Why functional Python matters

Aahz aahz at pythoncraft.com
Wed Apr 23 21:27:31 CEST 2003


In article <b86lc3$tnd$1 at plover.com>,
Mark Jason Dominus <mjd at plover.com> wrote:
>In article <btqu9vkh7u9nj6v25uqevibqhlaq0m8br4 at 4ax.com>,
>Courageous  <jkraska at san.rr.com> wrote:
>>Courageous as usual deleted someone else's attribution:
>>>
>>>But he regrets the inclusion of a crippled lambda, rather than the
>>>inclusion of support for anonymous functions (IIRC).
>>
>>Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I suspect that Guido
>>didn't have any good alternatives. 
>
>I don't believe that's correct.  At an early Open Source Conference,
>perhaps around 1998 or so, I was present at a conversation between
>Guido and Tom Christiansen.  Tom asked Guido why Python didn't have
>closures, and Guido's reply (and I think this is an exact quote) was
>"Closures aren't important."
>
>I remember it because I was so astonished by the obtuseness of the answer.

Two points:

* I'd be mildly surprised if that were an exact quote.  Python 2.1 was
released 4/2001, with support for nested scopes (which allows building
closures of sorts).  That's roughly two years for Guido to change his
mind, which is a short timeframe for him.  ;-)

* Many of the things for which programmers in other languages use
closures are better done in Python as classes.  He's generally
antipathetic to borrowing idioms from other languages that make it easier
to write unpythonic code -- There's Only One Way.  Like other leaders in
the Open Source community, Guido is occasionally prone to making
obnoxious comments Just Because.
-- 
Aahz (aahz at pythoncraft.com)           <*>         http://www.pythoncraft.com/

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