[rescue] spam WPOISON

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Mon Sep 8 16:38:36 CDT 2003

On Monday, September 8, 2003, at 05:27 PM, Curtis H. Wilbar Jr. wrote:
>>   The "right tool for the job" is not usually a matter of opinion.
> Maybe I was too emphatic when I said I wouldn't consider C... however
> it would not be my primary choice for this task.  Maybe if I had the
> hit rates in it some monster sized sites might have then it would 
> justify
> it and I would consider doing so...

   I think you just hit upon the root of our disagreement.  If I were to 
write such a program, I'd want to release it for free so that everyone 
could use it, not just me...no matter what hardware they're running and 
no matter what their hit rates look like.

   I know plenty of people who are running web servers on things like 
Sun3s and very old VAXen...A MicroVAX-II, for example, I'd guess would 
take several seconds just to start a Perl interpreter...but they run 
good C code like the dickens.  Such an anti-spam program, if written in 
C, would likely also be useful for that crowd.

>  but for what most would see the
> efficienty of speed is not necessary for such an application.  I really
> don't think that C is going to do the job so much more amazingly well
> such that it is necessary for this task.

   I think it would, but there's really not much point in arguing about 

>> (i.e. good error handling, etc) the fastest solution usually *is* the
>> best solution.
> I would say that this is an opinion (yours to be exact), and not 
> necessarily
> a fact.
> What about maintainability ?  What about portability ?  What about
> development time ?  etc...  the decision of what language to use to do
> the job "right" is not simply a decision of program speed or 
> efficienty...
> their are other factors.

   Maintainability?  Sure.  Portability?  Yes.  Development time...eh, a 
concern, but a minor one.  Personally, as a professional developer, I'm 
happier spending time actually *writing code* than trying to figure out 
new ways to avoid work.

   But, as I said in an earlier email, I believe I illustrated that 
point a bit too strongly.

   Maintainability and development time indeed...Keep in mind the fact 
that we're talking about bogus-address generator to make spammers' 
lives difficult.  If someone writes this in C, and it gets to be more 
than 2000 lines, there's something very, very wrong.

>>   You write it once, and you run it potentially billions of times.  In
>> recent years, there has been a very disturbing shift from "use 
>> language
>> xyz because it's better suited to the task" to "use language xyz
>> because it's easier".  The notion of programmer time being more
>> valuable than CPU time has always been bogus, and in this suit-fucked
>> economy with half the professional programmers on this list being
>> unemployed, it's even MORE bogus.
> I was taking the efficiency thing to an extreme to make a point.

   Well, so was I. :)

> Sure, 'C' is portable in a source form, but if you were making the 
> solution
> and were not going to distribute source, you could write in assembly 
> for
> each target platform you chose to support... maximal efficienty... 
> maximal
> effort.

   Agreed.  I guess I'd assumed we were talking about writing stuff 
that'd be released in source form, like pretty much everything else.

> Depending on what you want to do with a program, the effort to do it in
> C "efficiently" can be much greater than doing it in another language
> (like Perl, PHP, etc) in less time and with more readability, 
> maintainability,
> and possibly with less debugging (as some languages make things much
> easier to do than doing it yourself in C).

   Agreed.  There's more to life (and software development) than 
avoiding effort, though.

> Time to market, etc is not important ?  Maybe not from a technical 
> aspect,
> but from a business aspect it sure is.

   We're talking about a little piece of [presumably] free software to 
fight spammers, man.  People who worry too much about "business aspect" 
ARE the spammers.

> So maybe for this task, PHP is the best language for the job.  I echo
> that there is no one language good for all jobs.  I don't believe the
> C is necessarily the best for this job (that we were discussing).

   PHP is usually a buttload faster (and more efficient) than Perl, and 
embedding it into a web server is far less kludgy.  I'd say it's a 
better choice than Perl, but (and I fully acknowledge that THIS is an 
opinion) I'd still choose C to write something like this.  If you'd 
choose PHP instead, I'd not really argue with you about it (even if it 
were my business what language you write your software in, which it 
certainly isn't).


Dave McGuire                 "You don't have Vaseline in Canada?"
St. Petersburg, FL                     -Bill Bradford

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