call-by-reference (was Re: Any other Python flaws?)

Martijn Faassen m.faassen at
Fri Jun 15 21:19:03 CEST 2001

jcm <grumble at> wrote:
> Martijn Faassen <m.faassen at> wrote:

>> I agree that nobody agrees on whatever 'call-by-reference' means, or what
>> 'call-by-value' means. I mean, I'm here confused why you'd say C++ doesn't
>> support call-by-value while Python apparently does. :)

> In my experience, there's good agreement about what call-by-reference
> means just about everywhere but in newsgroups.  Python supports only
> call-by-value -- you can't change the value of a variable in your
> caller's scope (globals aside).

Um, I wouldn't say it that way. Python supports changing the value a
name references just fine:

def foo(a):

l = [1, 2, 3]

Though of course the value of immutable values can't be changed.

Python doesn't support the changing of the *reference* of the name in
the caller's scope (awful hacks aside).


History of the 20th Century: WW1, WW2, WW3?
No, WWW -- Could we be going in the right direction?

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