Python and Dictatorship

A quote from a nice comment from Dave Benjamin on Lambda:

… I really wish Python had gotten a ternary operator; having to abuse “and” and “or” just to embed a conditional in an expression is tacky. I don’t care what the syntax is! Pick one! I feel like that feature died because of the noise, because nobody could agree on anything, and if that’s the direction of Python’s future, it’s a little bit scary.

Look, we’re not all going to agree on anything. I thought that’s why Guido was chosen as “Benevolent Dictator for Life”. Lately, his strategy has been to say something like “Well, I don’t care if we add the feature, and I don’t care if we don’t, but if you all can decide on a syntax, we’ll do it.” I think that this approach is killing progress. Of course we won’t all agree. We’re a bunch of opinionated hackers, and we like things our way. That’s why you’re dictator, Guido. Dictate!

Language is the one concrete dependency that we never seem to be able to abstract away. Changing a language affects more people the more successful a language becomes. Is it the destiny of every language to eventually grind to a halt, for no other reason than people’s inability to agree on the next step for growth? I hope not, but I’m glad we have lots of other languages that are not so constrained.

Totally agreed. Design by committee rarely turns out elegantly.

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