Python Humor

Here is a spurious collection of semi to totally unserious stuff, mostly postings found wafting gently in the comp.lang.python newsgroup (a.k.a. the python-list mailing list).

See also Andrew Kuchling's collection of Python quotations, containing in a condensed form some sterling examples of the wit and wisdom encountered in the Python world.

New Entries: Please add entries to be considered for inclusion in this page to the Python wiki.

The Zen of Python

Beautiful is better than ugly.
Explicit is better than implicit.
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.
Flat is better than nested.
Sparse is better than dense.
Readability counts.
Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules.
Although practicality beats purity.
Errors should never pass silently.
Unless explicitly silenced.
In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.
Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch.
Now is better than never.
Although never is often better than right now.
If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.
If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!

—Tim Peters

(This classic is also available in the Python interactive interpreter, just import this!)

Fundamental...

Subject: Re: Book review review
From: "Chyden.Net" <@chyden.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 12:53:48 +0100
Newsgroups: comp.lang.python

Mark Lutz wrote:
> Naturally, not everyone has the same sense of humor.

Dear, gentle, Mr. Lutz:

Not everyone has *ANY* sense of humor.

I -- an economist-turned-businessman who never got "Hello World"
to work right in C++ -- have enjoyed reading _Programming Python_.

I find computer science as god-awful as you probably find
economics.  Applied computer science [programming] is fun, and
applied economics [making money] is fun.  The textbooks that teach
both subjects are mind-numblingly dreadful.

Anyone who finds _Programming Python_ "too cute" needs to have
holes drilled in his head to let the evil spirits out.

> The only objective thing worth interjecting is that Python is
> named after a BBC comedy series; humor is a fundamental part of
> its culture (and, I think, life in general, but I'm not in a
> deep enough mood to go there today ;-).

Right.  What was van Rossum supposed to do?  Call it Hitler?

> Mark ("Pull my finger") L.

Charles "I'm not touching that nasty thing" Evans
CKO, Chyden.Net    The World's First BeOS ISP

Cute Wabbit

A little girl goes into a pet show and asks for a wabbit. The shop keeper looks down at her, smiles and says:

"Would you like a lovely fluffy little white rabbit, or a cutesy wootesly little brown rabbit?"

"Actually", says the little girl, "I don't think my python would notice."

—Nick Leaton, Wed, 04 Dec 1996

Shooting Yourself in the Foot

There's an endless series of jokes about how to shoot yourself in the foot using a particular programming language. Here are entries for Python and Java:

Python: You create a gun module, a gun class, a foot module and a foot class. After realising you can't point the gun at the foot, you pass a reference to the gun to a foot object. After the foot is blown up, the gun object remains alive for eternity, ready to shoot all future feet that may happen to appear.

Java: You find that Microsoft and Sun have released imcompatible class libraries both implementing Gun objects. You then find that although there are plenty of feet objects implemented in the past in many other languages, you cannot get access to one. But seeing as Java is so cool, you dont care and go around shooting anything else you can find.

—Mark Hammond

Python vs Tcl vs Perl5

Subject: Re: Python vs Tcl vs Perl5
From: Andrew Dalke <@ks.uiuc.edu>
Date: 24 Feb 1997 15:38:48 GMT

Ali Shah <@texcel.no> asked:
> if anyone out there has done some sort of evaluation about the
> suitability of [Python, Tcl or Perl5] for different applications?

Granted, the following has little to do with your questions... :)

Tcl -- It is short (only three letters) and does a suprising
   amount given that it doesn't have a vowel.  It can be
   pronounced "Tickle", which is a command.

Perl -- Bigger and has a vowel.  However you'll note that it isn't
   a common english word; you'll have to know what you're doing to
   use it, especially with spell-checkers which otherwise complain
   that it looks like noise.

Python -- This is a Real English Word (honest, look it up!) that
   happens to refer to a type of snake, which you'll notice is an
   object.  With the two vowels, python is quite readable.

