[Python-Dev] A critic of Guido's blog on Python's lambda

xahlee xah at xahlee.org
Sat May 6 02:23:14 CEST 2006

In this post, i'd like to deconstruct one of Guido's recent blog  
about lambda in Python.

In Guido's blog written in 2006-02-10 at http://www.artima.com/ 

is first of all, the title “Language Design Is Not Just Solving  
Puzzles”. In the outset, and in between the lines, we are told  
that “I'm the supreme intellect, and I created Python”.

This seems impressive, except that the tech geekers due to their  
ignorance of sociology as well as lack of analytic abilities of the  
mathematician, do not know that creating a language is a act that  
requires little qualifications. However, creating a language that is  
used by a lot people takes considerable skill, and a big part of that  
skill is salesmanship. Guido seems to have done it well and seems to  
continue selling it well, where, he can put up a title of  
belittlement and get away with it too.

Gaudy title aside, let's look at the content of his say. If you  
peruse the 700 words, you'll find that it amounts to that Guido does  
not like the suggested lambda fix due to its multi-line nature, and  
says that he don't think there could possibly be any proposal he'll  
like. The reason? Not much! Zen is bantered about, mathematician's  
impractical ways is waved, undefinable qualities are given, human's  
right brain (neuroscience) is mentioned for support, Rube Goldberg  
contrivance phraseology is thrown, and coolness of Google Inc is  
reminded for the tech geekers (in juxtaposition of a big notice that  
Guido works there.).

If you are serious, doesn't this writing sounds bigger than its  
content? Look at the gorgeous ending: “This is also the reason why  
Python will never have continuations, and even why I'm uninterested  
in optimizing tail recursion. But that's for another installment.”.

This benevolent geeker is gonna give us another INSTALLMENT!

There is a computer language leader by the name of Larry Wall, who  
said that “The three chief virtues of a programmer are: Laziness,  
Impatience and Hubris” among quite a lot of other ingenious  
outpourings. It seems to me, the more i learn about Python and its  
leader, the more similarities i see.

So Guido, i understand that selling oneself is a inherent and  
necessary part of being a human animal. But i think the lesser beings  
should be educated enough to know that fact. So that when minions  
follow a leader, they have a clear understanding of why and what.


Regarding the lambda in Python situation... conceivably you are right  
that Python lambda is perhaps at best left as it is crippled, or even  
eliminated. However, this is what i want: I want Python literatures,  
and also in Wikipedia, to cease and desist stating that Python  
supports functional programing. (this is not necessarily a bad  
publicity) And, I want the Perl literatures to cease and desist  
saying they support OOP. But that's for another installment.

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     xah at xahlee.orghttp://xahlee.org/

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