Case-sensitivity: why -- or why not? (was Re: Damnation!)

neelk at neelk at
Mon May 22 15:07:07 CEST 2000

Before I move to the body of my response I'd like to apologize -- when I 
reread my original message the tone came across as much more hostile than 
I intended; this is a subject that seems to come up every few weeks and 
swallow the newsgroup whole, and I'm afraid I took out some of my 
frustrations on you. Sorry.

Basically, there are so many more fundamental changes being discussed --
such as true garbage collection, type/class unification, lexical
scoping, rich comparisons, strong typing, a new iteration protocol --
that I'm amazed and a little dismayed that something as relatively 
trivial as case-sensitivity is dominating the discussion. 

I mean, in a year or two it'll be tried out in IDLE, people will stare
at it, and then someone will point out there are a hundred thousand 
Python programmers with 25 million lines of Python code that will be 
broken by such a change, and then the idea will be dropped. It doesn't 
matter whether the idea is objectively good or bad (I think it's a very 
good idea); Python will have grown so much that the threshold for 
justifiable backwards-incompatible change will have risen above the 
benefit it will provide.

I hope (but fear that I'm wrong) that the same is not true of the
iteration protocol -- there's a critical need to be able to iterate 
over trees and linked-lists cleanly. This is IMO more significant
than GC or even type-class unification, and it's the major reason I'm
rooting for Stackless, since it permits Sather-style coroutine-based
iterators to be implemented in Python. 

François Pinard [mailto:pinard at] wrote:
> neelk at (Neel Krishnaswami) écrit:
> > Suspicions are most easily dispelled/confirmed via evidence
> The evidence of one is not necessarily the evidence of the 
> other.  I'm grown up enough to know that :-).  Some evidences 
> are also more credible :-).
> > and taking the trouble to do this has the pleasant side-effect 
> > that you can either cease expending effort worrying, or move 
> > directly to taking positive action to correct the problem.
> I'm not sure I understand you fully.  My overall feeling is 
> that our goal, here, is more about _not_ correcting a false 
> problem, than having to take positive action for correcting a 
> problem which might not have to be.

Neel Krishnaswami
neelk at

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