Python handles globals badly.

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Thu Sep 10 17:50:36 CEST 2015

On Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:26 am, Sven R. Kunze wrote:

> Just to understand it the way you want it to be understood: what do you
> mean by "technical excellence"?

That's one of those things that are difficult to define precisely. All I can
do is give some partial examples, and counter-examples.

Lisp embodies a form of mathematical elegance and simplicity that one might
call technical excellence. Forth does too, despite their completely
different syntax and computational model.

BASIC does not.

ML's type-checker displays technical excellence:

Haskell, which inherits the same sort of type-checker, does too.

Inform 7's natural language syntax and inference engine displays technical
excellence. APL's mathematics syntax does not, as it doesn't even follow
the same rules that mathematicians expect. (APL, I'm lead to believe, is
evaluated purely from left-to-right -- or was it right to left? -- so that
1+2*3 gives 9 rather than 7 like mathematicians expect.)

Credit where credit is due: although I think that in the broader computing
ecosystem it does more harm than good, the efforts put into optimization by
C compilers show technical excellence. If there's a cycle that can be
shaved, good C compilers like gcc and clang will find it.

It's hard (impossible?) to think of a language that gets *everything* right,
because so much of that depends on subjective factors, but I think that
languages can display technical excellence in a particular subset of
features. It's not "all or nothing" -- a language can be excellent in one
area, and poor in another.

>> (I wanted to link to the "Everything Is Broken" essay on The Medium, but
>> the page appears to be gone. This makes me sad. BTW, what's the point of
>> Google's cache when it just redirects to the original, missing, page?)
> Do you mean ?

Yes, that's the one, thanks.


More information about the Python-list mailing list