Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Yes, to be clear, this is a huge improvement.

But it's sort of like living in a world where modern medicine has been discovered, and celebrating that one city has started moving away from leeching to treat fevers, while every other city is still practicing it, and that one city still uses leeching to treat many other diseases. Strictly speaking, it is an improvement, but....

"This solution isn't perfect therefore we shouldn't do it"?

That doesn't really seem like the right response to a culture of bloodletting, does it?

I was going for, let's quit bloodletting, but let's also not celebrate how we're occasionally no longer bloodletting, because it's still embarrassing how far behind modern medicine we are.

Bloodletting? That's just too crazy for words. The OpenBSD people produce first class code that's solves real problems in real production, and you compare it to witchcraft?

If you absolutely need speak in parables, do it with something that represents an earlier common practice, for example with producing houses with hammers and nails instead of modern pre-fab concrete blocks. But even that is stretching it a bit too far, the productivity difference simply isn't comparable.

Bloodletting isn't witchcraft. It removes iron from the body such that virii and bacteria trying to reproduce would have problems. It makes the host environment more hostile to the invading species. It has a lot of negative side effects and wasn't very effective, but it did have an effect.

Of course, some people did bloodlet for reasons that didn't help, but without knowledge of bacteria, many were just trying their best with what limited knowledge they did have.

I am sorry, I'm not following your extended analogy.

Could you please elaborate on what "bloodletting" and "modern medicine" represent here?

Not him, but my interpretation is that we're writing C with little testing (treating a few fevers) conforming to modern standards over C with little testing conforming to old standards (leeching).

We have languages like Rust and we have proof tools like Coq which can be leveraged to become more memory safe or more provably correct... using those tools would be like using modern medicine.

I don't think the analogy is really that great because those tools are still incredibly immature in terms of actual usability.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact