Phil Tomson wrote:
> Austin Ziegler  <halostatue / gmail.com> wrote:
>>Which is one of the many reasons that I have a problem with the
>>alioth shootout. Ultimately, it tries to treat compiled, semi-
>>compiled, and interpreted languages equally. They're not. Compiled
>>languages will be faster than semi-compiled (bytecode), which will
>>be faster than interpreted. The level of speed difference is a
>>matter of scale, and that scale also matters on development time and
>>clarity.
> 
> I have to say that I tend to agree with the astonishment.
> 
> Here's what I mean:
> Someone comes along and asks about python vs. Ruby performance and 
> references the alioth benchmarks.  Several folks jump on the alioth 
> benchmarks and call them bogus.  I see this as blaming the messanger.

That's putting it politely. The argument against, which has merit, is
stated with so much hyperbole that it damages its own credibility.

First, there are the ad hominem attacks. Words like "brainless", "inane"
and "bullshit". Don't tell me these aren't personal; they are.

Then there's the rhetorical exaggeration: If this benchmark has flaws,
then it has no value. If this benchmark has no value, then no benchmarks
have value. Culminating, of course, in "Benchmarks, like statistics, are
lies." I suppose I could be charitable and interpret that as a
hyperbolic way to say "Benchmarks, like statistics, tell only part of
the story. Use caution in their construction and interpretation." If
that's what was meant, then the original statement is itself,
ironically, a "lie" in precisely the same way. If it was meant
literally, then it betrays a deep ignorance of the practice of science
and engineering, among other things.

In my line of work, we use benchmarks and statistics extensively. They
may be useful for lying; so what? They are far more powerful for telling
the truth.

Steve