Annoying octal notation

MRAB python at mrabarnett.plus.com
Thu Aug 27 19:42:58 CEST 2009


Ethan Furman wrote:
> Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>> A mistake is still a mistake even if it shared with others.
>>
>> Treating its with a lead zero as octal was a design error when it was 
>> first thought up 
> 
> [snippage]
> 
> I have to disagree with you on this one.  The computing world was vastly 
> different when that design decision was made.  Space was at a premium, 
> programmers were not touch-typists, every character had to count, and 
> why in the world would somebody who had to use papertape or punch cards 
> add a lead zero without a *real* good reason?  I submit that that real 
> good reason was to specify an octal literal, and not a decimal literal.
> 
> Now many many years have passed, much has changed, and a leading zero 
> (like so much else) no longer makes the sense in once did -- especially 
> in a very wide-spread and general purpose language like Python.  That 
> does not mean it was not a very good decision at the time.
> 
I think that it although it might have been reasonable when C was
invented, it wasn't a good idea when Python was invented.



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