A critic of Guido's blog on Python's lambda

Bill Atkins NOatkinwSPAM at rpi.edu
Sun May 7 21:56:18 CEST 2006

olsongt at verizon.net writes:

> Alex Martelli wrote:
>> Steve R. Hastings <steve at hastings.org> wrote:
>>    ...
>> > > But the key in the whole thread is simply that indentation will not
>> > > scale. Nor will Python.
>> >
>> > This is a curious statement, given that Python is famous for scaling well.
>> I think "ridiculous" is a better characterization than "curious", even
>> if you're seriously into understatement.
> When you consider that there was just a big flamewar on comp.lang.lisp
> about the lack of standard mechanisms for both threading and sockets in
> Common Lisp (with the lispers arguing that it wasn't needed) I find it
> "curious" that someone can say Common Lisp scales well.

It's not all that curious.  Every Common Lisp implementation supports
sockets, and most support threads.  The "flamewar" was about whether
these mechanisms should be (or could be) standardized across all
implementation.  It has little to do with CL's ability to scale well.
You simply use the socket and thread API provided by your
implementation; if you need to move to another, you write a thin
compatibility layer.  In Python, since there is no standard and only
one implementation that counts, you write code for that implementation
the same way you write for the socket and thread API provided by your
Lisp implementation.

I still dislike the phrase "scales well," but I don't see how
differences in socket and thread API's across implementations can be
interpreted as causing Lisp to "scale badly."  Can you elaborate on
what you mean?

This is a song that took me ten years to live and two years to write.
 - Bob Dylan

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