[Baypiggies] Baypiggies snippets

Alex Martelli aleax at google.com
Tue Mar 27 05:55:16 CEST 2007

On 3/26/07, Keith Dart ♂ <keith at dartworks.biz> wrote:
> Shannon -jj Behrens wrote the following on 2007-03-26 at 11:04 PDT:
> ===
> > I think it's fine in your own code to save time, but probably a bad
> > idea for libraries that you distribute.
> >
> ===
> But if your own code is also a library that you distribute? ;-)
> Why would it be a bad idea? Perhaps some documentation would fix any
> problems with that?

A typical applicaiton program uses N > 1 "libraries that [others]
distribute".  Suppose that M of those N libraries polluted the
__builtin__ namespace: how long before mysterious name clashes started
to happen?  Should the poor application programmer double check the
set of names stuck into __builtin__ by each of the M against each of
the other M-1...?!

"Act only on a maxim that you can will to be a universal law."

The maxim "leave __builtin__ alone in libraries you distribute", you
can will to be a universal law without creating any problems.

The maxim "allow libraries you distribute to pollute __builtin__", if
willed into a universal law, rapidly guarantees chaos... "the tragedy
of the commons"!-)

Or, if you prefer Zen (of Python) to Kant:

"Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!"

Good fences make good neighbors; good namespaces make good libraries
-- keep the namespaces cleanly separate, in libraries you distribute,
don't pollute __builtin__.


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