Does Python really follow its philosophy of "Readability counts"?

Russ P. Russ.Paielli at
Fri Jan 23 15:47:52 CET 2009

On Jan 23, 6:21 am, Steve Holden <st... at> wrote:

> I have to say that I thought the example was somewhat bogus. Any
> development team that is even slightly concerned about the possibility
> of logic bombs in the code will try to mitigate that possibility by the
> use of code inspections.

Of course they would, but that does not mean that access restrictions
enforced by the language are not prudent. Consider a corporation that
needs to maintain the physical security of their buildings. You can
say that locks on the doors are not sufficient. Of course they're not.
Security guards are needed too -- but that doesn't mean the locks  are
not needed too. The locks may be *insufficient* by themselves, but
they are certainly not *unnecessary*. Ditto for the enforced
encapsulation for large financial or safety-critical projects.

> I'm not sure that there's much to be gained by this level of dogmatism
> on either side. "Enforced encapsulation" has been "implemented" in both
> C++ and Java, and both have proved to be circumventable. Just the same,
> talk of "clueless pointy-haired bosses" is unlikely to be convincing.
> Even the pointy-haired types never recognize themselves as such.

Do you think the designers of C++, Java, Ada, and Scala would
eliminate the enforced encapsulation if they had it to do over again?
Of course not. The vast majority of the users of those languages
consider it a major plus. And those who don't wish to use it aren't
forced to use it except perhaps by their bosses or their customers.

Again, I am not saying that Python necessarily needs enforced access
restriction. I'm just saying it would be a plus if it can be added
without compromising the language in some way.

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