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

Fredrik Lundh effbot at
Sun May 21 14:53:17 EDT 2000

Ben Wolfson <rumjuggler at> wrote:
> >The problem with your argument is that the Alice environment is a single
> >system.  In a case-sensitive environment, people will waste time typing
> >"case-incorrect tokens into their programs for a short period", for every
> >new Python library.
> Huh?
> I've been following the case threads, and this is the first time I
> absolutely don't understand an argument.

Well, our brains are probably not compatible, because I think most case-
sensitivity arguments I've seen this far are totally bogus.  (Which is a bit
scary, because I've always thought that Python should remain case-
sensitive, and that things like this are best handled by smart development
environments.  I'm beginning to wonder if I'm wrong ;-)
> Surely the *same* people won't waste time for each new python library.

The Alice study only proves that users can memorize the case conventions
used in a single specific library (in this case, the Alice environment), not that
they won't get into trouble again when they stumble upon a library that uses
different conventions.


PS.  I've scanned the HCI literature I have access to, but they all seem to
consider "case-sensitivity is a really lousy idea" as a law of nature.  If any-
one has better references than "it has been known for decades" and "most
programmers simply don't care about ordinary humans", please post pointers.

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