Velocity Reviews > Perl > A Moronicity of Guido van Rossum

# A Moronicity of Guido van Rossum

Xah Lee
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Posts: n/a

 09-29-2005
A Moronicity of Guido van Rossum

Xah Lee, 200509

On Guido van Rossum's website:
dated 20050826, he muses with the idea that he would like to remove
lambda, reduce(), filter() and map() constructs in a future version
Python 3000.

Guido wrote:
«filter(P, S) is almost always written clearer as [x for x in S if
P(x)], and this has the huge advantage that the most common usages
involve predicates that are comparisons, e.g. x==42, and defining a
lambda for that just requires much more effort for the reader (plus the
lambda is slower than the list comprehension)»

the form “[x for x in S if P(x)]” is certainly not more clear than
“filter(P, S)”. The latter is clearly a function. What the **** is
the former? A function every programer in any language can understand
and appreciate its form and function. What the **** would anyone to
expect everyone to appreciate a Python syntactical idiosyncrasy “[x
for ...]”?

also, the argument that the from “filter(F,S)” being cumbersome
because the first argument is a function and that mostly likely it
would be a function that returns true and false thus most people will
probably use the form “lambda” and that is quite cumbersomethan if
the whole thing is written with the syntactical idiosyncrasy “[x for
....]”, is rather inane, as you can now see.

The filter(decision_function,list) form is clean, concise, and helps
thinking. Why it helps thinking? Because it condenses the whole
operation into its mathematical essence with the most clarity. That is,
it filters, of a list, and by a yes/no decision function. Nothing is
more, and nothing can be less. It is unfortunate that we have the
jargon Lambda and Predicate developed by the morons in the tech geekers
of the functional programing community. The lambda could be renamed
Pure Function and the Predicate could be called True/False function,
but the world being the way they are already, it is unwise to rewrite
every existing Perl program just because somebody invented another
language.

If the predicate in lambda in filter() is cumbersome, so would exactly
the same thing appear in the syntactical idiosyncrasy “[x for x in S
if P(x)]”.

Guido added this sting as a afterthought:
«(plus the lambda is slower than the list comprehension)»

Which is faster is really the whim and capacity of Python
implementators. And, just before we were using criterion of simplicity.
The concept of a function every programer understands, what the **** is
a List Comprehension?
Why don't you scrap list comprehension in Python 3000 and create a
table() function that's simpler in syntax and more powerful in
semantics? ( See http://xahlee.org/perl-python/list_comprehension.html
)

Guido wrote:
«Why drop lambda? Most Python users are unfamiliar with Lisp or
Scheme, so the name is confusing; also, there is a widespread
misunderstanding that lambda can do things that a nested function can't
-- I still recall Laura Creighton's Aha!-erlebnis after I showed her
there was no difference! Even with a better name, I think having the
two choices side-by-side just requires programmers to think about
making a choice that's irrelevant for their program; not having the
choice streamlines the thought process. Also, once map(), filter() and
reduce() are gone, there aren't a whole lot of places where you really
need to write very short local functions; Tkinter callbacks come to
mind, but I find that more often than not the callbacks should be
methods of some state-carrying object anyway (the exception being toy
programs).»

In the outset Guido here assumes a moronitude about the set of Python
users and what they are familiar of. Python users 10 years ago are not
the same Python users today, and will certainly not be the same 10
years later if you chop off lambda. Things change, math literacy
advances, and what users you have changes with what you are. A pure
function (lambda) is the gist of a mathematical idea embodied in
computer languages, not something from LISP or Scheme as tech geeking
morons wont to think.

Guido wrote:
«... there is a widespread misunderstanding that lambda can do things
that a nested function can't...».

One is so insulted by a bigshot in the industry of quoting something so
disparate then shot it down as if showing his perspicacity.

A lambda is a syntax for function or a name for the concept of
function. What the **** does it mean that a lambda isn't as powerful as
nested function??

The lambda in Python is really ill. It is designed with a built-in
limitation in the first place, and regarded as some foreign substance
in the Imperative crowd such as the Pythoners. If there's any problem
with lambda, it is with lambda in Python and Pythoner's attitude.

Guido wrote:
«Also, once map(), filter() and reduce() are gone, there aren't a
whole lot of places where you really need to write very short local
functions;»

Of course, you begin to write things like Java, in three thousand words
just to state you are a moron.

The removing of elements in a language is in general not a good idea.
Removing powerful features so that morons can use it is moronic. (e.g.
Java) Removing “redundant” constructs is not always smart (e.g.
Scheme), because it pinches on practicality. Removing existing language
features by a visionary upgrade is exceedingly moronic. It forces
unnecessary shakeup and can cause death.

