Why functional Python matters

Steve Holden sholden at holdenweb.com
Thu Apr 17 16:49:33 CEST 2003

"Henrik Motakef" <henrik.motakef at web.de> wrote ...
> laotseu <bdesth at removethis.free.fr> writes:
> > Lispers friends, let's have you're opinion on that point : is Common
> > Lisp a functionnal language ?
> Common Lisp is whatever you want it to be: You can write
> functional-style programs in it if you want, but is certainly not a
> "pure" functional language. It supports several other paradigms
> equally well, and even more important, it will let you integrate
> yet-unkown paradigms when you think that they are useful.
> There are really ideas to remove the functional stuff from Python? I
> wonder why people frequently think that making things impossible will
> improve programming languages.
> just-because-it's-flexible-doesn't-mean-it's-perl-ly y'rs

I can see that, but wouldn't you agree that removing redundant features also
removes cruft from the source, and eases the maintenance burden, in turn
reducing the likelihood of implementation bugs? While Guido is known to
regret the inclusion of lambda in Python, I don't think he would want to
take it out on purely ideological grounds. Indeed, the suggestion was not so
much that it would be taken out of the existing language, rather that it
would not be implemented in some "futurePython", normally called Python 3 or
Python 3000.

It would be nice to have One True Python, but that's about as likely as One
True Lisp. The Python world is pragmatic enough to be able to live with "one
*most obvious* way to do it", but if there are two similar features in the
language they have to be maintained in lockstep as the language develops.

just-becuase-it's-there-doesn't-mean-it's-helpful-ly y'rs  - steve
Steve Holden                                  http://www.holdenweb.com/
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