Python Object Oriented Programming Seminar

Subject: Re: Fall Python Workshop & OOPSLA?
From: Joseph Strout <@ucsd.edu>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 09:24:41 -0800

On Tue, 25 Feb 1997, Jeffrey Kunce wrote:
> At last Fall's workshop, there was talk of combining the 1997
> Fall Python Workshop with OOPSLA in some way.
>
> Have there been any developments?

I suggested holding a "Python Object Oriented Programming
Seminar", but the acronym was unpopular.

PSA Budget

Subject: Where is the PSA $$$ Going?
From: Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <@mem.net>
X-Newsgroups: comp.lang.python
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 1997 11:25:02 -0500

Those of you who are PSA members may have seen this message from
Guido:

> I don't think it would be wise to publish a detailed budget (and
> it would be impossible as well).  However, I can tell you
> roughly where the money goes -- there are no secrets.

In an effort to take some of the burdens off of Guido's back, I
have compiled a summary budget of the PSA for your edification.

PSA 1996 Budget
---------------

Income:
     'Guido for President' Campaign Contributions (1)...$ 1,093,276.54
     Milk Money Extortion Program.......................$         3.12
     PSA Memberships....................................$     2,934.07
                                                         -------------
                                          Total Income: $ 1,096,213.73

Expenses:
     Monty Python Licencing Fees (2)....................$   652,362.55
     Pre-Release 2 Week Vacations (3)...................$    10,876.45
     Post-Release 2 Week Vacations (3)..................$   369,841.59
     Alien Abduction Insurance..........................$        15.01
     Python Web Site Maintenance........................$    62,541.72
     Great Comfort Cream................................$       554.65
                                                         -------------
                                        Total Expenses: $ 1,096,191.97

                                   Total Profit (Loss): $(21.76)

Notes:
     (1) Many of you many not be aware of the fabulously
successful 'Guido for President' Campaign. While Guido has no
interest in being the president, the PSA thought it would be a
cool way to collect money. The centerpiece of the campaign
featured an attractive offer to spend the night in Guido's spare
bedroom in exchange for a $50,000.00 contribution. (Mark Lutz
stayed TWICE!)
     (2) Since the proliferation of Monty Python related names
(Python, Monty, Grail, Eric-the-Half-a-Compiler, et al.) has
increased over the past year, the PSA felt it would be wise to
licencing the Python name to forestall any lawsuits. An added
benefit is that John Cleese is teaching Guido how to walk funny.
     (3) Pre-Release vacations are spent in the
Catskills. Post-Release vacations are spent in the Bahamas. Guido
is currently working on a system which will allow him to make more
releases of Python; thus octupling the number of vacations he
takes in a year.

Well, folks, as you can see, Guido is taking money out of his own
pocket to make the PSA work! So stop whining!

The Origin of the Great Timbot Conspiracy Theory

Subject: RE: Python bytecode
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 97 04:29:43 UT
From: Tim Peters <@msn.com>
Cc: python-list@cwi.nl

> [steve "lost highway" majewski inflames ...]
> ...
> What's changed in the last year has been my estimate of some
> of the secondary gains due to what I think is the reasonable (but
> arguable) belief that Java:
> (1) will largely replace C++ [& C] as an application programming
>     language.
> (2) will provide a higher level of portability than is now common
>     with C + standard posix libraries.

*If* I were an AI program, I would both dispute and embrace both
sides of both claims until we all got so lost in the maze of
nested invocations that the poor chicken couldn't even *see* the
other side of the road.  Short-circuiting all that, to #1 I say we
can hope; to #2, not if Microsoft can stop it <0.3 wink>.

> I don't think I'm overestimating you, Aaron.

It would be hard to overestimate Aaron!  I've tried, & haven't
succeeded yet.

> You're too opinionated to be NEVER wrong, but you've never
> been absurdly wrong before, which

Jeez, Steve, you just can't stop provoking tchrist, can you
<wink>?

