More random python observations from a perl programmer

Fredrik Lundh fredrik at
Sun Aug 22 12:33:35 EDT 1999

Les Schaffer <godzilla at> wrote:
> Tim_one said to tchrist:
>      > I keep thinking that everything should work on everything.
> > The builtins strive to stick to those type/operator combos that make
> > plain sense; Guido has never been a fan of gratuitous orthogonality.
> what does orthogonality mean here? (i come from a world where (0,1)
> and (1,0) are archetypal orthogonals and cant map that meaning to this
> discussion)
explains this from a computing perspective:

    Mutually independent; well separated; sometimes,
    irrelevant to. Used in a generalisation of its mathe-
    matical meaning to describe sets of primitives or
    capabilities that, like a vector basis in geometry,
    span the entire "capability space" of the system
    and are in some sense non-overlapping or mutually

    In logic, the set of operators "not" and "or" is
    orthogonal, but the set "nand", "or", and "not"
    is not (because any one of these can be ex-
    pressed in terms of the others). 

    Also used in comments on human discourse: "This
    may be orthogonal to the discussion, but ..."

certain well-known Perlers sometimes like to pretend that
the mathematical meaning is the only valid one, but that's
not entirely true...


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