[Python-ideas] make decimal the default non-integer instead of float?

Calvin Spealman ironfroggy at gmail.com
Sat Sep 29 22:34:53 CEST 2012

I like the idea a lot, but I recognize it will get a lot pushback. I
think learning Integer -> Decimal -> Float is a lot more natural than
learning Integer -> Float -> Decimal. The Float type represents a
specific hardware accelleration with data-loss tradeoffs, and the use
should be explicit. I think that as someone learns, the limitations of
Decimals will make a lot more sense than those of Floats.


On Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 3:51 PM, Gregory P. Smith <greg at krypto.org> wrote:
> -cc: python-dev
> +cc: python-ideas
> On Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM, Chris Angelico <rosuav at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 4:26 AM, Brett Cannon <brett at python.org> wrote:
>> > Does this mean we want to re-open the discussion about decimal
>> > constants?
>> > Last time this came up I think we decided that we wanted to wait for
>> > cdecimal (which is obviously here) and work out how to handle contexts,
>> > the
>> > syntax, etc.
>> Just to throw a crazy idea out: How bad a change would it be to make
>> decimal actually the default?
>> (Caveat: I've not worked with decimal/cdecimal to any real extent and
>> don't know its limitations etc.)
> Painful for existing code, unittests and extension modules.  Definitely
> python-ideas territory (thread moved there with an appropriate subject).
> I'm not surprised at all that a decimal type can be "fast" in an interpreted
> language due to the already dominant interpreter overhead.
> I wish all spreadsheets had used decimals from day one rather than binary
> floating point (blame Lotus?). Think of the trouble that would have saved
> the world.
> -gps
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