[Python-3000] Support for PEP 3131

Guillaume Proux gproux+py3000 at gmail.com
Sat May 12 17:27:09 CEST 2007

Dear all,

Pleased to meet you. I just subscribed to the list because I wanted to
join the discussion regarding a specific PEP (for all the rest, you
are all much more expert than me)

> 3131 (non-ASCII identifiers) -- I'm leaning towards rejecting.

I would like to voice my opposition to the rejection at that stage and
request that more time is spent requesting/analysing the opinion of
more people especially the people who have to deal with non-roman
languages as a daily basis and especially people in the education
field (along like other interesting people like the OLPC people)

French but living in Japanese and essentially trilingual, I have
experience in localization/internationalization (as an i18n engineer
for Symbian Ltd.), and very ardent Python supporter, I have tried (and
sometimes managed) teaching Python to a number of younger or less
young people, male and female in both French and Japanese environment.

In this respect, I strongly believe that support non-ASCII identifiers
as proposed by PEP3131 would improve a number of things:
- discussion and uptake of python in "non-ascii" countries
- ability for children to learn programming in their own language (I
started programming at 7 years old and would have been very disturbed
if I could not use my own language to type in programs)
- increase of the number of new "interesting" packages from non-ascii countries
- ability for local programmers and local companies to provide
"bridges" between international (english) APIs and local APIs.
- Increase the number of python users (from 7 to 77 years old)

In my humble opinion, now that UTF8 is accepted as the standard source
code encoding, it is very difficult to understand why we should start
putting restrictions on the kind of identifiers that are used (which
would force people to comment line by line as they do now!).

When I am programming in Python, I am VERY DISTURBED when the code I
write contains much comment. It needs to be readable just by glancing
at it.

However, for most of the people who are core python developers, you
should ask what is the typical reading speed for "ascii" characters
for a e.g. standard Japanese pupil. You would be very surprised how
slow that is. In my opinion (after leaving in Japan for quite a bit),
people are very slow to read ASCII characters and this definitely
restrain their programming productivity and expressiveness.

Of course, for things like "standard libraries", I think that
self-regulation and project based regulation will impose ASCII
charsets for the base libraries and APIs but i really believe that
letting people use their own charset to express themself will REALLY
give them the productivity boost they would deserve from python.

Let me know if you have any question.



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