[Python-Dev] Strings: '\012' -> '\n'

Eric S. Raymond esr@thyrsus.com
Mon, 15 Jan 2001 23:43:24 -0500

Tim Peters <tim.one@home.com>:
> I would also be +1 on using hex escapes instead of octal (I grew up on 36-
> and 60-bit machines, but that was the last time octal looked *natural*!).
> Octal and hex escapes both consume 4 characters, so I can't imagine what
> octal has going for it in the 21st century <wink>.

Tim, on the level of aesthetic preference I'm totally with you.  I've always
found octal really ugly myself.  Hex fits my brain better; somehow I find it
easier to visualize the bit patterns from.

Sadly, there are so many other related ways in which Python
intelligently follows C/Unix conventions that I think changing to a default
of hex escapes rather than octal would violate the Rule of Least

One of the things I like about Python is precisely its conservatism in
areas like string escapes, that Guido refrained from inventing new OS
APIs or new conventions for things like string escapes in places where
Unix and C did them in a well-established and reasonable way.  He didn't
make the mistake, all too typical in academic languages, of confusing
novelty with value...

This conservatism is valuable because it frees the C-experienced
programmer's mind from having to think about where the language is
trivially different, so he can concentrate on where it's importantly
different.  It's worth maintaining.

On the other hand, the change would mesh well with the Unicode support.
Hmm.  Tough call.  I could go either way, I guess.
		<a href="http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>

The politician attempts to remedy the evil by increasing the very thing
that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder.
	-- Frederick Bastiat