the "dubious construct".  For example, if the scheme we
come up with here cannot, in some cases, guarantee to resolve a type
question at compile-time, some people aren't going to care, extreme safety-
and/or speed-freaks are going to want those treated as compile-time errors,
and "everyone else" is going to want to see compile-time warnings.

> ...
> IMO, we will never be able to totally get rid of warning
> and "lints" but we should acknowledge them as byproducts
> of imperfect designs created by imperfect humans.

Or of best-possible designs facing intractable problems.

> If we design any part of our system *expecting* a
> warning to be issued then we are knowingly designing
> in flaws.

Or simply acknowledging that the whole problem can't be solved at
compile-time -- for some definitions of "the whole problem".

warning-function-not-inlined-ly y'rs  - tim