Thursday, November 23, 2006

Closures and adding complexity to Java

Just for the record, here's the comment I posted on regarding the new closures proposal by Neal Gafter et al:

"Speaking of Closures, its hard not to agree with Josh Bloch on the new Closures proposal. He expressed serious concerns in his interview about further changing an already complex type system just to accommodate Closures. The current proposal seems more like engineering for the sake of it without thinking about the learning curve for a newbie. Open sourcing java will be mostly futile if we go the C++ way by introducing unnecessarily complex changes to the language based on the whims of theorists (even if they happen to be the pioneers in language theory). We need a more pragmatic solution that keeps in mind (the barriers to entry for) the average "Joe Java" as Josh says. The same way in which generics weren't over engineered to ape C++, we need a more practical approach to implementing Closures instead of merely looking to satiate the engineering appetite of a few individuals. "

The power of Java lies in its simplicity. We'd be killing the language by dragging it along the C++ path.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Renaming Bangalore to a toilet

I'm a Kannadiga, a native of Bangalore, born and brought up here. And the farthest forefather in my family tree I've known also lived here. So, theoretically speaking, I'm as Bangalorean as one can get. Good, bad or ugly, polluted, crowded by an immigrant population, bursting at it seams, plagued by infrastructural issues and all that, it remains dear to me - my home. The love of my life, really. I've also loved it for its colonial history and the resulting tinge of cosmopolitan quality that its always had. At the same time, its a city that's home to some stalwarts in Kannada literature, theatre, and cinema. And irrespective of what the immigrant population has called the city over the decades (yes, hard to believe, but Bangalore's weather has always attracted a sizable number of outsiders right through the 20th century), we have always called it Bengaluru. And even if you go by the Brits' version of it, I can't imagine a name more charming than Bangalore. And now, as if the rape that the city is being subjected to at the hands of the JDS government, greedy land developers (bringing down historical buildings every day to construct apartments to cater to the engineered real estate boom) and other parasites was not enough, that politician U.R. Anantha Murthy desperately seeking attention (having lost out in an attempt to win a seat in the parliament) proposes a change of name Benga-loo-ru ostensibly to make outsiders pronounce the city's name the way the locals do, and "restore pride in Kannada". Think of this for a second: try as you might, can you pronouce "Allapuzha" like a mallu, or the expansion of DMK like a true tam? Do you care? Do they care that you cannot? No. Because you cannot. You need not. You're not a local. On similar lines, I have enough pride as a Kannadiga & a Bangalorean to not be bothered about how outsiders pronounce the name of my city as long as they respect the city and its culture (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the spelling of the city). A language or a culture is too great in itself to require help from ordinary mortals in "deifying" it. It would've been a continued tribute to Bangalore's culture if it had two equally charming pronunciations used by different sets of people. But no - the attention seeking avaricious "guardians" of Karnataka have now come up with a spelling that has Bengal and loo in it. (I would've even settled for Bengaluru despite that name having bengal in it, but having a toilet in the name is a little too hard to digest. Gives me a constipation ).

From being a world renowned technology center (that never lost touch with its culture, mind you), we are now the laughing stock of the world with toilet in the name of our city. Not to mention the crores of rupees spent on the exercise. The possibilities of using the same cash for developmental efforts in a city groaning under its own weight are, to say the least, countless. Instead, the taxpayers money will now be swindled in the name of restoring Bangalore's pride. And this proposal comes from the same %$^* writer who also opposed English as an additional language in lower primary schools. The one person who's being doing Kannada and Karnataka great service, Mr.N.R. Narayana Murty, has exactly the opposite view on English in schools. But his exhortations fell on deaf ears. The greatest asset of the tech population (including locals) of Bangalore is the ability to converse in English effortlessly. And we will now be isolating ourselves from the rest of the world by imposing such draconian rules. We're marching towards being an incompetent, narrow-minded and, oh yes, "proud" culture.
I'm now well and truly embarrassed of my "culture".