Language change and code breaks

John W. Baxter jwbaxter at spamcop.com
Thu Jul 19 02:05:00 CEST 2001


In article <cpvgkq1f2b.fsf at cj20424-a.reston1.va.home.com>, Guido van
Rossum <guido at python.org> wrote:

> Roman Suzi <rnd at onego.ru> writes:
> 
> > Windows is case-insensitive and thus "easy to use" only before one needs
> > to put web-pages on the real (UNIX) web-server. Then they understand all
> > the troubles with mised case, national-charset filenames, abbr~ted
> > filenames, local file references "C:\Mydocs\lalala", bmp-images etc.
> 
> But it's still open for debate whether the problem here is Windows or
> Unix!  All programming languages and file systems used to be
> case-insensitive, until the designers of Unix and C decided that it
> was too much work to write and use a case-insensitive comparison
> routine.  It wasn't necessarily intended to be better, just easier to
> implement.  But times have changed, and that's a lousy excuse.

Well, let's see.  The first machines I used didn't have a case problem: 
they only had upper case.  Is that case sensitive or case insensitive? 
[They also had identifiers of 3 or fewer characters.]

Then I used some machines with upper and lower case, which were case
sensitive in the language processors I used (favoring lower case).

For that matter, they didn't have a file naming problem...they didn't
use file names.

Times do change.

I happen to prefer case-sensitive languages (that could be the only
aspect of C that I prefer to the related aspect of the Pascals I
used...which had reacted to the advent of readily available lower case
in mid-life by being case insensitive).

So I think Python is currently right in this area, but it isn't
important enough to me to cause me to stop upgrading Python versions
when it changes.  Or argue about.  

[The direction the Unicode source threads are taking might well, but we
still have the BDFL (or bdfl, or bDFL, or bDFl ...) to conrol that...I
hope.]

I also hope that after the change to case-insensitive Python, we don't
also go through a change to diacriticals-don't-matter Python.

  --John



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