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Red Hat Releases Ceylon Language 1.0.0

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the everyone-is-doing-it dept.

Programming 159

First time accepted submitter Gavin King writes with news that the Ceylon language hit 1.0 "Ceylon 1.0 is a modern, modular, statically typed programming language for the Java and JavaScript virtual machines. The language features, an emphasis upon readability and a strong bias toward omission or elimination of potentially-harmful constructs; an extremely powerful type system combining subtype and parametric polymorphism with declaration-site variance, including first-class union and intersection types, and using principal types for local type inference and flow-dependent typing; a unique treatment of function and tuple types, enabling powerful abstractions; first-class constructs for defining modules and dependencies between modules; a very flexible syntax including comprehensions and support for expressing tree-like structures; and fully-reified generic types, on both the JVM and JavaScript virtual machines, and a unique typesafe metamodel. More information may be found in the feature list and quick introduction." If you think Ceylon is cool, you might find Ur/Web interesting too.

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159 comments

Cool! (5, Interesting)

warrax_666 (144623) | about 5 months ago | (#45414331)

One of the few languages in recent times with an interesting type system which isn't just a trivial rehash of existing (in practice) ones.

Re:Cool! (5, Interesting)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 5 months ago | (#45414937)

I'd like to see a type system that can help enforce units (like mass * distance = force). If it were really lightweight (in typing) to create types with meaningful units, it could protect you from accidentally adding things like Mbits with MBytes.

Re:Cool! (5, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 months ago | (#45414963)

You'd love Haskell.

Re:Cool! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416069)

You'd love Haskell.

I hear a lot of scheme-brained hares saying this.

But I assure you, you're wrong.

Re:Cool! (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 months ago | (#45416179)

I was about to write that too. Type enforcement like he is asking for is trivial in Haskell. So seconded.

Re:Cool! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45417103)

I can see enforcing types for say, current and resistance, but what about the fact that current times resistance is voltage? I can see having a voltage type too, but do you have to write the rules for every combination of units that result in a different unit, or is there a more clever way to handle that?

Re:Cool! (2)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 5 months ago | (#45415321)

Well, force = mass * distance/time^2, but that probably wasn't your point. (or perhaps it was HAH!)

I tried to do that once, it turnes out to get pretty complicated if you don't have compleate symbolic manipulation library at your disposal. Simple unit */ another unit was easy, but then when they were hard to simplify because one unit was to the (1/3) power, my c++ class system couldn't handle it.

I eneded up simply requiring out group to always put units on their variable names so we could follow the code easily. So, now I always to int interval_ms = 5000; or float box_distance_km = 10; (Time and length were the most common errors)

Re:Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416227)

You suck. Never heard of MLT dimensions?

Re:Cool! (1, Insightful)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 5 months ago | (#45415491)

Been there done that in C++. Check Barton and Nackman.

Re:Cool! (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45416109)

I find one of the most effective techniques is just to enforce the rule that any variable that represents a physical quantity must have the units appended to it, using std SI notation, like massCannonBall_kg, or distanceToOuthouse_m. It also helps to insist that all units be base units. With floating point, why use _kOhm or _MOhm, when you can just use _Ohm for everything? It eliminates confusion and errors to stick to base units, and you can easily convert for convenient user I/O.

Re:Cool! (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about 5 months ago | (#45417217)

like massCannonBall_kg, or distanceToOuthouse_m. It also helps to insist that all units be base units. With floating point, why use _kOhm or _MOhm, when you can just use _Ohm for everything?

Because kOhm is the natural unit, just like kg? Or is that domain specific?

Re:Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416635)

Wouldn't it be better to enforce mass * acceleration = force ? ;-)

Re:Cool! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45415081)

trivial rehash of existing (in practice) ones.

This is no time to be bashing Objective-C

Re:Cool! (3, Funny)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#45415693)

I swear I thought that said Cylon language and I started thinking, first Klingon and now Cylon?

Re:Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45415771)

Ceylon, like the tea. Not Cylon, like our new robot overlords, which I, for one, welcome!

Thank goodness (3, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 5 months ago | (#45415947)

...for Python.

I can continue to completely ignore the incredible, writhing mess that is java and its ecosystem.

Go ahead, mod me down, then go back to fighting with Java. I'll just continue being productive. :)

Re:Thank goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416323)

And by productive, you mean counting indentation spaces to figure out where the spurious, erratic logic bug is in your software.