> is why I assumed there must be a communication problem.

Na, it's all e-mail artifacts.  Trust me.  If we were all in the
same bar, we would have punched each other out by now & reached
harmonic convergence despite that.  The older I get, the more I
hate everything ...

> BTW: I know Guido is never wrong, but that's a matter of
> theology -- like the way the Pope is never wrong.

Even worse than that -- I think the Pope has to be sitting in a
magic chair (or something) to be infallible.  Guido just *is*.

> And I know I've been wrong, because Guido and Tim have told
> me so.

Wrong again, Steve:  we've never said that.  QED.

> But has anyone ever seen Tim be wrong ?

Nobody living, except Guido, and I wouldn't count on him living
*much* longer if he catches me in another misteake.

> ...You don't think that maybe during his absence from the list,
> he cobbled up an AI simulation of himself in his basement on a
> couple of KSR's he swiped when they stiffed him on his severance
> pay ? Hmmm.  And, isn't there something mechanical and formulaic
> about his patterned signoff lines -- I mean compared to us
> normal humans who repeatedly use the same exact sigs in message
> after message.  I think he/it's been dropping us a hint all
> along with the "tim_one" address!!

Ya, ya, ya, except ... if I were built out of KSR chips, I'd be
running at 25 or 50 MHz, and would be wrong about ALMOST
EVERYTHING almost ALL THE TIME just due to being a computer!
Think about it -- when's the last time you spent 20 hours straight
debugging your son/wife/friend/neighbor/dog/ferret/snake?  And
they *still* fell over anyway?  Except in a direction you've never
seen before each time you try it?  The easiest way to tell you're
dealing with a computer is when the other side keeps making the
same moronic misteakes over and misteakes over and misteakes over
and misteakes over and misteakes over and misteakes CTRL-C again.

> Hey Tim: How many chickens does it take to cross the road?

No number of Java chickens, because it isn't safe to cross the
road.

but-it-only-takes-one-python-chicken-to-*build*-a-damn-road-ly y'rs  - tim

The Other Origin of the Great Timbot Conspiracy Theory

Subject: The Truth about Tim
From: Barry A. Warsaw
Date: 22 Mar 1998 23:28:48 -0500
X-Oblique-Strategy: Everything leaks. (given by Ken Manheimer)

>>>>> "TP" == Tim Peters <@email.msn.com> writes:

    TP> I don't know, Barry -- is it time to let the cat out of
    TP> the bag about how easy the C++ and Perl modes were?

*PERL* mode?  Don't you know the reason I dropped Perl for Python
in the first place?  Ah well, read on...

Actually "Tim", it is finally time to come clean with the *real*
truth behind "you".

Folks, the net.personality you know as "Tim Peters" is really a
port of the old Richard Stallman AI program written in Emacs Lisp,
which ran on Emacs 17.45.  A few years ago, the FSF asked me to
port this program to another free (oops, open source) language of
my choice, because stallman.el wasn't compatible with the new
fangled Emacs 18 that was being worked on, and nobody understood
how the old code worked anyway.

So I chose Python because of its cool name and the fact that
font-lock actually worked for Python syntax, and I wrote a Python
C extension that allowed me to embed Emacs in Python, and to
seamlessly call Elisp programs from Python.  This was actually
cleaner than JPython is now (sorry Jim), except for one little
problem.  I was under the misguided idea that Python used brace
delimiters and I was hoping to just substitute parentheses for
braces.  My having to write the translator between lisp braces and
mixed tabs and spaces indentation was why "Tim Peters" was off the
net for so long a few years back (okay, so it took me a looong
time to get through the Python tutorial!).

Anyway I finished this work, wrote a small wrapper script called
tim.py and since the GNU machines never had passwords on their
logins, I was able to set up a cron job that scanned mailing lists
and newsgroups, and posted "responses" to interesting messages.
Sadly, all the GNU machines got moved recently, they put passwords
on their accounts, and I was only able to rescue the tim.py
script, which I include below.

