Language change and code breaks

Sibylle Koczian Sibylle.Koczian at
Tue Jul 24 16:51:45 CEST 2001

Christian Tanzer wrote:
> What's missing IMHO in this whole discussion is the question of costs
> and benefits. In all written languages, there are costs for the reader
> and a different set of costs for the writer. Normally, there is one
> writer for many readers -- therefore one should try to reduce the
> reader's costs. Unfortunately, many people completly disregard the
> reader and campaign for reducing the costs of the writer (the hotly
> contested reform of german writing rules is a prime example). For me,
> the goal of making Python case-insensitive is also too preoccupied with
> the writer's side of the game.
Quite right. The campaign for abolishing most capitalization
("gemaessigte Kleinschreibung") in German is an even better example for

There's something else missing: most of us, and especially occasional
programmers, write much more normal text than code - and all normal
writing _is_ case sensitive. Even if the meaning doesn't change,
practically everywhere one is right, the other wrong.

So I don't really think case sensitivity could be a stumbling block for
a real newbie - it may be a very small stumbling block for Algol60 /
Pascal programmers like me. But as long as I don't get hit by silent
assumptions about the value of my mis-spelled variable, it's not that

Dr. Sibylle Koczian
Universitaetsbibliothek , Abt. Naturwiss.
D-86135 Augsburg

Tel.: (0821) 598-2400, Fax : (0821) 598-2410
e-mail : Sibylle.Koczian at Bibliothek.Uni-Augsburg.DE

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