Larry Wall's comment on python...

mmaddox at mmaddox at
Fri Sep 6 23:28:20 EDT 2002

You're right. The PLACEMENT of blocks in my style is arbitrary. My
intention was to indicate the STYLE of block delimiting was arbitrary
(Nehemiah Jordan: when a task is not seen in meaningful context it is
experienced as being arbitrary). This is not totally in line with my
intentions either, as all programming language rules could be deemed
arbitrary by someone unwilling to accept the context in which they exist.

Now, I LOVE Python. I also love C++. Smalltalk and Lisp are interesting.
Perl is useful to someone somewhere. I said some things that are not as
precise as I would have liked, and I don't want to explore the semantics
of this mailing list and each individual post.	Python is cool. Let's talk
about Python.


peter at wrote:
> mmaddox at wrote:
> > Although I grant the Python structure and the column-based
> > structures are not completely analogous, they BOTH burden the
> > with arbitrary rules to govern the physical layout of the code.
> > this layout may be considered more elegant from a readability
> > 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
> > complaining about ridiculously long page-widths in his editor, not
> > slashing Python seriously. He's just giving some props to his own baby
> > the expense of another. (He had to say something, right?) You must
> > that Python can lead you to horizontal scrolling in your editor - the
> > of user interface design.
> I agree with the comments about Larry "having" to say something like
> 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?
> -Peter
> -- 

Michael F. Maddox
Senior Software Engineer
Tallahassee, FL, USA

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