non-owning references?

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Fri Jul 24 21:00:14 CEST 2009

On Fri, 24 Jul 2009 15:55:45 +0200, Hrvoje Niksic wrote:

> 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.  Please stop
> complaining about valid terminology; it is not helpful.

No, the use of the single term "variable" to describe two distinct 
program models is not helpful. Whether other languages muddy the water 
between memory-location based variables and name-binding is irrelevant to 
whether we should do so. And quite a few of us are disappointed that the 
Python language reference should confuse the issue by using misleading 

Unfortunately, the use of "variable" is so ingrained, and so simple 
compared to name binding terminology, that I fear we'll never eradicate 
it. I know sometimes I use it myself, but always with a little shiver of 
shame that I'm misusing terminology.


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