I've asked the FSF for the source code to my system, called the
Python-Emacs Extension for Enabling Workable Elisp (called PEE
EWE) which included the stallman.py and witty.py modules, but all
I got back was a MIME encoded email written in Japanese, for which
the only words I could make out were "proprietary" and "waiting
for copyright assignment".  Sigh.

Anyway, it appears that there's at least one friendly person at
the FSF, because every time the "Tim Peters" becomes quiet for a
little while, someone always seems to reboot it...

There.  I feel so much better now.

-Barry

    TP> Ya, and if anoyone actually saw that msg, they'd also know
    TP> why I make sure to cash your checks before the ink is dry!
    TP> Cheapskate.

P.S.  You better watch it "Tim", or I'll have you-know-who over
there hit C-c and remove the pickle of your state.  Don't push me,
man... I'll DO IT!

P.P.S.  So how many of you have ever actually met "Tim Peters"?  I
know Guido claims to have, but I've seen no proof.  And I ran a
DNA scan on that mustache hair that was mysteriously sent to me
from someone claiming to be "Tim", and all the report said was
"not of human origin".

For What?

Date: Fri, 21 Nov 97 22:40:35 cst
From: Jeff Rush
To: @python.org
Subject: [PSA MEMBERS] Erotic Programming in Python ???

While perusing the Python sources I came across this tidbit;
either a mispelling of 'esoteric' or some very interesting
programming practices...  <grin> Guido?

----- cut here -----
/* API to access the initialized flag -- useful for eroteric use */

int
Py_IsInitialized()
{
        return initialized;
}
----- cut here -----

Tasty Slices

Subject: Re: pass copy of list to function
From: "Gordon McMillan" <@hypernet.com>
To: Timo Schmitt <@mailhost.uni-koblenz.de>, python-list@cwi.nl
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 09:13:59 -0500

Timo asked:

> how do i pass a copy of a list of a function?

Use the Paranoia emoticon.

list = ['blah', 'blah']

f(list[:])

This passes the "here's my desert, where's everyone elses?" slice.

Python Block Delimited Notation Parsing Explained

Subject: Addition explanation of indentation for the tutorial
From: Michael McLay <@nist.gov>
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 16:42:19 -0500
Message-Id: <199803092142.QAA04377@fermi.eeel.nist.gov>
To: python-list@cwi.nl

Fredrik Lundh writes:
 > In fact, Python already supports block delimiters:
 >
 >     if foo: #{
 >         foo1();
 >         foo2();
 >         foo3();
 >     #}
 >
 > Inspired by Larry Wall, Guido also made sure that the ending
 > delimiter could be written in various other ways, such as #end
 > if.  Anything to empower the newbies, you know.  But real
 > Python programmers tend to omit both semicolons and curly
 > braces, of course.

This undocumented feature of the language should be explained in
the official distribution of documentation!!  How about adding the
following as an Appendix of the Python Tutorial.  Also add a
footnote the explanation of indentation at the end of Chapter 3.

                        Appendix XXX

        Python Block Delimited Notation Parsing Explained

Python incorporates a sophisticated parser and advanced notation
for recognizing block delimiters from almost any computer
language.  The foreign language notations of C, Ada Pascal, TCL,
and Perl will work in most situations.  The Python parser only
requires two minor modifications to the block notation rules of
the foreign language's grammar rules in order to be Python
compliant.

The first change is the addition of a rule which states that
indentation of code is not simply a stylistic suggestion like it
is in other languages.  It is mandatory in Python.  The use of
indentation is considered good coding practice in all these
languages and Python takes this a step further by making it
required by the language grammar.  In Python the meaning of a code
block which is not properly indent is not defined.  Experienced
Python programmers find this rule to be very helpful in making
everyone's code more readable.  An added benefit is that language
sensitive editors, such as Xemacs, can assist in writing code
since they are able to automate the indentation of code blocks.

