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

Mathias Panzenböck grosser.meister.morti at gmx.net
Sat Oct 13 22:20:12 CEST 2012

On 10/12/2012 10:27 PM, Ram Rachum wrote:
> 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 deal-breakers:
>   - 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-. .

I use Linux (KDE4). When I press Alt-. in kwrite I simply get . in gvim I get ® and here in 
Thunderbird I get nothing. So I don't think this is very practical.

> 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?
> Ram.

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