develooper Front page | perl.perl6.language.regex | Postings from December 2000

Re: Perl 5's "non-greedy" matching can be TOO greedy!

From:
Deven T. Corzine
Date:
December 15, 2000 12:36
Subject:
Re: Perl 5's "non-greedy" matching can be TOO greedy!
Message ID:
Pine.LNX.4.10.10012151523490.31056-100000@escher.ties.org

On Fri, 15 Dec 2000, Jarkko Hietaniemi wrote:

> Please give it a rest.  I think everybody got it by now.  Everybody
> understands how the current implementation works and what the
> semantics are, and you disagree with the current semantics.

We may have to "agree to disagree".  I'm understand why people believe in
the current semantics, but I've seen no indication that anyone else
understands why I believe in these alternative semantics, or has tried.
(Disagreeing with my conclusion doesn't preclude understanding where I'm
coming from, but nobody seems to.)

> I think that's the end of story since changing current default semantics
> is simply not an option.

If I can't convince anyone, then the semantics obviously won't be changed
since everyone else considers them perfectly correct.  Then it's moot.

Supposing I convince everyone (an unlikely prospect, it now seems), why
would it be "simply not an option" to change it?  That seems arbitrary.

> We can't break all the existing programs that depend on the current
> stinginess semantics, period.  Now move on.

Well, obviously we could.  Maybe we shouldn't, but we could do it.  Many,
many existing programs depended on Perl 4's magic behavior with @'s in
double-quoted strings, yet Perl 5 broke them all with a fatal error during
the compile phase.  People survived.  They adapted and moved on.  Unlike
that incompatibility, this one would probably affect few programs.

I'm likely to give up this battle and move on soon, only because pursuing
it is like talking to a brick wall.  Nobody gives an inch or makes any
effort to put themselves in my shoes.  It's exhausting trying to convince
people whose minds are already closed about the topic at hand.  It's like
trying to convince Richard Stallman of something he's already made up his
mind against -- it would take a miracle.

Please don't take that the wrong way.  I respect everyone here, and even if
nobody sees my side of it, at least we've had some discussion about it;
that's a damn sight better than having the suggestion ignored.

Deven




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