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February 11, 1999
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Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 02:02:28 -0500 (EST) From: email@example.com (Chris Hanson) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Structure vs purism OK, I see that someone else has chosen to speak up about gotos in the kernel, so I'll chip in too. I agree that more context should have been given. Where I disagree, and very strongly at that, is in the implication that goto's are somehow "unprofessional". Goto is simply a tool, and its use can be either beneficial or harmful, depending on the programmer. A skilled programmer uses language constructs to provide a clear expression of the program; goto is appropriate in many circumstances because it captures the intent of the program more accurately than other available constructs. Goto got an undeserved bad rap from the structured programming movement of the 70s, which was epitomized by Pascal. Pascal lacked a goto statement, which meant that if the control structure of a program was not cleanly expressed by the available iteration constructions, you were SOL. I've written a fair amount of code in Pascal, and I can say from experience that I missed the goto statement when programming in that language; at least C _has_ a goto statement, and I use it when I think it is appropriate. It's also kind of funny that this conversation comes up in the context of Linux. To me, one of the strengths of the Linux community is its attention to freedom. Goto was originally denigrated by people who decided that the way to prevent bad programmers from writing bad programs was to reduce the expressive power of the languages -- specifically by eliminating goto. (Of course, bad programmers will _still_ write bad programs, even without goto.) Now why would someone who believes in freedom want to _reduce_ expressive power? Now, you may be wondering why I feel so strongly about this. The answer is that I'm a Scheme programmer. In Scheme, there is only one iterative control construct: the tail-recursive procedure call, which is just a goto with arguments. So by denigrating goto, you indirectly denigrate my favorite language, in which I write many beautiful and elegant programs, each filled to the brim with "gotos". So please, have a little respect for goto, and those of us who like to use it.
Date: Mon, 08 Feb 1999 11:23:58 +0000 From: Mark Lamb <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: A Plea for help Finally managed to carve out some time to play with 2.2; am now trying to wrap brain around new routing code in particular. The ipchains and ipmasqadm have decent man pages; the iproute2+tc stuff has only BNF-ish descriptions of the syntax. Anybody got any idea how to use any of these bright shiny new toys? I'm taking hints, for (possibly delayed) publication, via email at email@example.com I'm hoping to write some coherent docs; until I get the time I'll post anything sent raw for the good it might do others. It'll all be at http://snafu.freedom.org/linux2.2/ Along with copies of some of the packages I've downloaded to get a RedHat 5.2 system ready for 2.2 et al. This includes the latest iproute2 package (as of Jan 23) from ftp://ftp.inr.ac.ru/ip-routing/ Which seems to have been down for the last several days. -- firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Lamb) I won't cry for the wasted years cuz' you ain't worth the salt in my tears.
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 22:40:43 -0700 From: Jeffery Cann <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Zope License (Slightly modified version sent to Digital Creations) Greetings. As I see a Zope advertisement on the LWN site, I am concerned that the Zope development environment is "Open Source" branded. Specifically, the third clause in their latest license version (0.9.7) continues to troubles me. Initially, Digital Creations (www.zope.org) wished to require attribution when web sites were produced using Zope. More recently, they have come closer to freeing their code. IMHO, the point of section 3 is still works against the rationale of freeing software, whether "open source" or via the GNU Public License (or similar licenses). The point of releasing source code is so that the community may share it, improve it, test it, etc. The benefits received by Digital Creations will outweigh any concerns with attribution. Let me draw on the Apache web server (and license) as an example, since the Zope Public License (ZPL) is based on it. The Apache web server is the most popular and most used web server in the world. It became so because their software was continuously improved by a community of developers. Eventually, it overtook the reliability of competing proprietary products, such as Microsoft's IIS or Netscape's web servers. Apache does not require or even ask that attribution be given to the Apache development group. Yet, amazingly, every technical person who develops web content knows that Apache is the web server of choice. The reason every one knows this is because Apache is technically superior server. It is the most popular due to its technical merits, not because they required or pleaded for attribution. If Zope is a real alternative to Cold Fusion, then why still ask for attribution? Why not let the product stand on its technical merits? I guarantee you that if Zope is better or equal to Cold Fusion, it won't take too long for the web developer community to figure this out and free attribution will follow. It didn't take long for Apache to become the number one server. Finally, I must quote the Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu -- "Who does not trust enough will not be trusted." Freeing source code is about trust -- trust between the person(s) or company who wrote the original code and those in the community who use it and contribute it. I appreciate the efforts of Digital Creations to refine the ZPL. Hopefully, they will drop clause 3 altogether so I can start using the Zope development environment. Until then, I am happy to continue to hack perl, gimp and htmlpp for my web site development efforts. Sincerely, Jeffery Cann