[PD] [OT] cool book (maybe relevant to list discussion)

Mathieu Bouchard matju at artengine.ca
Fri Sep 9 17:36:20 CEST 2011

On Fri, 9 Sep 2011, Andy Farnell wrote:

> It's more a general theme in the discussion, I think the author's
> background is web so the casual examples mention it, at least in the
> bits I browsed - he was talking about erlang as a solution for
> distributed databases. The main examples for each language seemed
> standard compsci problems though, sorting, permuting, factoring etc.

But the basis of comparison necessary to justify today's language choices 
can hardly be made of those standard compsci problems, which are all very 
small scale.

For example, to see that goto was harmful, you had to see it on a large 
scale enough that it becomes tangled. If you do it on single-page-or-less 
compsci problems, goto always seems ok. Many of today's people have 
learned about goto only by indoctrination, but by doing projects that 
don't fit on a page (nor on a few), people can learn from experience that 
goto is harmful.

Multi-processor computing has been a compsci topic for about 30 years 
already, and distributed computing is nearly as old. TCP/IP-enabled 
kernels came from Berkeley in 1982, NFS in 1984, X11 officially in 1987 
(but the project had been published since early 80's).

« Standard compsci » problems exclude a lot of new things for pedagogical 
reasons, to stay within the level of difficulty of first-year programming 
students and middle-year algorithmics students. There isn't a reason to 
stay within that problem set when the goal is to compare languages for 
daily use in potentially big practical projects.

| Mathieu Bouchard ---- tél: +1.514.383.3801 ---- Villeray, Montréal, QC

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