Shite (5, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#45414441)

The language features, an emphasis upon readability and a strong bias toward omission or elimination of potentially-harmful constructs

Like that comma?

Re:Shite (1)

somersault (912633) | about 5 months ago | (#45414473)

Well, technically it would have been better being altered to a colon if the semi-colon separated list were to parse correctly.. though a human brain would just issue a warning rather than an error here.

Buzzword much ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45414445)

I'm sorry, I'd really like to be interested by this, but the second and last sentence is just the usual marketing bullshit that each newest language has been serving us in the past years.

So, here comes the usual question we always end up asking when such a thread shows up: could you give us a simple and clear explanation of what is so good about it as well as the traditional comparison of advantages/disadvantaged of this language with other similar ones.

Thanks

The Internet

Enough already. (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | about 5 months ago | (#45414453)

There are to many programming languages.

Re:Enough already. (4, Insightful)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 5 months ago | (#45414607)

Honestly, I'd be happy with just a C variant with built-in string support.

Re:Enough already. (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about 5 months ago | (#45414719)

Honestly, I'd be happy with just a C variant with built-in string support.

Doesn't D have that?

Re:Enough already. (4, Informative)

ReAn1985 (906976) | about 5 months ago | (#45415949)

D does! [dlang.org] . But D also has so [dlang.org] many [dlang.org] neat [dlang.org] features. [dlang.org]

D is wonderful, and it can interop with C / C++ or write inline ASM for you micro-optimists out there.

Re:Enough already. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45417307)

The the extent I've looked at it, D seems like a great language. Maybe it doesn't get much attention because it's not one of the new cool (i.e. rehashed) languages, but it'd fill an important role. In many ways it's C++ done right. That fills the need for a language that's higher level than C, without all the historical baggage and minefield complexity of C++, and compiles to fast binary. I know lots of people these days say Java (or whatever your favorite slower language is) is fast enough, programming costs outweigh hardware costs, blah, blah, blah. In many cases that's true, but there are still plenty of cases where a 2x speed improvement is very important. Binary executables ain't dead.

One thing I'm curious about though is whether D can pull off the "have your cake and eat it too" approach of using garbage collection by default, but being able to disable it when needed. Does it have a set of libraries that can do both, or are they all heavily GC dependent?

Lastly, will it ever become popular? The two ways I can think of are that it becomes so popular in the FOSS community that it starts migrating over to workplaces, or if a major company champions it for their own use (the #2 D guy Alexandrescu works at Facebook).

Re:Enough already. (0)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 5 months ago | (#45414833)

Then write yourself or ask a friend a c++ string class with the "operator overloading" you need. Then use a c++ compiler to compile your C code.

OTOH ... the languages you use limit the way how you think about problems and hence it limits your solutions and approaches.

I hope you have at least managed ONE single high level language (and no, C is not a high level language, it is a portable assembler, that is all)

Re:Enough already. (1)

narcc (412956) | about 5 months ago | (#45415311)

That was painful. Really. I can't believe that anyone, even you, could write such total nonsense.

What's with the bit about the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis in the middle of that screed? Have you been drinking?

Re:Enough already. (2)

jandrese (485) | about 5 months ago | (#45415447)

If I was making a language that was C with a few more features, I wouldn't stop at just better string handling. I would also include a method of inspecting the heap so a function passed a pointer knows just how much storage is available at that pointer. I would also steal C++'s single line comment delimiter (//), and pass by value mechanic. I'd also build a first class regex utility into stdlib, but that's just me.

Re:Enough already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45414875)

Having more languages is better than having fewer. For people like you who don't like choice, you can just pick the first one on the list. Some of us like exploring new things.

Re:Enough already. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45416241)

How many new languages really have anything new or interesting? Most just seem like whatever struck the author as a "best of" list. I'm learning Haskell out of curiosity, because it's genuinely different from other languages I know. However, knowing Perl and Python, learning Ruby or Lua strikes me about as interesting as watching paint dry. You can argue until hell freezes over about the pros and cons of different ones, but is there really that much difference? I'm not worried about saying that, because I'm wearing my Nomex undies today. If it makes any Ruby or Lua fans happy though, I'd feel the same way about learning Python if, for example, I already knew Ruby or Lua.

Re:Enough already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416463)

Horses for courses, young man, horses for courses. FORTH must you learn. (scheme, try, out, too).

