Scott Dial wrote:
Given the large body of code that already follows PEP8 (and other style guides for other languages that commonly use an 80-character boundary), it is a common constraint which yields many common idioms (such as placing list items on separate lines with similar indention).
I still don't think it's the same thing. Limiting lines to 80 chars or thereabouts is not an arbitrary constraint. There are intrinsic merits to it, e.g. people find very long lines hard to read, you can fit multiple windows side by side, etc.
On the other hand, there's nothing inherently virtuous about writing in iambic pentameter or avoiding the use of the letter "e". The only merit of such constraints is that they push you away from a very small area of badness (i.e. cliches) and out into a much bigger area of non-badness (any non-cliched way of saying the same thing).
I don't think you can do the same thing with programming. You can't get a good program just by avoiding bad things, you have to actively aim for the good things.