[Rd] attributes of environments

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at gmail.com
Wed Jul 5 20:23:58 CEST 2006

On 7/5/06, Simon Urbanek <simon.urbanek at r-project.org> wrote:
> Gabor,
> On Jul 5, 2006, at 1:16 PM, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:
> >> It really is the way R is designed to work. Whether it is a
> >> problem or not is a separate issue. Environments really are
> >> references, not values, and they really work differently from the
> >> way most other objects work.
> >
> > OK.  Its not a bug but as we discuss this it seems to me that its
> > current operation is undesirable
> We discuss it only because *you* think it's undesirable...
> > since environments don't seem to fit into the scheme that other
> > objects do yet different design/implement would allow this to occur.
> >
> Environments are different *on purpose*, what environments do cannot
> be achieved using any other 'standard' object. And it's exactly
> environment's behavior on assign that makes it useful, so what you
> are proposing is basically making it into a list (so that it gets
> copied on assign), which makes no sense. What you really want is
> something other than an environment, but you insist on using an
> environment - it's like insisting on using a screwdriver on a nail -
> it's not the screwdriver's fault that it doesn't work ...
> .. and since you pounding on OO - environments are the closest you
> can get to an object semantics as implemented in the most popular OO
> languages, so I wonder why you aren't arguing to make all objects
> into references ;).
> Cheers,
> Simon

I don't think ad hominem arguments and unsupported statements that
things "make no sense" or analogies to screwdrivers have any relevance
to this discussion.  I think by this time I have shown that subclassing of
environments does not work yet it could if it were designed differently
and furthermore there are significant problems with the workarounds.

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