[aur-general] [off-topic][ansible-aur] call for comment on pull request 50

Roland Puntaier roland.puntaier at chello.at
Tue Feb 2 17:18:14 UTC 2021

On Mon 21Feb01 16:34, Konstantin Gizdov via aur-general wrote:
>On 2/1/21 12:50 PM, Roland Puntaier via aur-general wrote:
>> On Mon 21Jan25 13:32, alad via aur-general wrote:
>>> In this thread, 0 (as a neutral element for addition, or zero element
>>> for multiplication) is conflated with the empty set (which has
>>> *cardinality* zero).
>>> As such I would kindly ask people to stop using "mathematics" to make
>>> their argument look legitimate.
>>> Alad
>>> PS. https://www.hillelwayne.com/post/divide-by-zero/
>> What you say, sounds to me like:
>> A: he is smart.
>> B: No, you conflate he with a person. "he" consists of "h.e" and smart
>> of "s.m.a.r.t".
>>    How can he be smart?
>While it might indeed sound that way, it is almost certainly not meant
>to. A person can be smart, but being smart does not make you a person.
>Dolphins have been shown to be very smart and some researchers even say
>that octopuses rival or even exceed the smarts of people in some areas.
>However, in both these examples, none of the things being smart are people.

I'm by no means offended. I was just kind of amused and decided to make a joke out of it.
I did not want to offend either, of course.
What I wanted to say is just:

Symbols and names address actual things. Quite a few even more things (homonyms).
When using a language like English one normally means the thing addressed not the name/symbol.
If more things are meant, the context should make clear what actual thing is meant.
In the case of 0, since the talk was to accept an empty list, that empty list is the 0.

0 stands for the neutral element in a algebraic group. The empty set is such a neutral element.
With number, like 5 apples, the average person thinks of a set of 5 apples.
0 apples is like accepting a basket without apples.

By using 0 I wanted to say, that mathematicians, which I regard as the programmers,
before the time of computing, did create structures (programs) that had the neutral element.
The generalization allowed to describe the structure (program) with less properties (code).
So the idea is there for a long time already.

I don't know how the division came up.
We were talking about adding package, which would be a +.
There can be structures/programs without division and multiplication.
The group is such a structure.

>In any case, this is besides the point. You were given an opportunity to
>have this fixed with no effort on your part [1], but if I understand
>correctly, you did not like the way it was going to be implemented, even
>though it would have worked exactly as you wanted on the surface. I
>think your objection had the opposite effect and had the maintainer
>research a bit and change their mind on the whole idea.

Yes, as explained it seemed against my logic NOT to accept an empty list.
Especially in the case of `ansible`, were people make variables all the time.
The `ansible` variable becomes a Python variable. So 

packages=[] #from ansible playbook
if not packages:
     error("'name' cannot be empty")
for package in packages:

I would not have escalated this to the mailing list.
`kewlfft` asked me to.
And I did, because I expected to get some opinion in favor of accepting an empty list.
But then there was the same argument "pacman does return an error, too".


More information about the aur-general mailing list