The second change to to the grammar rules of foreign languages is
that all symbols used to indicate the beginning or end of a block
must be prefixed with the '#' character.  If you are a former
Pascal or Ada programmer this will change your usual notation to:

        if x: #BEGIN
                x = x + 1
        #END

If you are more familiar with C and C++ then you will be
comfortable with either:

        if x: #{
                x = x + 1
        #}

or:

        if x:
                x = x + 1

or even:

        if x: x = x + 1

C programmers will be happy to hear that the Python parser will do
the right thing even if curly braces are not included when two
trailing statements are present:

        if x:
                x = x + 1
                y = 3 + x

This last feature will fix a common source of bugs in C, C++, and
Java programs.

Python's parser is also sophisticated enough to recognize mixed
notations, and it will even catch missing beginning or end
delimiters and correct the program for the user.  This allows the
following to be recognized as legal Python:

        if x: #BEGIN
                x = x + 1
        #}

or even:

        if x: #{
                x = x + 1

Now as you can see from this series of examples, Python has
advanced the state of the art of parser technology and code
recognition capabilities well beyond that of the legacy languages.
It has done this in a manner which carefully balances good coding
style with the need for older programmers to feel comfortable with
look of the language syntax.  </pre>

Bad Habits

Subject: Re: Why We Chose Perl (and What You Can Do About It)
From: @mchip00.med.nyu.edu (Roy Smith)
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 16:11:21 -0500
X-Copyright: Copyright 1997 Roy Smith

Paul F Dubois <@home.com> wrote:
> Stereotyping Fortran programmers as somehow less likely than anyone else
> to learn something new is unlikely to produce any insight.

C      YES I AGREE.  I STARTED OUT PROGRAMMING IN FORTRAN ON A TOPS-10 S  000100
C      YSTEM AND OTHER SIMILAR MACHINES.  ALTHOUGH, I MUST ADMIT, I STIL  000200
C      L HAVE SOME BAD HABITS I PICKED UP FROM THOSE OLD DAYS, BY AND LA  000300
C      RGE I BELIEVE I HAVE OVERCOME MOST OF THE WORST ONES.              000400

Nolo Contendre

Subject: Re: Does Python meet the definitions of an OO Programming
         Language?
From: Tim Peters <@email.msn.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 18:19:54 -0500

[jeff <nospam@myhost.com>]
> Is it not true that a programming language must
> enforce "data hiding" or encapsulation to be
> considered a true Object Oriented programming
> language?

Absolutely! Guido (van Rossum, Python's creator) probably doesn't
even know how to spell those phrases, though.

> (It is true incase you thought not).

Who could deny it?

> So how does Python implement encapsulation? From
> what I have seen it does not, and therefore may contain
> many OO concepts, but cannot be considered a
> true OO programming language.

Indeed, and because it doesn't support closures, it's not a true
functional programming language either. And because you have to
import all sorts of modules to do the simplest things (e.g.,
regular expressions), neither is it a true scripting
language. Indeed, because it doesn't support labeled break or
continue statements, it's not even a true structured programming
language.

> Tell me I'm wrong.

No way! You should forget Python and move on to something else. In
fact, it would be a waste of your time even to reply to any of the
silly flames you'll probably get back in response to your message
-- these people are, like, hypnotized or something.

takes-one-to-know-one-ly y'rs - tim

Fractional Winkery

Washington DC: April 1, 1998.

Senators Exon and Danforth today called a press conference to announce new efforts to make the internet safe for children.

"Bleeding heart, do-good, L-word lawyers and judges have twisted the founding father's obvious intentions and used First Amendment as a protection for subversives, satanists and pederasts", said their release. "But today we have uncovered a threat so insidious, so morally debilitating, so counter to any notion of the public good, that it is unimaginable that even the most depraved, card-carrying ACLU member will fail to see the need for immediate action."

