non-owning references?

Rhodri James rhodri at
Fri Jul 24 16:21:36 CEST 2009

On Fri, 24 Jul 2009 14:55:45 +0100, Hrvoje Niksic <hniksic at>  

> Ben Finney <ben+python at> writes:
>> Utpal Sarkar <doetoe at> writes:
>>> Is there a way I can tell a variable that the object it is pointing
>>> too is not owned by it, in the sense that if it is the only reference
>>> to the object it can be garbage collected?
>> Python doesn't have “pointers”, and doesn't really have “variables”
>> either, at least not how many other languages use that term.
> The OP didn't use the term "pointer", but the word "pointing", which
> makes sense in the context.  The term "variable" is used in the Python
> language reference and elsewhere, and is quite compatible with how other
> popular languages (Java, PHP, Lisp, ...) use it.

Only superficially.  Treating Python variables the same as C variables
(say) is one of the classic ways that newbies come unstuck when mutable
objects appear on the scene.  While the OP appears to have the right idea,
your "correction" here could be quite misleading.

Rhodri James *-* Wildebeest Herder to the Masses

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