Python's simplicity philosophy

Douglas Alan nessus at
Tue Nov 11 19:18:25 CET 2003

"Dave Brueck" <dave at> writes:

>> > Part of the problem here is that just saying "only one way to do
>> > it" is a horrible misquote, and one that unfortunately misses IMO
>> > some of the most important parts of that "mantra":

>> Well, perhaps anything like "only one way to do it" should be removed
>> from the mantra altogether, since people keep misquoting it in order
>> to support their position of removing beautiful features like reduce()
>> from the language.

> You're joking, right? It is one of the key aspects of Python that makes the
> language such a good fit for me. Changing the philosophy because a *few*
> people don't "get it" or because they are apt to misquote it seems crazy.

Of course I am not joking.  I see no good coming from the mantra, when
the mantra should be instead what I said it should be: "small, clean,
simple, powerful, general, elegant" -- not anything like, "there
should be only one way" or "one right way" or "one obviously right
way".  I have no idea what "one obviously right way" is supposed to
mean (and I don't want to have to become Dutch to understand it)
without the language being overly-restricted to the point of
uselessness like FP is.  Even in FP, I doubt that there is always, or
even typically one obviously right way to accomplish a goal.  To me,
there is never *one* obviously "right way" to do anything -- the world
(and the programming languages I chose to use) offer a myriad of
possible adventures, and I would never, ever want it to be otherwise.


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