How do these Java concepts translate to Python?

Roy Smith roy at
Fri Aug 12 14:32:09 CEST 2005

"Ray" <ray_usenet at> wrote:
> I've been learning Python in my sparetime. I'm a Java/C++ programmer by
> trade. So I've been reading about Python OO, and I have a few questions
> that I haven't found the answers for :)
> 1. Where are the access specifiers? (public, protected, private)

Quick answer; there are none, all attributes are public.

Slightly longer answer; if you name an attribute with two leading 
underscores (i.e. "__myPrivateData"), there is some name mangling that goes 
on which effectively makes the attribute private.  There are ways around 
it, but you have to know what you're doing and deliberately be trying to 
spoof the system (but, then again, exactly the same can be said for C++'s 
private data).

Soapbox answer; private data is, in some ways, a useful tool, but it is not 
part and parcel of object oriented programming.  I've had people (mostly 
C++/Java weenies) that Python is not an OOPL because it does not enforce 
data hiding.  "Feh", I say to them.

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