Pep 238 Why new // operator (Non-integer Division)

Steve Williams stevewilliams at
Sun Mar 18 03:29:28 CET 2001

Courageous wrote:

> >>All these changes make my head spin.  There is more to life than learning
> >>all the fine details in a computer language.  The fewer number of ways to do
> >>something the better.
> >
> >Just because the changes are being made doesn't mean you have to USE them.
> This isn't true; the moment you encounter code written by someone else,
> you DO have to use them. This simple principle is the magic of Python
> minimalism, and the primary driving reason why new Python programmers
> can become so effective so fast (IMO).
> C//

Adding 'line noise' symbols to a language doesn't help at all.  It doesn't even
address the underlying problem.

The difference between fixed/floating point arithmetic resides in the operands,
not the operators.

For example, consider fixed point(precision,scale) arithmetic for variables like

    A decimal(5,2)

    B decimal(3,1)

    C decimal(9,6)

You want to detect overflows when A = B / C exceeds 999.99.  You want to round
'appropriately' to .01 without knowing what an LSB is.  And so on.

This is garden-variety, every-day commercial arithmetic.  Your paycheck and tax
witholding are calculated this way.

Python, actually, can handle 'decimal arithmetic' very well:  define variables as
{name:(integer value,precision,scale)} with functions for add, subtract, multiply,
divide, move, compare, and display.

Let's reserve the 'line noise' infix operators for enhancing Python's complex
arithmetic to handle the octonions.

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