[Numpy-discussion] Proposed Roadmap Overview

John Hunter jdh2358@gmail....
Tue Feb 28 13:05:49 CST 2012


On Sat, Feb 18, 2012 at 5:09 PM, David Cournapeau <cournape@gmail.com>wrote:

>
> There are better languages than C++ that has most of the technical
> benefits stated in this discussion (rust and D being the most
> "obvious" ones), but whose usage is unrealistic today for various
> reasons: knowledge, availability on "esoteric" platforms, etc… A new
> language is completely ridiculous.



I just saw this for the first time today: Linus Torvalds on C++ (
http://harmful.cat-v.org/software/c++/linus).  The post is from 2007 so
many of you may have seen it, but I thought it was entertainng enough and
on-topic enough with this thread that I'd share it in case you haven't.


The point he makes:

  In other words, the only way to do good, efficient, and system-level and
  portable C++ ends up to limit yourself to all the things that
are basically
  available in C

was interesting to me because the best C++ library I have ever worked with
(agg) imports *nothing* except standard C libs (no standard template
library).  In fact, the only includes external to external to itself
are math.h, stdlib.h, stdio.h, and string.h.

To shoehorn Jamie Zawinski's famous regex quote (
http://regex.info/blog/2006-09-15/247).  "Some people, when confronted with
a problem, think “I know, I'll use boost.”   Now they have two problems."

Here is the Linus post:

From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds <at> linux-foundation.org>
Subject: Re: [RFC] Convert builin-mailinfo.c to use The Better String
Library.
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.version-control.git
Date: 2007-09-06 17:50:28 GMT (2 years, 14 weeks, 16 hours and 36 minutes
ago)

On Wed, 5 Sep 2007, Dmitry Kakurin wrote:
>
> When I first looked at Git source code two things struck me as odd:
> 1. Pure C as opposed to C++. No idea why. Please don't talk about
portability,
> it's BS.

*YOU* are full of bullshit.

C++ is a horrible language. It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot
of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much
easier to generate total and utter crap with it. Quite frankly, even if
the choice of C were to do *nothing* but keep the C++ programmers out,
that in itself would be a huge reason to use C.

In other words: the choice of C is the only sane choice. I know Miles
Bader jokingly said "to piss you off", but it's actually true. I've come
to the conclusion that any programmer that would prefer the project to be
in C++ over C is likely a programmer that I really *would* prefer to piss
off, so that he doesn't come and screw up any project I'm involved with.

C++ leads to really really bad design choices. You invariably start using
the "nice" library features of the language like STL and Boost and other
total and utter crap, that may "help" you program, but causes:

 - infinite amounts of pain when they don't work (and anybody who tells me
   that STL and especially Boost are stable and portable is just so full
   of BS that it's not even funny)

 - inefficient abstracted programming models where two years down the road
   you notice that some abstraction wasn't very efficient, but now all
   your code depends on all the nice object models around it, and you
   cannot fix it without rewriting your app.

In other words, the only way to do good, efficient, and system-level and
portable C++ ends up to limit yourself to all the things that are
basically available in C. And limiting your project to C means that people
don't screw that up, and also means that you get a lot of programmers that
do actually understand low-level issues and don't screw things up with any
idiotic "object model" crap.

So I'm sorry, but for something like git, where efficiency was a primary
objective, the "advantages" of C++ is just a huge mistake. The fact that
we also piss off people who cannot see that is just a big additional
advantage.

If you want a VCS that is written in C++, go play with Monotone. Really.
They use a "real database". They use "nice object-oriented libraries".
They use "nice C++ abstractions". And quite frankly, as a result of all
these design decisions that sound so appealing to some CS people, the end
result is a horrible and unmaintainable mess.

But I'm sure you'd like it more than git.

            Linus
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