The Senators refused to describe the practice in detail, but reliable sources referred to it as "fractional winkery". Medical research into the affects of the practice had to be halted when a impromptu VIP tour of the facilities came upon the researchers, stark naked, in their lab. "They had 16 rolls of duct tape, 2 bags of clothes pins, 130 hampsters from the cancer labs down the hall, and at least 500 pounds of grape jello and unknown amounts of chopped liver" said the source on a recent Geraldo interview. The researchers were summarily dismissed. "What's truly disturbing is that they apparently showed absolutely no sign of remorse" commented Geraldo. "These were ordinary, hard working people... They could have been your children... All they could do was laugh."

In a possibly related anouncment, the Massachusetts Home for the Bewildered (soon to become the Massachusetts Institute of Tab Sciences) reports the recent discovery of an escape that took place some time ago. The escapee is thought to be a practioner of "fractional winkery" according to second hand reports, (first hand reports being unreliable, because most of the original staff are now inmates). The escape was discovered during an outside audit of MHB's computer systems. "I became suspicious of some code in the inmate release modules", said the auditor. "It suddenly occurred to me that I was looking at code that was much better than anything MHB's internal staff could write. It was really very, very, very, very, very, very clever. If he weren't such a wacko, I'd hire him myself."

Happy NTPAD!

—Gordon McMillan, Wed, 1 Apr 1998

Eloquent Appliances

Subject: Warning - contentless!
From: "Gordon McMillan" <@hypernet.com>
To: python-list@cwi.nl
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 11:22:29 -0500

I see news from JavaOne about the API's for embedded Java and
speach recognition.

Then I see this from CNN
(http://www.cnn.com/US/9804/01/waiting.for.god.ap/):

---------------------------------------
"Teacher Chen," leader of God's Salvation Church, did not admit
failure. ... Speaking through an interpreter, he had a few
warnings for those who would listen: ... - Other items like
computers, toasters, and refrigerators may begin moving around
rooms and talking.
---------------------------------------

I'm very disturbed that Python will miss out on all the fun.

<refrigerator> [to dishwasher] "...so I'm inclined to believe that
capping the capital gains tax at 13% would enable sustainable
growth in the GNP of over 4%."

<dishwasher> "Hmmm, not that I disagree in principle, but..."

<toaster> "Ewww, couple a bleedin' wanna-bees. If somebody would
defrost you, you wouldn't have any friggin long-term investments!"

<refrigerator> "Well, I... Humph. Look, with a sustained GNP
growth of 4%, even those without significant investments stand to
benefit."

<toaster> "Yeah, right, you bloated freon-gas-bag. Like Labor got
something from the Reagan feeding frenzy..."

<dishwasher> "Now look here! That's an entirely different
issue. Labor has simply not kept up with the productivity
increases necessary..."

<toaster> "Oh piss off, you washed out whizzer! You need your
gaskets changed!"

<microwave> "SSSHHH, here she comes!"

<all - in sing-song> "Good morning Mrs. Gumby!"

Now doesn't Python seem more appropriate than Java for this?

The Power of Generalization

Subject: list.pop
From: "Tim Peters"
To: <python-list@cwi.nl>
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 17:16:12 -0400

[tim gets behind terry reedy's list.pop idea, and
 suggests list.pop(index=-1) so that list.pop()
 complements list.append(x) and list.pop(i)
 list.insert(i, x)]

> OTOH, anyone can kill the idea instantly just by proposing a
> generalization to list.pop(lo:hi) <0.5 wink>.

[David Ascher]

> [suggests] list.pop(lo:hi:stride).
> And I propose an extension to the indexing notation in general
> -- if a callable is sent in as either lo, hi or stride, that
> callable is called with either (lo,hi,stride), (hi,lo,stride) or
> (stride,lo,hi) depending on which position in the index is
> currently in use.  It's up to the callee to figure out which it
> is.
>
> The real question is how metaclasses can help here...

