Goto Considered Harmful [was Re: Python and the need for speed]

Ian Kelly ian.g.kelly at
Thu Apr 13 20:48:19 EDT 2017

On Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 12:51 PM, Nathan Ernst <nathan.ernst at> wrote:
> Thank you for that Alan Kay quote. Brightened up my day. Since you also
> mentioned COBOL, and this is a thread about "goto", reminded me of the
> single most abhorrent thing I ever saw in COBOL (I had to convert a single
> COBOL batch process to ASP.Net as an intern back in 2003-4). "MOVE NEXT
> SENTENCE". What is this statement? An unlabelled goto. It literally jumps
> to the next period: "." in the source.
> Now, I'm fine with judicious use of goto with good labels. (and, I've only
> used goto maybe 3 or 4 times in a 15 year career), but a blocky construct
> like "MOVE NEXT SENTENCE" in a language that also has lots of (all-caps
> required) block statements to jump to a tiny on the screen period...that is
> just evil.

Yikes. I never took the time to learn COBOL, but that almost sounds
like something that you'd find in an esoteric language like INTERCAL.

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