IDLE: A cornicopia of mediocrity and obfuscation.

Jason Swails jason.swails at
Wed Feb 2 23:55:12 CET 2011

On Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 4:45 PM, rantingrick <rantingrick at> wrote:

> On Feb 2, 2:41 pm, Corey Richardson <kb1... at> wrote:
> > I don't recall ever doing anything but injecting my honest opinion. If
> > my opinion may be flawed (or appears to be flawed, I usually don't
> > elaborate on my ideas enough), so be it.
> Yes you are correct. When i added you to the troll list that was by
> accident. You are obviously not a troll and probably not a flamer
> either. Anyone willing to offer help is a moderate so there you go...

You were retorting (in kind) to a post by *not* Corey, then promptly dropped
him in *your* flamer category.

> py> moderate_group.append(flamer_group.pop("Corey Richardson"))
> > Will you be forking IDLE and setting up some sort of tracker for
> > improvements?
> No because we already have a bug tracker set up for IDLE. Why create
> another one? We just need the "powers that be" to start accepting
> major changes to the IDLE library at hand. There is not even enough
> interest to get minor changes committed. A fork would be the best idea
> however i am not going to start it alone. If someone else wants to
> start a fork be my guest, i will be happy to help out once the fork is
> established.

Why not start the fork yourself?  Do you think that it will not be accepted
after you've sunk time into the project?  This sounds like someone who is
not convinced the project is worth doing in the first place.  Also, consider
it a slight element of risk.  Lots of people have written code that has
ultimately found no (or little) use; you call for wide, sweeping changes to
the IDLE code base yet require someone else to actually make the leap before
you do.  Visionaries don't call for something, then wait for someone to
start it before jumping on the bandwagon (i.e. MLK...).

> However i am always very reluctant to start these things because the
> powers that be have not even expressed even the *smallest* interest in
> change. Sure Raymond, and Terry are interested but how about the
> others? We have yet to hear from the other BIG players. All we have
> gotten so far is trolling, threating, and negativity from a few very
> loud naysayers.

Perhaps they haven't expressed any interest in change because they have no
vested interest in it.  Where's the interest if you don't use IDLE at all?
 I have never once used it (I did open it up for the first time at the start
of the thread to see what it was, even), but its existence/non-existence
makes no difference in my daily usage/preference for anything python.  You
could remove IDLE altogether and I'd not have noticed.  VIM provides me with
all the syntax highlighting I need.  I'll admit that it's sometimes more
convenient to have an interactive python shell that supports syntax
highlighting, but IDLE does that just fine.  The way I see it, if it works
for what it's needed for and you're overall uninterested in its source code,
you have little stake in spending any time on it.  I think you'd be mad to
try and learn Tkinter by looking in idlelib, anyway; even if the code wasn't
so crufty.

> Now, after all this uphill battle i have fought only two brave souls
> (Corey and Richard) have showed an interest in actually doing
> something. And believe me i thank them! These are great people! But
> were is the blessing from on high? Where is Steve Holden on this? Is
> he too busy with $295.00 per session O-Reilly classes to stop by and
> give his blessing.  Were is py-dev on this? I know these folks have

This is probably not important to them (or they're still recovering from
your Tkinter roast and don't want to look at another roast of a project that
uses said package you so publicly berated).  They're not required to have a
vested interest in anything and everything falling inside stdlib.  It's
still quite large, as much as they try to keep it lean.

> *real* work to do however a quick "we're with you guys!", or a simple

> "break a leg!" would be very helpful.

If *we* were to dig up your previous posts (here and on Tkinter), we'd see
numerous examples where you've been told almost this very thing, only to
have you question "why you deserved such treatment".

(Who knows what *we* means)

> Are we not worthy of a simple:
>  "Yes, improving IDLE's code base sounds good to me."

I don't think *improving* anything ever sounds bad to anyone. ever.
 Therefore, you're simply left with trying to convince people that the
*changes* are really *improvements*.

> or a simple:
>  "Sorry, i don't think we should worry about that because X,Y,Z."
> Come on Guido we need your input already! If some big players would
> show even the smallest support for improving IDLE (or any module) then
> that positivity would propagate down to the rest of us. The naysayers
> would stop trolling and the silent majority would start getting
> involved.

How do you know that such a majority exists if it is silent?  As it has yet
to be *observed*, said majority neither exists nor *doesn't exist*, but is
instead in some superposition state of existential existence.  Only through
the act of observation and measurement can an object be said to exist at
all, as only then is it forced into some observable eigenstate.  At least
according to the laws of the universe as we understand them today.

(we = physicists/scientists)

But if you DO upgrade/update/improve/replace IDLE, I like the way the
in-terminal interpreter pipes help(module) output through less rather than
barfing it on the screen; the only IDLE shortcoming I've encountered in my
30 seconds of tinkering.  Perhaps this behavior is just Unix-specific,
though, and I'm perfectly content to continue playing in my terminal.

Happy trolling,

Jason M. Swails
Quantum Theory Project,
University of Florida
Ph.D. Graduate Student
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