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Principles for C programming

15 Mar 2017

In the words of Doug Gwyn, “Unix was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things”. C is a very powerful tool, but it is to be used with care and discipline. Learning this discipline is well worth the effort, because C is one of the best programming languages ever made. A disciplined C programmer will…

Compiler devnotes: Machine specs

22 Feb 2017

I have a number of long-term projects that I plan for on long timelines, on the order of decades or more. One of these projects is cozy, a C toolchain. I haven’t talked about this project in public before, so I’ll start by introducing you to the project. The main C toolchains in the “actually usable” category are GNU and LLVM, but I’m satisfied with neither and I want to build my own toolchain. I see no reason why compilers should be deep magic. Here are my goals for cozy:

Lessons to learn from C

30 Jan 2017

C is my favorite language, though I acknowledge that it has its warts. I’ve tried looking at languages people hope will replace C (Rust, Go, etc), and though they’ve improved on some things they won’t be supplanting C in my life any time soon. I’ll share with you what makes C a great language to me. Take some of these things as inspiration for the next C replacement you write.

The only problem with Python 3's str is that you don't grok it

13 Jan 2017

I’ve found myself explaining Python 3’s str to people online more and more often lately. There’s this ridiculous claim about that Python 3’s string handling is broken or somehow worse than Python 2, and today I intend to put that myth to rest. Python 2 strings are broken, and Python 3 strings are sane. The only problem is that you don’t grok strings.

Actually, you CAN do it

06 Jan 2017

I maintain a lot of open source projects. In order to do so, I have to effectively manage my time. Most of my projects follow this philosophy: if you want something changed, send a patch. If you are running into an annoying bug, fix it and send a patch. If you want a new feature, implement it and send a patch. It’s definitely a good idea to talk about it beforehand on the issue tracker or IRC, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this processes ends with someone else doing it for you.