[Python-3000] Support for PEP 3131

Guillaume Proux gproux+py3000 at gmail.com
Sun May 13 05:50:30 CEST 2007

Dear Stargaming,

On 5/13/07, Stargaming <stargaming at gmail.com> wrote:
> Guillaume Proux schrieb:

I see that the language you are most comfortable with is German.
Compared with French (and even more with Japanese), I have a bias that
German people are very gifted in foreign languages and especially in

> While still separating them from ascii-countries. They would start
> writing programs that expose foreign-phrased APIs but we would deny
> using them because we couldn't even type a single word!

If I rephrase your sentence above to use the local (e.g. Japanese)
view: "People in ascii countries, are writing programs that expose
foreign phrased APIs but we are denied using them because we cannot
even read a single word"

The situation right now that each community in "non-ascii" countries
is rather small because they are denied writing ANY program at all.

 Acceptance of 3131 would enable the following things:
1)  new contributors (including the younger who is not necessarily
able to deal with English) will start programming (in python)
2)  some of them will want to join the international community
3)  more programs, both in local and international communities

> AFAIK, allowing non-ascii identifiers would still *not* translate
> python. They would still have to struggle with every part of python that
> is builtin, i.e. builtins (you could let non-ascii identifiers reference

You answer misses the point about ability for children to learn
programming early.
In France, my experience was that it is very important to let children
use their own native vocabulary. Let me tell you about two things we
did in France re. computer science teaching to young children around
the 1980s which had a great influence on me and other children of that
1) LOGO programming: we would be able to use the turtle using simple
words in French. That made a big impression on children. We would
spend hours playing with this. Now people just grab a Nintendo DS and
never approach computers with a "programming" approach at that age.
2) Robots: we had a robotic arm that came with a custom programming
interface (in French). It was very challenging to optimize your
programs to achieve a given task (take the ball and drop it in the
glass) in the minimum of time and steps.

Without the ability to do all that in French at the age of  8 or 9
years old, we would probably have not enjoyed that as much.

> As stated above, we could not use them though. Bad deal, if you ask me!

They can't use what we give them here. Who is loser in the deal right
now. Once again, we should not deny each language to create their own
package ecosystem. I believe really *good* packages will always end up
having an i18n-ized version.

> I don't get the improvement offered by this one. We should *allow*
> non-ascii identifiers to **require** wrappers?

You are always taking the wrong side of the equation. By allowing
non-ascii chars in the mix, standard APIs will be able to be offered
in each local languages, once again, for the local good.

> > - Increase the number of python users (from 7 to 77 years old)
> Works in English, too.

Do you know many Japanese/Chinese young children or elderly people
that are only speaker/reader/writer of their own language? Try to get
them to speak to them in English just for fun or worse, make them read
python code and ask them to explain you what it means.

> No, we do not restrict them, we simply do not allow them (what is a huge
> difference here). UTF-8 will be allowed (*and* enforced by default) as a

Not allowing something which now becomes naturally possible is *not* a

> file encoding, i.e. strings and comments will be affected. I don't see
> the real restriction here. Correct me please, if I'm wrong.

Imagine you would be born in a world where your alphabet is hardly
ever used in the computing world. I am sure you would have a much
harder time learning programming.

> OTOH, I cannot glance at japanese code and know what it means. So,
> better the japanese developer named it badly but explained it than
> requiring me to consult a dictionary.

I am talking about your own code, the code you might need to maintain for years.
Once again, you are looking at your own small world where it is "easy"
for you to *write* programs if only because it uses the character set
in which you have been dwelling since you were born.

> See above, at least *my* reading speed for japanese text tends to zero
> (if not less!).

And this is not the issue. Of course, in the future of accepted
PEP3131, there is some scripts which you won't be able to read. And
that is fine, because it will probably some internally developped
program in a large Japanese company.

I am a strong believer that self regulation will happen for new
packages that could be interesting for the international python
community (remember that we are talking about new packages that would
never see the light of day without PEP3131)

> They're free to express their thoughts in comments, today, still
> separating them from ascii-developers.

You were shrugging off ealier the fact that it is not important for
people to understand their code by glancing at it. And now dismiss
their concern with, "Good enough for those guys to just do line by
line commenting". How nice.

> I do not think allowing people to program in *their* language would
> enhance integration. It would just split the python community *even*
> more. I like communicating with non-native English speakers much more

My point is that you cannot split a community... that does not even
exist *yet* because the entry barrier to the community is too high for
too many people in non-ascii countries. I am taking the long-term
view. Getting people involved with Python today when they are 7-8
years old and in 10 years we will have strong community members of
non-ascii countries.

> To communicate, we just have to find (or agree on) a common point
> between devs. Python is English, that's a matter of fact IMO. It is the
> common language that makes us a community and *one* language.

Yes, and I don't think that PEP3131 will change anything to that fact,
but for each local community we should allow people to use their own
language (mostly as users).

The fact that I have seen NO comment on this issue from non-ascii devs
also definitely makes me think that the community is not reaching far
enough in those countries that are not using latin characters and that
PEP3131 will help providing new blood from these countries.

I hope Guido will be able to see the long-term benefits of accepting this PEP.

Best Regards,


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