Disclaimers and excuses

Part of C++ FQA Lite

This page lists a bunch of disclaimers and excuses, in no particular order.

I know C++ better than it deserves, but I could make errors. If you find some, I'd be grateful if you told me.

The same goes for English, except for the "better than it deserves" part.

It is technically possible to write "good" code in C++, for many reasonable definitions of "good". Choosing not to work on a project just because it uses C++ may be a dumb decision. Criticizing software just because it's written in C++ is not very bright, either.

Throughout the FQA, there are places where the text passionately argues with people vaguely defined as "C++ promoters" or the like. This is supposed to be purely rhetorical. I can't and shouldn't judge the intentions, the competence or any other personal traits of real people somehow related to C++.

It's the same with the criticism of "C++ users". For the record, some of my knowledge of C++ was obtained through rather time consuming experimentation, performed under the wrong assumption that it has to pay off when I finally plug all the holes. The purpose of this confession is to show one reason I have to avoid personally offending people desperately trying to make C++ do something useful.

The FQA's answers to the "frequently asked questions" typically argue with the FAQ's answers. This only has a chance to be interesting when the FAQ's position represents the opinions of a large subset of the C++ devotees out there. Which is probably not always true.

I couldn't directly quote the FAQ's answers in order to argue with them (Marshall Cline, the FAQ author, didn't respond to my request regarding this). So I summarized the answers instead. My summaries had to be biased no matter what I did, so I made the bias fairly explicit. I hope the links to the original compensate for the loss of information, although I did try to make most of my summaries informative, not just biased. I also recommend to check out the original answers - some of them can be quite entertaining, and some may do a great job convincing you that something is deeply wrong with the C++ community. I quoted the questions themselves verbatim, under the assumption that they are not copyrighted work of any specific person, since they are, after all, asked frequently.

The FQA doesn't show examples of code written in programming languages other than C and C++. I believe that for any new project, there's a much better language than C++. Moreover, that language can be virtually any of the languages popular today if it's compatible with the basic requirements imposed by the problem domain. I didn't want to put any emphasis on a particular alternative to C++, because choosing one is largely a matter of taste; writing and testing examples in many languages felt like too much work. I singled out C as the single explicitly mentioned alternative to C++ because I find that its superiority to C++ is pretty funny considering the circumstances. However, in many cases I mention "other languages" which have things C doesn't have (safe execution, reflection, etc.); typically, I refer to Python/Ruby/..., Java/C#/..., and Lisp/Scheme/... families of languages in those places. All these languages run in managed environments; if you choose to sacrifice safety for performance, check out the D language.

Several FAQ sections are omitted. Some of those don't talk about C++ features, some repeat stuff mentioned in other sections, and some deal with things discussing which wouldn't add anything new to the FQA (for example, private inheritance - the FQA talks quite a lot about C++ access control already). On the other hand, the FQA does repeat itself in many places.

The opinions in the FQA are my own, and are not supposed to represent the opinions of anybody else.

Finally, the following sentence is only here to attract a certain set of search engine users interested in our subject, and should not be interpreted as the summary of my point of view on the complicated issues discussed:


Copyright © 2007-2009 Yossi Kreinin
revised 17 October 2009