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PEP0238 lament

Chris Gonnerman Jul 23, 2001 6:10 AM
Posted in group: comp.lang.python
----- Original Message -----
From: "Roy Smith" <>

> Well, heck, in perl, "1"/2 is 0.5 as well.  I'm sure there are lots of
> people new to programming who gets confused when they discover that
> and strings are different too.  Perhaps we should add auto-conversion of
> strings to numbers to python as well? :-)

If that were the rule in the first place (pre-1.5.2 at least) we wouldn't
cry about it (much).

> The thing that scares me most about this idea is that it breaks existing
> code.  And, the idea that there will be conversion tools, and
> generated, don't impress me.  You still need to touch all the old code.

YES.  This is my headache too.  All the pro-PEP0238 people out there assume
that we will track version upgrades... but I upgraded several systems
from 1.5.2 to 2.1.  There's nothing to stop me from doing that with 2.4, and
then I'll be in a world of hurt.

> What about code that you've shipped to customers already?  Are we going to
> demand that they not upgrade their python installation, or that they
> maintain a new version for their own work and an old version to keep our
> stuff going?


> While, I happen to like the way integer division works, I could be
> convinced that auto-promotion from int to float might be a good thing, if
> that's the way the language had been defined in the first place.  Too late
> to go back now, however.

Much too late.

Consistent rules which are not *wrong* but only *different* should NOT be
changed this late in the game.  I really don't think it takes that long to
teach a newbie about integer division; is saving 5 minutes times the number
of newbies out there really worth the man-hours of fixing the bugs and the
serious loss of face when we screw with a fundamental rule?