Larry Wall's comment on python...

Gib Bogle bogle at
Sat Sep 7 20:47:22 EDT 2002

Peter Hansen wrote:
> mmaddox at wrote:
> > Although I grant the Python structure and the column-based
> > structures are not completely analogous, they BOTH burden the programmer
> > with arbitrary rules to govern the physical layout of the code. Although
> > this layout may be considered more elegant from a readability standpoint,
> > it's the enforcement of the layout that is irritating to the more
> > Libertarian of us.
> I think you have the wrong meaning for "arbitrary".  From the
> sounds of it, you have exactly reversed which is arbitrary (your
> own "libertarian" coding style) and which is "governed by fixed
> rules" (Python layout).
> > Having read Wall's comments on Slashdot, I think he is really just mildly
> > complaining about ridiculously long page-widths in his editor, not really
> > slashing Python seriously. He's just giving some props to his own baby at
> > the expense of another. (He had to say something, right?) You must agree
> > that Python can lead you to horizontal scrolling in your editor - the bane
> > of user interface design.
> I agree with the comments about Larry "having" to say something like this.
> I definitely don't understand how Python, more or less than any other
> language, leads to more horizontal scrolling.  Pretty much all
> Python code I've ever seen (though I haven't seen yours yet :-) is
> roughly 80 characters max, and mine own has been about that since I
> started writing C code 16 years ago.
> Do you mean there is something special about Python not delimiting
> blocks in the traditional ways which somehow leads you to write
> much wider lines of code?

Maybe he is referring to an effect of default editor tab size.

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