Python Programming: Page 1

We will perhaps eventually be writing only small modules which are identified by name as they are used to build larger ones, so that devices like indentation, rather than delimiters, might become feasible for expressing local structure in the source language.

Donald E. Knuth, "Structured Programming with goto Statements", Computing Surveys, Vol 6 No 4, Dec. 1974

Python's syntax succeeds in combining the mistakes of Lisp and Fortran. I do not construe that as progress.

Larry Wall, May 12 2004

Some rejected alternate names for "Monty Python's Flying Circus":

1 2 3 / It's Them! / Arthur Megapode's Flying Circus / The Horrible Earnest Megapode / The Panic Show / The Plastic Mac Show / Ow! It's Colin Plint! / Vaseline Review / Vaseline Parade / The Keen Show / Brian's Flying Circus / The Year of the Stoat / Cynthia Fellatio's Flying Circus / Owl Stretching Time / The Whizzo Easishow! (Guaranteed to last 1/2 hour! Money back if not!)

From Kim "Howard" Johnson's Life Before and After Monty Python. It's interesting to contemplate what Python would have been called if one of these names had been chosen.

Anybody else on the list got an opinion? Should I change the language or not?

Guido van Rossum, 28 Dec 1991

in-any-case-the-best-christmas-present-i-got-today!-ly y'rs - tim

Tim Peters, 29 Dec 1991 [First occurrence of Tim Peters's long-phrase-ly idiom.]


Tim Peters, 20 Dec 2000

Ha -- you have done me the favor of underestimating my ignorance <smile>.

Tim Peters, 30 Dec 1991

I prefer (all things being equal) regularity/orthogonality and logical syntax/semantics in a language because there is less to have to remember. (Of course I know all things are NEVER really equal!)

Guido van Rossum, 6 Dec 1991

The details of that silly code are irrelevant.

Tim Peters, 4 Mar 1992

Frankly, I'd rather not try to compete with Perl in the areas where Perl is best -- it's a battle that's impossible to win, and I don't think it is a good idea to strive for the number of obscure options and shortcuts that Perl has acquired through the years.

Guido van Rossum, 7 Jul 1992

Python is a truly wonderful language. When somebody comes up with a good idea it takes about 1 minute and five lines to program something that almost does what you want. Then it takes only an hour to extend the script to 300 lines, after which it still does almost what you want.

Jack Jansen, 8 Jul 1992

If you have a browser from CERN's WWW project (World-Wide Web, a distributed hypertext system) you can browse a WWW hypertext version of the manual...

Guido van Rossum, 19 Nov 1992 [First mention of the Web on python-list.]

Just a success note for Guido and the list: Python 0.9.9, stdwin, readline, gmp, and md5 all go up on linux 0.99 pl11 without much problems.

Allan Bailey, 2 Aug 1993 [First mention of Linux on python-list.]

Rule: "You shouldn't have to open up a black box and take it apart to find out you've been pushing the wrong buttons!" Corollary: "Every black box should have at least TWO blinking lights: "Paper Jam" and "Service Required" (or equivalent)."

Steven D. Majewski, 9 Sep 1993

We've been through a couple of syntax changes, but I have sort of assumed that by the time we get to version 1.0 release, the language, (if not the implementation) will essentially be stable.

Steven D. Majewski, 14 Sep 1993

"Python tricks" is a tough one, cuz the language is so clean. E.g., C makes an art of confusing pointers with arrays and strings, which leads to lotsa neat pointer tricks; APL mistakes everything for an array, leading to neat one-liners; and Perl confuses everything period, making each line a joyous adventure <wink>.

Tim Peters, 16 Sep 1993

I've seen Python criticized as "ugly" precisely because it doesn't have a trick-based view of the world. In many ways, it's a dull language, borrowing solid old concepts from many other languages & styles: boring syntax, unsurprising semantics, few automatic coercions, etc etc. But that's one of the things I like about it.

Tim Peters, 16 Sep 1993

One of the things that makes it interesting, is exactly how much Guido has managed to exploit that one implementation trick of 'namespaces'.

Steven D. Majewski, 17 Sep 1993

Anyone familiar with Modula-3 should appreciate the difference between a layered approach, with generic Rd/Wr types, and the Python 'C with foam padding' approach.

John Redford, 24 Nov 1993

People simply will not agree on what should and shouldn't be "an error", and once exception-handling mechanisms are introduced to give people a choice, they will far less agree on what to do with them.

Tim Peters, 17 Dec 1993

Note that because of its semantics, 'del' can't be a function: "del a" deletes 'a' from the current namespace. A function can't delete something from the calling namespace (except when written by Steve Majewski :-).

Guido van Rossum, 1 Aug 1994

I don't know a lot about this artificial life stuff -- but I'm suspicious of anything Newsweek gets goofy about -- and I suspect its primary use is as another money extraction tool to be applied by ai labs to the department of defense (and more power to 'em).

Nevertheless in wondering why free software is so good these days it occurred to me that the propagation of free software is one gigantic artificial life evolution experiment, but the metaphor isn't perfect.

Programs are thrown out into the harsh environment, and the bad ones die. The good ones adapt rapidly and become very robust in short order.

The only problem with the metaphor is that the process isn't random at all. Python chooses to include Tk's genes; Linux decides to make itself more suitable for symbiosis with X, etcetera.

Free software is artificial life, but better.

Aaron Watters, 29 Sep 1994

I claim complete innocence and ignorance! It must have been Tim. I wouldn't know a Trondheim Hammer if it fell on my foot!

Steve Majewski, 10 Jan 1995

(Aieee! Yet another thing on my TODO pile!)

A.M. Kuchling, 10 Jan 1995

[After someone wrote "...assignment capability, a la djikstra"] Ehh, the poor old man's name is Dijkstra. I should know, "ij" is a well known digraph in the Dutch language. And before someone asks the obvious: his famous "P and V" names for semaphores are derived for the Dutch words "Passeer" and "Verlaat", or "Pass" and "Leave". And no, I haven't met him (although he did work at CWI back in the fifties when it was called, as it should still be today, Mathematical Centre). he currently lives in Austin, Texas I believe. (While we're at it... does anybody remember the Dijkstra font for Macintoshes? It was a scanned version of his handwriting. I believe Luca Cardelli scanned it -- the author of Obliq, a somewhat Python-like distributed language built on Modula-3. I could go on forever... :-)

Guido van Rossum, 19 Jan 1995

As always, I'll leave it to a volunteer to experiment with this.

Guido van Rossum, 20 Jan 1995

Non-masochists, please delete this article NOW.

Aaron Watters, 20 Jan 1995

If Perl weren't around, I'd probably be using Python right now.

Tom Christiansen in comp.lang.perl, 2 Jun 1995

GUI stuff is supposed to be hard. It builds character.

Jim Ahlstrom, at one of the early Python workshops

>VERY cool mod, Peter. I'll be curious to see GvR's reaction to your syntax.


Nick Seidenman and Guido van Rossum, 1 Aug 1996

Python is an experiment in how much freedom programmers need. Too much freedom and nobody can read another's code; too little and expressiveness is endangered.

Guido van Rossum, 13 Aug 1996