[Andrew Kuchling]
> Why make things so complicated?  Just define a markup language
> for specifying which items to remove.  Then you'd only need a
> single list.modify() method which would accept a string
> containing a document such as:
>
> <poplist>
>   <remove>
>     <element index="1">
>   </remove>
>   <remove>
>     <slice start="-4" end="-1">
>   </remove>
>   <insert start=5>
>     <listref xml:link="pylist" href="python:__main__.myList">
>   </insert>
> </poplist>
> ...
> This is much better than having a complicated function which
> takes a varying number of arguments.  Remember, one of Python's
> guiding principles is simplicity!

damn-but-it's-great-to-be-proved-right<wink!>-ly y'rs  - tim

Fanatically Pragmatic

Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 23:05:03 -0400
From: Tim Peters <@email.msn.com>
Cc: python-list@cwi.nl
Subject: RE: Embedded code in regexes

[Marc-Andre Lemburg]
> Would be an unfair approach, but also shows how pragmatism can
> sometimes beat purism ;-)

[Mark Hammond]
> Id go farther - "always" is the word I would use :-)
>
> As Tim and I have discussed privately before - this is probably
> why Python is as popular as it is - Guido does tend to have a
> more pragmatic bent than other language designers.  Sometimes I
> think it could be more so, but I do appreciate it being as it
> is!
>
> Never let a pure design get in the way of actually using it :-)

[Steven D. Majewski]
> I'd disagree: some of the problems with Perl and Tcl are that
> they are entirely *too* pragmatic and ad hoc designs. I'ld say
> Guido has done a good job of walking the line -- he has had a
> moderate concern with elegance and consistency, and as a result,
> the design has held up well.

Sorry, but I need to disagree with everyone.  Not that I have an
opposing view formed, this is just a matter of principle with me.
I'll let you know what my view is once I figure it out -- it seems
unusually hard to disagree with everyone here without appearing
inconsistent!  Tempted to point out that Perl and Tcl are both
more widely used than Python, but I don't want to get involved
with facts lest they turn on me later <wink>.

upholding-the-std-for-pragmatic-posting-ly y'rs  - tim

Forseen Consequences

Subject: Re: IOError(errno, strerror)
Date: Sat, 01 Aug 1998 23:36:17 -0400
From: Guido van Rossum <@cnri.reston.va.us>
Cc: python-list@cwi.nl

[Gordon McMillan]
> Very cool! Now before your time machine cools down, go back 2
> weeks and have him fix select.err (9, bad fileno in select) to
> tell me which one!

You know very well I can't do that.  To fix that one, I'd have to
travel all the way back to the early eighties and convince the BSD
design team to improve the diagnostics abilities of the Unix
kernel in general, and of select(2) in particular.  And while I
could certainly do that, I'm worried of the consequences -- the
BSD vs. System V split might never have happened, Unix would have
ruled the world, we'd all be programming in awk++, and Bill Gates
would be an obscure patent lawyer that no-one had heard of.
Oops-- those would actually all be good things, except for awk++;
Python would never have happened and I wouldn't be here to answer
your question before you've asked it.  (The answer is no, of
course.  You'll think of the question in a few days.)

Judicious Application of Scant Fudiciary Resources

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 02:13:49 -0400
From: Tim Peters <@email.msn.com>
To: python-list@cwi.nl
Subject: RE: Idea - alternative to lambda

[tim]
> Think this might actually happen <wink>?

[Guido]
> Perhaps...

Ah!  Newcomers should be told that this is Guido's subtle way of
saying he's in doubt about scraping together September rent money.
Enough said.

emailing-cash-and-lots-of-it-ly y'rs  - tim

Neutral testimony...

Subject: Re: Just Say No to //
From: Johann Hibschman <@physics.berkeley.edu>
Date: 06 Sep 1998 22:15:39 -0700
To: python-list@cwi.nl

"M.-A. Lemburg" <@lemburg.com> writes:

> I think 1//2 and 1 + 1//2 are good compromises. While keeping a
> close eye on novice's thoughts about natural ways of expressing
> themselves to computers is a Good Thing, there's really no point
> in throwing tradtions over board that easily. Just put them on
> the Todo list for Flying 1.0 or Circus 0.1 [Then I'll contract
> your daugther to convert my scripts to the new style ;-)].

