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

Mark Wooding mdw at
Fri Jan 23 20:41:31 CET 2009

"Russ P." <Russ.Paielli at> writes:

> Was this library module released in source form?
> If so, then why would you care that it has enforced access
> restrictions? You can just take them out, then do whatever you would
> have done had they not been there to start with. I don't see how that
> is any more work than figuring out what internals you need to access.
> Either way you need to read and understand the code.

I could do.  But in practice internal details often aren't horrifically
unstable.  If I fork the library, I've now got to mess with distributing
the forked version, and keeping the patch up to date -- the codebase is
likely to be much more volatile than the internals I'm hacking on.  It's
just not such a good tradeoff.

See elsewhere where I described hacking Python's `long' representation.
You'd have me fork the Python interpreter.  That doesn't seem like a win
to me.

> Wait ... it wasn't released in source form? Then how would you even
> know what internals you need to access? 

We call them `disassemblers' and `debuggers'.  Sometimes even simple
experimentation is sufficient.

> And why would you use something that goes against your philosophy of
> openness anyway?

I try not to.  Sometimes I fail.

-- [mdw]

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