Changing the Division Operator -- PEP 238, rev 1.12
paul at boddie.net
Thu Aug 2 11:10:42 CEST 2001
Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org> wrote in message news:<cpn15jydno.fsf at cj20424-a.reston1.va.home.com>...
> I've added this to the PEP now:
> Q. When will Python 3.0 be released?
> paul at boddie.net (Paul Boddie) writes:
> > I feel that most of the "noise" on this issue could have been avoided
> > had the intentions of the developers been communicated clearly from
> > the start.
> Much of the initial communication was done by people who hadn't read
> the PEP and misstated the plan (e.g. omitting the transitional period
> or the separate int division operator). Then others started
> complaining about the poorly laid-out plan -- again without reading
> the PEP. Typical usenet style -- I don't know how we could have
> avoided this.
Well, I wasn't just talking about people's responses to the plan. The
PEP in question wasn't exactly verbose about how the plan would be
executed, and the subsequent discussions did manage to raise a number
of valid issues. It may be clear to the Python development team how
this thing would be executed, but it certainly wasn't obvious to many.
Since we're discussing additions to the PEP now, it's clear that the
document always needed improving, and it would still be nice if the
document gave a better treatment of the subject of "migration".
> > To see a patch for some radical new functionality being
> > issued against an upcoming release, with only scant justification for
> > its inclusion and little *evident* consideration for the damage
> > possible to existing code, is almost guaranteed to scare and anger
> > people.
> Again, you're acting on hearsay. Had you tried or even just studied
> the patch that I initially posted, you would have noticed that the
> default semantics weren't changed by the patch.
I read the description of the patch and the PEP document, although I
may have skimmed the PEP too quickly on my first reading, but my point
is that people aren't solely influenced by the current state of
affairs, but also by what is supposedly the intended next step.
Personally, I felt that a major change to the language was just about
to be slipped in without no obvious way of me having known about it
before; and I do take the time to read comp.lang.python on a daily
> > I can see the benefits of making these changes in the context of a
> > numeric system overhaul, but what seemed to be communicated was, "This
> > is going to change because I never liked it in the first place and
> > can't bear to wake up every morning knowing that it's there." This
> > doesn't justify some of the comments made on the subject, but it does
> > justify the sense of alarm expressed by a number of people.
> Words put in my mouth.
Not really, since I said that this was what "seemed" to be
communicated. ;-) Perhaps I didn't get to read the most official and
crucial messages on the subject, but I seem to remember that only
after the other numeric system PEPs were cited as justification for
this change were people happier about the motivations for it. It
appeared that earlier justifications centred upon your regret for
having introduced the present division semantics in the first place.
In short, and despite the logistical problems that the PEP presents to
Python coders, the most unfortunate aspect of this whole affair has
been the way it has been communicated.
"Beware of the leopard!"-ly-y'rs, Paul
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