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Date: 2005-03-30 (15:11)
From: Jacques Carette <carette@m...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] output type
Alex Baretta <> wrote:
> Xavier Leroy wrote:
> > It's a historical error.  [...]
> Whether fixing such historical errors engenders more benefits than trouble is a very interesting philosophical 
> question.

There are some conclusions on the topic of 'historical errors' that seem to hold:

- a software system is 'mature' if 'historical errors' cannot be fixed because of the overwhelming weight of backwards 
compatibility [ie progress is definitely hampered by inertia].
- this inertia is not nearly as bad as a lot of people fear (people go upgrade their OSes, compilers, etc even though 
this is sometimes a fair bit of work).  K&R C code bases did get migrated to ANSI C.

It all depends on whether the installed base is viewed as more/less important as the future integrity of the software 
system as a whole.  When I was in industry, I was in a position where I made the choice that future integrity was more 
important [and I did annoy the user base but improved the basic system a lot], and my successors made the opposite 
choice [which means that mostly do 'new' features and can't fix some well-known bugs that users have learned to work