[Python-ideas] Is there a good reason to use * for multiplication?

Ram Rachum ram.rachum at gmail.com
Fri Oct 12 22:27:41 CEST 2012

Hi everybody,

Today a funny thought occurred to me. Ever since I've learned to program 
when I was a child, I've taken for granted that when programming, the sign 
used for multiplication is *. But now that I think about it, why? Now that 
we have Unicode, why not use · ?

Do you think that we can make Python support · in addition to *? 

I can think of a couple of problems, but none of them seem like 

 - Backward compatibility: Python already uses *, but I don't see a 
backward compatibility problem with supporting · additionally. Let people 
use whichever they want, like spaces and tabs.
 - Input methods: I personally use an IDE that could be easily set to 
automatically convert * to · where appropriate and to allow manual input of 
·. People on Linux can type Alt-. . Anyone else can set up a script that'll 
let them type · using whichever keyboard combination they want. I admit 
this is pretty annoying, but since you can always use * if you want to, I 
figure that anyone who cares enough about using · instead of * (I bet that 
people in scientific computing would like that) would be willing to take 
the time to set it up.

What do you think?


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