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From: Kevin Lynch (krlynch_at_[hidden])
Date: 2005-05-16 09:31:29

Deane Yang wrote:
> Paul,
> Paul A Bristow wrote:
>> 1 There is VIOLENT opposition to requiring pi().
>> You may not like it, but there IS!
>> I am sympathetic to this view -
>> many equations are complex enough with yet more bracket clutter.
> Where is this "VIOLENT opposition" being expressed? I have never seen
> anything of the sort on this list; I have only seen your assertions that
> it exists. Could you elaborate?
> Deane

I unfortunately have seen this opposition too, although not on the boost
list. I've mostly encountered it from my colleagues who are physicists
first, and use code as a tool, but couldn't care less about actually
learning current idioms.

For instance, there was a recent discussion on mailing list for the ROOT
software package, which is a high energy physics analysis framework
written in C++ (based on the CINT C++ interpreter). The discussion was
about the introduction of more "modern" idioms into the visible
programmer interface, and there was vociferous opposition (mostly from
those who have been around for a while) to the use of such "exotic" C++
features as templates because "most compilers don't support them yet",
and new style casts, "because the C way is less verbose".

There was also concern expressed about using boost components because
some people thought that most of boost relied on "non-standard" C++ that
"wasn't portable except to a few platforms".

Mention of smart pointers among my memory leaking colleagues is met with
blank stares ... memory leaks are, after all, just a part of writing
code in C and C++, right? The complaints I've heard about namespaces
alone would be enough to bring you to tears...

Make no mistake ... these are very, very smart people saying these
things. But like most of us, they just can't or won't be bothered to
invest energy in keeping up with current trends in areas outside their
fields of expertise.

That all said, I don't put much weight on the opinions of practitioners
who fail to keep current or to understand why things are the way they
are. Boost should "do the right thing". The users who complain will
follow along after a time, because they'll have no choice ... their
tools will change out from under them, and their graduate students will
roll their eyes and force them to adapt to the modern idioms. We
shouldn't be held back by the whiners ... if we did, the projects I work
on would still be writing all our data acquisition and analysis code in
Fortran IV :-)

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