General question about Python design goals

Mike Meyer mwm at
Tue Nov 29 02:20:50 CET 2005

Christoph Zwerschke <cito at> writes:
> A programming language is not a "work of art". If you are an artist,
> you may break symmetry and introduce all kinds of unexpected
> effects. Actually, as an artist, you purposfully want to provoke
> astonishment. But if I am using a programming language or a user
> interface, I don't want to be confronted with inconsistent
> behavior. Here, the "principle of least astonishment" is much more
> helpful (in my little mind's humble optionion).

But a programming language (or UI) is not just a collection of syntax
and and interfaces - it's an implementation. You need to keep in mind
that "practicality beats purity". If following POLA makes the
implementation an order of magnitude slower or larger, then you don't
follow POLA - at least until you can do it without that cost.

Mike Meyer <mwm at>
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.

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