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Ovid (2709)

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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Tuesday November 21, 2006
04:40 AM

Removing Scheme from MIT?

[ #31672 ]

It appears that MIT's mind-bogglingly difficult introductory comp-sci course is going to switch from Scheme to Python (there's more to it than that, but that's the major bit). I could see Ruby or a variety of other languages, but Python? Let's see what Guido has to say about Lambda statements:

In my mind, the inability of lambda to contain a print statement or a while-loop etc. is only a minor flaw; after all instead of a lambda you can just use a named function nested in the current scope.

Is he serious? This guy's language is replacing Scheme at MIT? Python's a fine language, but Guido has some serious limitations in his thought (there, I've said it. Sheesh).

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  • Would it be that functional programming people in MIT are losing influence or lacking vigor to fight more "pragmatic" approaches to programming? It is always the same story: code easier to read, easier to maintain, lower threshold for beginners, etc. Guido's rationale has something to do with these trends as well. With such ideas, expressive power may be put aside in favour of construction with more basic blocks (which assumes the hypothesis that things like lambda functions, continuations, etc are inherent

    • My take on it: you can't wear handcuffs and paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Paint by number watercolors are OK, though.

    • I figure if Guido really cared about readability to novices, he wouldn't have let that awful conditional expression syntax in 2.5.

      (I have the awful temptation to write "Python is the new Lisp? Really?" where I compare some fundamental Lisp features with the Python code necessary to achieve the same effect, if it's even possible. Then again, I'm a jerk.)

  • Python is a pretty powerful language but it's no replacement for Lisp.

    I would think that (modern) Javascript would be a more appropriate learning language. At least, it knows real, proper closures.