Guido wrote:
«So now reduce(). This is actually the one I've always hated
most,...»

The existence of reduce() in Python is probably caused by tech geeking
clowns of the computing industry. Basically, nobody really have a clear
understanding of mathematics or computing semantics, but every elite
tech geeker knew about bags of constructs of various languages. So, you
add this, i want that, and the language becomes a incoherent soup of
constructs, with the backlash of wanting to chop off things again, with
that good things.

Suggestions: lambda, reduce(), filter() and map() all should stay. I'm
not sure exactly what's the ins and outs of Python 3000. If one wants
to shake things up based on a vision: don't. There are already
gazillion languages and visions; the world don't really need another
bigshot's say for their personal advancement. As for improvement,
lambda in Python should be expanded to remove its built-in limitation
(and Imperative Programing Crowd such as Pythoners should cease to have
lambda attitude problem). The function map() could also be considered
for expansion. (see “What is Expresiveness in a Computer Language”
at http://xahlee.org/perl-python/what_i...esiveness.html ) Function
reduce() should stay because it's already there, even if it is not very
useful and odd. filter() should stay as it is as it is superb and
proper.

---------
This post is archived at:
http://xahlee.org/perl-python/python_3000.html

Xah
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
http://xahlee.org/

Xah Lee
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-29-2005

reduce() in fact embodies a form of iteration/recursion on lists, very
suitable in a functional language environment. If Python's lambda and
other functional facilities are more powerful, reduce() would be a good
nest or sequence functions. (most readers will be familiar in the form
of unix shell's “pipe”). When you sequence functions, you can't
stop in the middle and do a loop construct. So, reduce() and other
functional forms of iteration are convenient and necessary.

----------
For version with slight professionalism (sans “****”), see:
http://xahlee.org/perl-python/python_3000.html

Note: Guido certainly isn't a moron. But, this post of his shows his
haughtiness, and rather unfamiliarity with functional programing. (i.e.
has he, worked in a functional language in any significant length or
project?) However, he's got the audacity to assert things, probably due
to bigshot status.

Guido's stumble isn't a rare instance in the industry, and i don't take
him to be of any sinister nature. (i don't know much about Guido the
person or personality.)

There are quite a lot ****ing liers and charlatans in the computing
industry, especially the OpenSourcers, from the ****ing
a-dime-a-million students with their “FREE” irresponsible homeworks
on the net to ****heads like James Gosling of Java , Larry Wall of
Perl, Linus Torvolts of Linux kernel, and that ****head C++ Berjo
something, the unix advocating ****ers, and those “gang of four”
Design Patterns **** and the criminals of eXtreme Programing and UML...
with these pundits begets one generation of ****ing tech geeking coding
monkeys, thinking that they know something, while creating a mass of
garbage that crashes and ****s us up everyday in the computing world.

(disclaimer: this post is pure opinion.)

"The required techniques of effective reasoning are pretty formal, but
as long as programming is done by people that don't master them, the
software crisis will remain with us and will be considered an incurable
disease. And you know what incurable diseases do: they invite the
quacks and charlatans in, who in this case take the form of Software
Engineering gurus." —Edsger Dijkstra 1930-2002.

Xah
(E-Mail Removed)
http://xahlee.org/

Matt
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-29-2005
Xah Lee wrote:
>There are quite a lot f___ing liers and charlatans in the computing
>industry, especially the OpenSourcers, from the f___ing
>a-dime-a-million students with their "FREE" irresponsible homeworks
>on the net to f___heads like James Gosling of Java , Larry Wall of
>Perl, Linus Torvolts of Linux kernel, and that f___head C++ Berjo
>something, the unix advocating f___ers, and those "gang of four"
>Design Patterns **** and the criminals of eXtreme Programing and UML...
>with these pundits begets one generation of f___ing tech geeking coding
>monkeys, thinking that they know something, while creating a mass of
>garbage that crashes and f___s us up everyday in the computing world.

OK... your post seems to indicate a belief that everyone else is
somehow incompetent. Sounds a bit like the "I am sane, it is everyone
else who is crazy" concept. Can you suggest a technology or
technologist who, in your expert opinion, has gotten it right?

Perhaps the language you have developed and others are using
successfully fits all of our needs?

Sherm Pendley
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-29-2005
"Matt" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> OK... your post seems to indicate a belief that everyone else is
> somehow incompetent.

