PEP0238 lament

Jim Abrams jim at
Mon Jul 23 18:17:00 CEST 2001

Steve Horne <sh at> wrote in
<916olt0p3kciv0evmotdg6jev9bl29l57i at>: 

>Had Python started out differently, I'd still disagree but I wouldn't
>be making a big issue. But this is a code-breaker of the worse kind -
>it will create bugs in trusted programs that have been relied upon for
>years without problem, which the programmers have forgotten about (if
>the programmers are even still in the company) - and many of the bugs
>may not even be obvious when they occur. And it will happen a *lot* -
>division is *not* some obscure rarely-used feature, it is a basic
>arithmetic operation.
>The reward for advocating Python is apparently that you get to look a
>complete idiot in front of your boss when everything you've written
>goes pear shaped - *just* the kind of thankyou all the Python
>advocates have been looking for, I don't think.

Because every camel has its straw, I need to agree here. I, and most
of my python buddies, fight with bloodstained teeth and nails to get
python in our projects and developments. I can't see winning too many
arguments when my opposition can pull out 'the division operator' to
shoot me down. I can't see budgeting time and people to making sure
the division operator works after an upgrade. I'd be laughed into data
entry ;).

Options such as // for the new semantics, keeping / as integer div
seem quite reasonable. Or even allowing / to be used with the new
semantics given some "from __something__ import something" seems very
acceptable. And not just as a stepping stone to future versions, as a
permanent change to how the interpreter works.

Reading the points people make keeps reminding me of a joke.

A Mathematician, an Engineer and a Physicist are hunting in the woods.
The come upon a trophy buck. The Physicist shoots and the shot is 5
feet too low. He mumbles about improper air resistance and drag.
The engineer then fires and the shot is 5 feet too high. He mumbles
about overcompensating for environmental variables.

The mathematician looks left at the Physicist, right at the Engineer
and exclaims, "You got him!"


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