Re: [dev] Web development in C (or, C'ing clearly through the webs of bias)

From: Zach van Rijn <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2019 10:49:45 -0500

On Thu, 2019-01-31 at 14:04 +0000,
> On Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 11:57:24AM +0300, Alexander Krotov
> wrote:
> >
> clang/llvm LOL (this is one of the worst piles of c++ cr*p out
> there, a near perfect factory of digital hate).

As a neutral bystander and casual observer of this mailing list,
I find the irony of your statement noteworthy.

This community seems to perpetuate claims that may have (or have
had, historically) some truth to them. It's an easy trap to fall
into; humans naturally categorize things as "good" and "bad" --
but that often short-circuits rational thinking and discussion.

The problem is that "some truth" and "used to be true but might
not be anymore" are incredibly difficult to correct, as our need
to question beliefs is reduced when things are "good enough".

The whole point of Suckless [1] is that software should not just
be "good enough", but its community seems to settle for this (or
arguably "dangerously misinformed") when it comes to technical
discussion. I can't tell if it's malice or immaturity, or a bit
of both, but I see a lot of missed opportunities.

If I may cite a brief excerpt from this page:

> Our philosophy is about keeping things simple, minimal and
> usable. We believe this should become the mainstream
> philosophy in the IT sector. Unfortunately, the tendency for
> complex, error-prone and slow software seems to be prevalent
> in the present-day software industry. We intend to prove the
> opposite with our software projects.

It has been my observation that valuable discussion has been
shut down or skewed due to knee-jerk biases such as yours. This
is of course, the benign case. The other case is more sinister:
that certain members of the community have strong beliefs about
what constitutes "quality" software, express these views in an
authoritative manner, and make it difficult or impossible for
less-experienced (or less secure) people to engage in healthy
discussion pertaining to what are otherwise important topics.

Software and related fields are inherently technical. Discussion
about them is therefore not "simple" (e.g., that one language is
necessarily bad [2]).

I won't go through and cherry-pick every specific example I can
find, but just take a look at [3] for a current one. When I said
I feel there are "missed opportunities" I'm talking about gaps
in between each statement (e.g. in this email):

> [Rust] is certainly better than C++ or Java and avoided many
> mistakes (like exceptions and going to far with OO).

  * OK, you made a claim. Please explain _why_ and _how_ this
    supports your claim.

> On the other hand the typesystem isn't great and much more
> complex than golang's approach.

  * What (part of) golang's approach are you talking about?

  * Why is [Rust's approach] bad? How is it complex?

> Besides this it's the hipster environment of Rust that is
> putting me off.

The rest of that email (and the mailing list archives) speak for
themselves. Y'all have some cool software and good people. It'd
be a shame to continue wasting it; at least try to adopt some of
your software principles in your discussions.

In the same way that a developer is (or should be) responsible
for every single line of code they write (and properly testing
their software), it is my belief that people be responsible for
their words, biases, and consequences of them. "Digital hate".




Received on Thu Jan 31 2019 - 16:49:45 CET

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