Xah's just a troll - best to just ignore him. He posts these diatribes
to multiple groups hoping to start a fight.

sherm--

--
Cocoa programming in Perl: http://camelbones.sourceforge.net
Hire me! My resume: http://www.dot-app.org

Steven D'Aprano
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-29-2005
On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 10:44:28 -0700, Matt wrote:

> OK... your post seems to indicate a belief that everyone else is
> somehow incompetent. Sounds a bit like the "I am sane, it is everyone
> else who is crazy" concept. Can you suggest a technology or
> technologist who, in your expert opinion, has gotten it right?

Folks, Xah Lee is a classic Internet troll, and has been polluting this
newsgroup for a long time. Ask yourself, why would anyone rational cross
post criticism of Python to perl, lisp and scheme newsgroups? Does he
perhaps think that the Lisp and Scheme language developers are about to
remove the functional programming features from Lisp and need to be
shown Python as a warning?

He is the equivalent of one of those bored, spoiled teenagers who urinate
on public transport just to see the shocked reactions of other people. You
can't engage him in rational debate. Until we find a way to send electric
shocks through the Internet, all we can do is ignore him. To argue with
him just gives him the sick entertainment he wants.

--
Steven.

Kalle Anke
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-30-2005
On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 19:44:28 +0200, Matt wrote
(in article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>):

> OK... your post seems to indicate a belief that everyone else is
> somehow incompetent. Sounds a bit like the "I am sane, it is everyone
> else who is crazy" concept. Can you suggest a technology or
> technologist who, in your expert opinion, has gotten it right?

He has posted similar posts about other things to at least one other mailing
list, the tone and arguments of these post were exactly the same.

axel@white-eagle.invalid.uk
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-30-2005
In comp.lang.perl.misc Kalle Anke <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 19:44:28 +0200, Matt wrote
> (in article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>):

>> OK... your post seems to indicate a belief that everyone else is
>> somehow incompetent. Sounds a bit like the "I am sane, it is everyone
>> else who is crazy" concept. Can you suggest a technology or
>> technologist who, in your expert opinion, has gotten it right?

> He has posted similar posts about other things to at least one other mailing
> list, the tone and arguments of these post were exactly the same.

I wonder if his postings are related to the phases of the moon? It
might explain a lot.

Axel

Sherm Pendley
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-30-2005
(E-Mail Removed) writes:

> I wonder if his postings are related to the phases of the moon? It
> might explain a lot.

Yes, it would. Note that the word lunatic is derived from the Latin word
luna, meaning moon.

sherm--

--
Cocoa programming in Perl: http://camelbones.sourceforge.net
Hire me! My resume: http://www.dot-app.org

Sherm Pendley
Guest
Posts: n/a

 10-01-2005
Steven D'Aprano <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> On Fri, 30 Sep 2005 18:02:14 -0400, Sherm Pendley wrote:
>
>> (E-Mail Removed) writes:
>>
>>> I wonder if his postings are related to the phases of the moon? It
>>> might explain a lot.

>>
>> Yes, it would. Note that the word lunatic is derived from the Latin word
>> luna, meaning moon.

>
> Yes, lunatic is derived from luna, but that doesn't mean the two are
> connected. The ancients believed a lot of crap

*whoosh*

That, my friend, was the sound of a joke flying past and completely
missing you.

sherm--

--
Cocoa programming in Perl: http://camelbones.sourceforge.net
Hire me! My resume: http://www.dot-app.org

Steven D'Aprano
Guest
Posts: n/a

 10-01-2005
On Fri, 30 Sep 2005 18:02:14 -0400, Sherm Pendley wrote:

> (E-Mail Removed) writes:
>
>> I wonder if his postings are related to the phases of the moon? It
>> might explain a lot.

>
> Yes, it would. Note that the word lunatic is derived from the Latin word
> luna, meaning moon.

Yes, lunatic is derived from luna, but that doesn't mean the two are
connected. The ancients believed a lot of crap (the world is flat, black
people aren't human, thunder is the sound of god's fighting, buying
over-valued dot-com stock is a good investment) and "phases of the moon
affecting behaviour" was one of them.

People are really bad at connecting cause and effect. See this thread for
a simple example:

http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/u...2;t=000228;p=1

A skeptical policeman who says he doesn't actually believe the moon
affects behaviour nevertheless reports that "last weekend" things were
really crazy, and it was a full moon. Somebody writes in to correct him:
no, the full moon is actually "tomorrow".

This shows how cognitive biases can fool us. Even though he was skeptical,
the cop noticed the extra crazy behaviour on this particular weekend, and
manged to fool himself into thinking it matched a full moon.

See here for more details, plus references to research:

http://skepdic.com/fullmoon.html

--
Steven.