Python and Ruby

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Mon Feb 1 04:48:33 CET 2010

On 1/31/2010 7:25 PM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Sun, 31 Jan 2010 15:40:36 -0800, Chris Rebert wrote:
>> On Sun, Jan 31, 2010 at 2:36 PM, Steven D'Aprano
>> <steve at>  wrote:
>>> On Sun, 31 Jan 2010 04:28:41 -0800, Ed Keith wrote:
>>>> In most functional languages you just name a function to access it and
>>>> you do it ALL the time.
>>>> for example, in if you have a function 'f' which takes two parameters
>>>> to call the function and get the result you use:
>>>>   f 2 3
>>>> If you want the function itself you use:
>>>>     f
>>> How do you call a function of no arguments?
>> It's not really a function in that case, it's just a named constant.
>> (Recall that functions don't/can't have side-effects.)

Three of you gave essentially identical answers, but I still do not see 
how given something like

def f(): return 1

I differentiate between 'function object at address xxx' and 'int 1' 

>>>> time.time(), random.random()
> (1264983502.7505889, 0.29974255140479633)
>>>> time.time(), random.random()
> (1264983505.9283719, 0.74207867411026329)
> They don't look terribly constant to me.

I believe these are not functions in a functional language sense. 
Neither are input and output 'functions'. So all of these are either 
missing or some sort of special function-like something.

I personally take a broader view of functions and include the relevant 
environment in their input and output, so that there are no 'side 
effects'. The concept of 'side-effect' is somewhat arbitrary. In fields 
other than computing, like pharmacology and politics, its meaning is 
somewhat different and a bit corrupt.

> There is a difference between a function that does "give me whatever
> value is specified by a fixed description" and a function that does "give
> me a fixed value".

Terry Jan Reedy

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