The whole Python decorators imbroglio has everything going for it: pity, terror and farce. The players flounce from duelling polls and patches to advocacy pieces born of excessive free time. Mix in all the hand-wringing about what this means about the state of the Python community and there’s my cue to mix myself a cocktail. Brett Cannon says:
“In the old days, Guido would Pronounce, and we’d all bite our tongues
(although not necessarily each his own). The less time Guido can make
for Python, the more important becomes graceful capitulation.” Tim said
this and it makes me wish for the old days. People had *months* to
comment on decorators and no one spoke up until something went into the
language. Procrastination is not a virtue when it comes to major
language evolution discussions. What was worse was when the emails
started repeating themselves (which was pretty much from the get-go when
this exploded). Seemed like people decided to start talking without
doing some research. Granted the PEP was outdated and the wiki page was
not up yet, but this stuff was covered in the Summaries before and you
could have just Googled for the previous threads.
‘Personally, if I was Guido, I would have said that the community had
their chance to speak up and they just didn’t take it. But Guido is a
nicer guy than that so people are getting a second chance with this.
Personally this came off a great case of the tyranny of the majority in
my eyes. There is a reason why Python is a dictatorship.
At this point people should be hashing out which syntax alternative they
want to present to Guido on comp.lang.python_. No more talking on
python-dev, no more syntax proposals. The community should set a goal
date (Sept. 1 seems good) and just choose a bloody alternative. Then
when Guido makes his choice people accept it or just go to another
language. No one had better voice their disappoint once Guido chooses
his syntax or I will personally come beat you over with a stick for
being a whiner.‘
This does seem to read like whining about whining, though. After all, people want Python to be popular, and it is. This means that debates in Python will involve ghetto-blaster volume and heavy noise per unit of signal. That’s success, and it’s glorious. Not to pick on Cannon, but his comments sounds like so much Pining for the Days of Great Greeks when Guido was dictator of the Peloponnese through Mycenae. “Alas”, the bard says, “Now we condescend to this garrulous Athenian democracy”. This cacophony may be irksome to the annalists, but in this case it’s the product of a great culture.
I’ve always been happy with Python’s development. It worked well when there was a relatively small core that quickly hashed out key decisions in relative obscurity. I still think it still works well now that marathon newsgroup threads, blog jousts and Wikis string together a chaos of comment on what direction the language should take. Python has a solid foundation, and this flame war exposes more of the strengths than the weaknesses of the language and community.
What do you think about how the decorators discussion reflects on Python?