Re: Syllabus for Seed Developer Qualifications [WAS Re: Some considerations about AGI]

From: Robin Lee Powell (
Date: Tue Jan 31 2006 - 17:17:45 MST

On Tue, Jan 31, 2006 at 03:53:48PM -0800, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> There is no language that does not use vast numbers of pointers.
> The only difference is in where the programmer is located that is
> responsible for handling them correctly. Anyone with sufficient
> experience and familiarity with the idioms and patterns of C
> programming will have few, if any, problems with pointers. Not
> having to deal with memory allocation and pointers directly buys
> convenience and a reduction in lines of code at the expense of
> performance.


This seems to break down to:

1. People familiar with C will have no real problems with pointers.

    Absolute rubbish. I programmed C for *years*, and they never
    stopped causing me trouble. This is true for 9/10ths of the
    programmers I've discussed this with.

2. Using pointers directly increases code speed.

    Even more incorrect. In the long run, performance is a factor
    of the big-O of the code, and I am, in general, *guaranteed* to
    come up with a worse (in terms of big-O) piece of code than
    someone who has, say, been studying sorting algorithms for their
    entire career. Thus, if I use a language that has such a
    sorting algorithm built into it, I am guaranteed to be better

    This is not to say that all languages without pointers are
    faster than all languages with them, but the idea that having
    direct access to memory pointers in a language *necessarily*
    makes things faster is preposterous.


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