Python Standardization: Wikipedia entry

Paul Boddie paul at
Mon Jan 28 11:28:55 CET 2008

On 28 Jan, 02:05, ajaksu <aja... at> wrote:
> Hmmm. Seems to me that "Is X Standardized" in the given context means
> having a formal, published standard issued by some Standards
> organization. While you can discuss the meaning of some so-called
> standards (like W3C's 'recommendations', RFCs, etc.), Python, IMHO,
> doesn't fit the label. There is no "Standard" to reference that is
> implementation, documentation and core-dev's opinion independent to a
> reasonable degree.
> I guess MilesAgain gives the best arguments regarding this issue.

Agreed. The supposed definition of Python is decided by the developers
of CPython, which is why every other implementation has to chase
behind that group making changes as the language definition shifts.
You could argue that Java is in a similar situation: a controlling
body with their own implementations, albeit with a process for
suggesting changes and arguably more complete documentation. Looking
at the table of languages, we see that Java is indeed categorised as
not having a standard.

Of course, one could contend that languages like C# aren't really
standardised either, since everyone knows that ECMA standardisation is
just a convenient rubber-stamping process, as we have seen with the
adoption of "Office Open XML" (OOXML) as a standard by ECMA, whilst
the ISO standardisation attempt for OOXML was sunk (despite Microsoft
ballot-stuffing) due to glaring flaws in that so-called standard.

As I probably pointed out before, people have advocated a standard for
Python, such as a presenter at EuroPython 2006 who had been alarmed
that features such as lambda which his team used extensively were at
one point scheduled for removal from the language. Unfortunately,
there hasn't been significant scope for differentiation between
implementations of Python, so one could argue that demand for a
standard hasn't yet reached a critical level, but I imagine that some
kind of independent documentation of what Python (or a subset of
Python) is may eventually emerge in some form or other.


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