Python's "only one way to do it" philosophy isn't good?

Neil Cerutti horpner at
Fri Jun 22 14:57:34 CEST 2007

On 2007-06-21, Douglas Alan <doug at> wrote:
> Neil Cerutti <horpner at> writes:
>> Seriously, maybe Python looks like 'blub' (thanks, Paul
>> Graham), to the skilled Lisp user, but it makes a lot of other
>> languages look like 'blub', too, including, sometimes, Lisp:
>> Lisp has to 'blub' generators.
> Actually, Scheme has first class continuations, and with
> continuations and macros you could easily implement generators,
> and I'm sure someone has.  Whether such a library has been
> widely adopted for Scheme, though, I have no idea.

A strength of Lisp is the ability to cherry-pick features from
different Lisp implementations, as seen here.

Common Lisp has powerful macro facilities and generates fast
code, but hasn't got continuations.

Scheme has continuations, but is *not* fast, and has simpler,
more complicated macro facilities. ;)

> "Lisp is worth learning for the profound enlightenment
> experience you will have when you finally get it; that
> experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of
> your days, even if you never actually use Lisp itself a lot."
> -- Eric Raymond

You don't need to learn Lisp to get the ephiphany, though.
Haskell, Ocaml or ML would likely be more enlightening to a
Python programmer, who will see much of Lisp as old hat.

That said, I wouldn't give up the summer I spent studying _Simply
Scheme_. Writing recursive code seemed totally alien to me before
that. On the other hand, _Simply Scheme_ uses a logo-like
adaptation of Scheme for 90% of the course, wisely disguising the
total weird unintuitiveness of list manipulation until the
student has been fully brainwashed. ;)

Neil Cerutti

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