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From "Ron O'Hara" <>
Subject Re: Apache++
Date Sat, 16 May 1998 22:11:42 GMT

On Sat, 16 May 1998, Ben Laurie wrote:

> Ron O'Hara wrote:
> > 
> > Ben,
> > 
> > My uncolicited comment on the C++ v/s C question is this.
> > 
> > Try to get a head count (rough estimate) of the people who can
> > read/inspect/debug code written in C++ and in C.
> > 
> > I dont have any numbers but it's a safe bet that 'C' programmers are more
> > plentiful - after all, all C++ programmers can write C, but the reverse is
> > not true.
> > 
> > The size of the developer/review population is an important element in any
> > Open Source project.
> > 
> > Proposing the use of C++ is proposing a reduction in the manpower
> > available to support Apache.. This directly undermines one of the main
> > strengths behind the development method of the Apache group.
> > 
> > For my $0.02, thats a bad idea. It outweighs any technical advantage of
> > one language over another.
> If I were to buy that argument I'd be forced to suggest we write Apache
> in Visual Basic or Perl.
> I certainly agree that the number of people who can read and write the
> code is important, but it isn't the only factor.
> I would also argue that only the core C++ needs truly competent C++
> programmers. Stuff around the edges can be done by those who are not
> completely au fait with C++, just as already happens with C.
> Cheers,
> Ben.

Aw... really - VB or Perl...not technically suitable for high performance
tuned system level stuff like Apache.

I dont dispute many of the arguments you present for C++ over C from a
technical perspective. I just make the point that in the tools available
for building Apache, C is the lowest common denominator. It is powerful
(and fragile), and has the widest 'people' support.

As you know changing any basic tactic in an established product is only
achieved with a degree of pain. Look at the symbol hiding changes (which I
personally needed) - its a good change but will cause lots of grief when
1.3.0 is released. I'm still working on the impact to the modules I have.

A shift to C++ would cause even more pain. I for one have resisted bending
my head around C++ for years...just too much effort for little return in
my busy day. (Ok, so I can read/write it if needed - but uggh, which class
libraries was that code written with ?)

The result of any change to C++ would be to drag the public (programmer)
support down a bit. Lots of people will take my view - and not bother with
trying to get a grip on a new core source tree. That means that the review
process will be weakened - a fundamentally bad idea for the project, even
if the technical foundation is theoretically (or actually) stronger.

Still only my $0.02 - but probably shared by good percentage of the Apache
users around the world. My key point is that the peer review element is
one of the powerful components that makes Apache (and Linux, PostgreSQL
etc) work well. Weakening that for technical arguments that are not 'show
stoppers' is a bad idea.

Anyway - last word is yours..and then I think we should let this thread

Ron O'Hara 

> -- 
> Ben Laurie            |Phone: +44 (181) 735 0686|  Apache Group member
> Freelance Consultant  |Fax:   +44 (181) 735 0689|
> and Technical Director|Email: |
> A.L. Digital Ltd,     |Apache-SSL author
> London, England.      |"Apache: TDG"

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