"The Python Way"

Graham Matthews graham at sloth.math.uga.edu
Fri Jun 4 17:03:06 CEST 1999

[Fredrik Lundh]
> Would both Guido and TIm Peters be willing to collaborate on a short
> paper -- call it "The Python Way" for lack of a better title -- which
> sets out the 10-20 prescriptives they might offer to those who come to
> Python from other languages and immediately want to find a way to bend
> it into uncomfortable positions -- (implement closures, etc.).

Oh thank you Fredrik for posting the above. Does anyone else consider
that the above sounds slightly paranoid? Can I make a suggestion. When
someone, for example myself, makes a suggestion for adding something
to Python or changing something, or dare I say it "improving" Python,
perhaps you could consider the faint possibility that they are not
trying to "find a way to bend Python into uncomfortable positions", 
but rather they are earnest Python users who happen to have some
expertise/experience in the new idea being suggested, and think that
it could not only greatly benefit Python, but also fit in rather well
with the mystical "Python way". 

A short case in point. Recently I suggested adding mark-sweep-refcounting 
garbage collection to Python.  I was immediately met with a wall of posts 
(some from you), saying basically what you say above, namely that "you 
want to bend Python into uncomfortable positions, ... positions that I 
suspect won't work or will be hard to implement". The reality is far from 
this. I don't want to bend Python at all. I quite *deliberately* proposed 
mark-sweep *with refcounts* (as opposed to any of the more high tech
techniques) so that no existing Python code need change at all, so that the
existing refcount mechanism stays the same, so that C extensions stay
the same, etc. Moreover I quite *deliberately* proposed mark-sweep with
refcounts because I know from experience with implementing such a scheme
that it won't be hard to implement.

In short when someone posts some suggested "improvement" to Python don't
be so defensive. Open your mind to the possibility that the poster may
have a point, that they are not trying to bend Python into uncomfortable
positions, that they may know something about what they are positing 
about, and may even be positing something that would be good for Python. 

                  A cat named Easter
              He say "will you ever learn"
              Its just an empty cage girl
                 If you kill the bird

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