Re:Enough already. (1)

RDW (41497) | about 5 months ago | (#45416505)

Having more languages is better than having fewer.

Tell that to the guys who were trying to build that great big tower in the land of Shinar! Enki might agree, though.

Why use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45414465)

Why would anyone want to learn yet another language? What's the benefit for people to invest more time into learning a language?

I understand the basics of a language are usually pretty easy to pick up: read the syntax quick sheet, and you are good to go. But it still means a drop in productivity for a while.

What makes them think people will want to use this? I guess, they already have enough users, since this is a version 1.0 release .. ?

Re:Why use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45414999)

I think your approach will be difficult for Scheme (closures) or Haskell (monads).

Re:Why use this? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45416263)

Haskell is a truly different language, but what's the big deal about Python vs. Ruby Vs. Lua?

Syntax is everything! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416549)

Haven't you heard! We discuss this all the time behind the bike shed!

Re:Syntax is everything! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45417361)

The farmer's daughter joins you behind the bike shed and you want to debate programming languages? New hypothesis: geeks rarely get lucky because they don't even realize when it's offered to them.

P.S. There was a good Big Bang Theory episode about that.

Re:Why use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417301)

Op here. Hahah yes I agree.. I don't know Haskell, but we learned Scheme in our freshman CS class, and boy did it turn us upside down (at least it did, for me).

After that class, though, I was really much more 'receptive' to new language styles and concepts.. it really helped me understand recursion well, too. And.. BUBBLE DIAGRAMS. Lol.

Re:Why use this? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 5 months ago | (#45415353)

> What's the benefit for people to invest more time into learning a language?

In this case it lets you use a different language than Java in a JVM. That has to be a good thing, regardless of the language.

Re:Why use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45415999)

Why would anyone want to learn yet another language?

Because some languages are superior for some tasks, and if you don't know about them, you're making your life harder.

I'm not arguing that Ceylon is superior in any regard (I've yet to use it), but I am arguing that learning new languages can greatly benefit you in the long run.

I used to think I knew all the languages I'd need. Then I discovered Erlang and found it to be the best solution in some cases, vastly superior (for those specific problems) to any other languages I knew at the time. After that, I stopped thinking I knew it all and decided to evaulate new languages more often.

Re:Why use this? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45417407)

Then I discovered Erlang and found it to be the best solution ...

We should recognize a new class of Language Wars for functional languages. Allow me the honor of firing the opening salvo: Erlang sucks, Haskell rulez! (not that I know Erlang, but why should I bother to learn it when it's such a lousy language).

So...Off-brand Scala? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45414695)

Reading the language description, I don't see anything notably distinct from Scala. If anything, Ceylon seems a bit clunkier. The one upside appears to be baked in translation into JS, but others have already provided a Scala -> JS parser.

Re:So...Off-brand Scala? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416361)

There is one benefit of Ceylon over Java: they don't allow operator overloading. I'll agree that the Ceylon type system syntactically seems clunkier than Scala's, though.

Re:So...Off-brand Scala? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417483)

First class union and intersection types
First class module system
Syntax that's geared toward readability
First class IDE support

Yep... no differences at all.

its good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45414883)

*puts on sunglasses* ..but its no c++

Re:its good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45415859)

And it's good that it's not C++.

Fits partially with tradition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45414887)

This fits only partially with the long tradition of companies creating languages. C started at AT&T, JavaScript started with Netsscape, Java came from Sun.

What's missing is that it isn't shipping with some other major system. C had Unix. JavaScript had the browser. Java had Sun's server ecosystem.

This isn't shipping with something everybody uses, so it might have a hard time. Compare and contrast with BASIC shipping on 8-bit computers. BASIC sucked; but it was there so you used it.

The other great language tradition is individual programmer itch-scratching (Ruby, Perl).

This one doesn't seem to fit well with either tradition. Union types and a cleaner version of XML inside the language don't seem to be that compelling. I think obscurity is a safe bet; but then it usually is for new languages.

Re:Fits partially with tradition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45415075)

So what sort of "language tradition" does PHP fall under?

I think we need a third kind of language tradition: the one where you take simply what you like from other languages and dump it all together into a singular clusterfuck.

Re:Fits partially with tradition (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 5 months ago | (#45415351)

We're sitting here bitching about how much PHP sucks while Mark Zuckerberg sits on billions of dollars an application still mostly built on the language.