Just for a data point on the non-programmer's perspective, I went
out and asked a friend of mine, a graduate student in medieval
english literature, what she though of this whole debate.  The
conversation went something like this:

Me : So, say you take two integers, ok?
Her: Okay.
Me : So, you can add them, subtract them, and multiply them in a
     program, right?
Her: Um.  Sure.
Me : Now let's say that you divide them--
Her: But that makes no sense!  Integers form a ring, not a field.
     You did say you were taking these numbers from Z, right?
Me : Uh, yeah.

So there you have it.  The non-programmer viewpoint.  (With which
I conveniently agree.)  "Integer division" is hokey and shouldn't
be spelled "/", even if C wants to.  ;-)

I hope that helps.  <1e10 winks>

Guido Speedo

Subject: Re: Guess who's on the cover of the Linux Journal
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 16:59:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dave Mitchell <@magnet.com>

  Maybe for the conference we should include an official SPAM 7
speedo swimsuit this year? And take a big group picture of all
of us sporting 'em!
                                                        -dave
On Thu, 17 Sep 1998, Barry A. Warsaw wrote:
> >>>>> "DA" == David Ascher <da@skivs.ski.org> writes:
>
>     DA> I think for maximum visibility, Guido should be in the
>     DA> swimsuit issue instead.
>
> I was *not* going to be the one to suggest that!  :-)

... and ...

Subject: Re: Guess who's on the cover of the Linux Journal
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 16:01:26 GMT
From: "Michael T. Richter" <@igs.net>
Newsgroups: comp.lang.python

[Dave Mitchell]
>>   Maybe for the conference we should include an official SPAM 7
>> speedo swimsuit this year? And take a big group picture of all
>> of us sporting 'em!

[Bill Anderson]
> the "Guido Speedo" ?

> ...has a certain alliterative quality...<0.7 wink>

It's more assonance than alliteration.

... and THEN someone had the AUDACITY to say ...

Subject: Re: Guess who's on the cover of the Linux Journal
Date: 18 Sep 1998 16:20:08 -0400
From: "Barry A. Warsaw" <@cnri.reston.va.us>
Newsgroups: comp.lang.python
X-Oblique-Strategy: Remove the elements, keep the structure

>>>>> "MTR" == Michael T Richter <@igs.net> writes:

    >> the "Guido Speedo" ?

    MTR> It's more assonance than alliteration.

emphasis on the a... <bzzt>

Python vs. Perl according to Yoda

Subject: Python versus Perl: A humorous look
From: larry (funkster@midwinter.com)
Date: 10 Jul 1999 01:45:07 -0700

This has been percolating in the back of my mind for a while.
It's a scene from _The Empire Strikes Back_ reinterpreted to serve
a valuable moral lesson for aspiring programmers.

--

EXTERIOR: DAGOBAH -- DAY
           With Yoda strapped to his back, Luke climbs up one of
        the many thick vines that grow in the swamp until he
        reaches the Dagobah statistics lab. Panting heavily, he
        continues his exercises -- grepping, installing new
        packages, logging in as root, and writing replacements for
        two-year-old shell scripts in Python.

YODA: Code!  Yes.  A programmer's strength flows from code
      maintainability.  But beware of Perl.  Terse syntax... more
      than one way to do it...  default variables.  The dark side
      of code maintainability are they.  Easily they flow, quick
      to join you when code you write.  If once you start down the
      dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume
      you it will.

LUKE: Is Perl better than Python?

YODA: No... no... no.  Quicker, easier, more seductive.

LUKE: But how will I know why Python is better than Perl?

YODA: You will know.  When your code you try to read six months
      from now.

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