I love language wars, but the truth is while fanatics like me are looking for the perfect blend of our favorite features and abstractions from Lisp/Haskell/Scala/C++/APL/Ceylon/Clojure/Python/Ruby/Perl6/J, the people using PHP, Python, Perl, Java, and especially C and C++ rule the world.

Re:Fits partially with tradition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45415887)

Yeah. What else are people going to use except whatever already is out there? There are programming languages, and there are people who use them.

You seem to have this idea that those two distinct notions are somehow connected.

Re:Fits partially with tradition (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45416339)

If you want billions, the choice of language doesn't matter. If you've ever seen the Curious George movie though, you'll understand that the real money is in parking garages.

Re:Fits partially with tradition (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45416303)

So what sort of "language tradition" does PHP fall under?

The tradition of using PCP [wikipedia.org] . Did you think that the name similarity is a coincidence?

I can see HR all over it... (2)

deimios666 (1040904) | about 5 months ago | (#45415177)

Ceylon developers wanted with at least 5 years experience with the language.
Submit your resume till December 1st, 2013...

Re:I can see HR all over it... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 5 months ago | (#45416785)

You'll have people coming out of the woodwork claiming to have been a part of the team that created the language

Comparison to Java (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 5 months ago | (#45415217)

Since Ceylon seems to be Java inspired, I looked for a comparison of the two but didn't find one. Wikipedia's entry about it [wikipedia.org] says, "The project is described to be what a language and SDK for business computing would look like if it were designed today, keeping in mind the successes and failures of the Java language and Java SE SDK." That nice, but can anyone here supply some details?

Ur/Web? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45415219)

Ur/Web is really, really, really cool! I don't see what it has to do with Ceylon though - a better link would have been to Scala or to Kotlin.

But.. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 5 months ago | (#45415315)

>combining subtype and parametric polymorphism with declaration-site variance, including first-class union and intersection types, and using principal types for local type inference and flow-dependent typing; a unique treatment of function and tuple types, enabling powerful abstractions; first-class constructs for defining modules and dependencies between modules; a very flexible syntax including comprehensions and support for expressing tree-like structures; and fully-reified generic types, on both the JVM and JavaScript virtual machines, and a unique typesafe metamodel

But how do I make it *do* something?

It's all very well being able to lock down what something is, but programmer cannot live on types alone.

Brain Dead (-1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 5 months ago | (#45415415)

Any language that has strict typing is brain dead. People do not think in types. Ask anyone on the street: how do you multiple by ten? They answer: put a zero on the end. That's string manipulation, not arithmetic. People automatically switch from numbers to strings and back to numbers without thinking about it. People do not think in types.

Re:Brain Dead (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 5 months ago | (#45415533)

3.14 * 10 == 3.140?

(And what would that have to do with anything anyway? And actually, the popularity of the phrase "You're comparing apples to oranges!" shows that, actually, people do think in types, and get annoyed when others treat one type as another unthinkingly.

Re:Brain Dead (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 5 months ago | (#45415781)

People can learn to think in types. But that's a learnt ability, not a natural one.

Re:Brain Dead (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 5 months ago | (#45415829)

Really? So when someone goes to the supermarket, puts 5 oranges in their cart, they wouldn't notice if the store manager were to wait until they're not looking, and replace the oranges with peanuts?

People actually think in types ALL THE TIME. You have to unlearn types as part of the process of learning how to program, learning how to turn real world situations into generic rules.

So no, you have it totally wrong. Yes, type safety trips up many programmers, although for the most part it's not that they can't understand it, or fail to know what to do when their program doesn't compile, it's just annoying being reminded there's a bug in their app.

Re:Brain Dead (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 5 months ago | (#45416239)

Consider: int x; What happens here? x = 3.1415; Does x hold the correct value? No. But if x was a scalar, then: x = int( 3.1415 ); says exactly what is happening. Type safety places restrictions on what can be done and programmer have to memorize the rules because they're not natural to his thinking. It's because of all the things that programmers have to memorize that programming is hard. The more things a programmer have to remember, the more bugs he will create. Having to write int() every time he wants an integer: 1. decreases bugs, and 2. makes the code more readable. Types are not natural; they were created to make compiler writing easier. They do not make programming easier, just the opposite. They make programming harder because the force the programmer to remember more things.

Re:Brain Dead (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 months ago | (#45417267)

adding the '0' is not natural, it's a learned trick.

I'd argue that multiplication beyond adding stones and counting isn't natural though.

Re:Brain Dead (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45417485)

People can learn to think in types. But that's a learnt ability, not a natural one.

So fractions and decimals are a natural way to think? Most kids in the earliest grades could disabuse you of that notion.

Re:Brain Dead (-1, Flamebait)

glwtta (532858) | about 5 months ago | (#45415673)

What an idiotic thing to say.

I don't really care what people on the street do - programmers think in types.

Re:Brain Dead (0)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 5 months ago | (#45415881)

Like javascript? 1+2 = 12?

If you are not going to have strong types, then you must use a different operator for string concatenation vs. math. The above is one reason I can't stand javascript.

Re:Brain Dead (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 5 months ago | (#45416151)

In Perl: my $x = 1 + 2; my $y = '1' . '2'; Yup, not using arithmetic operators for anything but arithmatic is a good idea.

Re:Brain Dead (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45416367)

Speak for yourself. Like most people I learned the difference between integers and reals, and between numbers and the notation for numbers, before high school.

Concurrency (4, Insightful)

Ted Stockwell (2878303) | about 5 months ago | (#45415451)

I have no interest in a new language that has concurrency story at all.
Any new language needs to address the biggest development challenge of this time - coding for multiple cores.

Re:Concurrency (1)

lavaforge (245529) | about 5 months ago | (#45415725)

Is it really the language's job to bake that in? Akka should run on Ceylon without much issue, unless they've really changed things since I last looked at it.

Re:Concurrency (1)

Ted Stockwell (2878303) | about 5 months ago | (#45416057)

Is it really the language's job to bake that in?

Why build a better type system, or any type system at all, when I can just call everything an Object?
A better type system makes it easier for developers to create correctly working, and efficient, code.
Coding for concurrency is very difficult and a proper concurrency approach (ala Go or Rust) make it much easier for developers to develop correctly working, and efficient, code.
Add-on libraries like Akka make things a little easier but can't help nearly as much as a properly designed concurrency architecture.

Re:Concurrency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416917)

Well, if you don't make concurrency the job of the language AND the OS, you only will have the same non scalable piss poor performance we've had so far, were running two programs each spawning threads step on each other.

http://gradha.github.io/articles/2013/10/40-years-later-we-still-cant-be-friends.html

Re:Concurrency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416101)

ERROnoR:
out of order log write detected

harmful constructs (2, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about 5 months ago | (#45415501)

Any language that states as a goal: omission or elimination of potentially-harmful constructs, but keeps the awful C construct:

if (x = 3)
{ ...
}

is not really serious about elimination of harmful constructs.

Re:harmful constructs (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416575)

That example does not compile in Ceylon with a compile error that disproves your claim:

            expression must be of boolean type: Integer is not assignable to Boolean

            variable value x = 3;

            if ( x = 4 )
            {

            }

Re:harmful constructs (4, Informative)

preflex (1840068) | about 5 months ago | (#45416997)

That example does not compile in Ceylon with a compile error that disproves your claim:

expression must be of boolean type: Integer is not assignable to Boolean

variable value x = 3;

if ( x = 4 ) {

}

if(x=true) ...

This is still bad.

Misread the title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45415617)

"Cylon" language.

That would be a mixed blessing. On the downside, near-genocide by a treacherous world-wide WMD strike. On the upside, a chance to score some hot skinjob action.

Nah, who am I kidding. No Cylon is that desperate for anything (secrets, access, weird geek fetishes).

5 Years Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45416215)

Hi, I'd like to hire a Ceylon Developer. It's entry level for $10/hour. They just need 5+ years experience.

mkay, thx, goodbye.

- HR

Red Hat's plans (5, Interesting)

Kongming (448396) | about 5 months ago | (#45416767)

I am curious as to Red Hat's practical motivations for creating this language. Specifically, do they plan on integrating it in their existing business or projects in any way?

Potentially (1)

Art3x (973401) | about 5 months ago | (#45417161)

elimination of potentially-harmful constructs

When did English speakers fall in love with the word potentially?

We already have a single word for potentially harmful: it's called dangerous.

Even worse is the infestation of the phrase could potentially, which means the same thing as could.

Re:Potentially (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45417517)

i thought the synonym for potentially harmful amongst engineers was "useful".
gasoline is potentially harmful. it is also useful.

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