Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity.
A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code.
Indeed, the term “free format”, used back then to describe the newer style of token-oriented syntax in Pascal and C, has almost been forgotten; languages have been designed that way for decades now. It's hard to blame anyone, on seeing this Python feature, for initially reacting as though they had unexpectedly stepped in a steaming pile of dinosaur dung. I skimmed through the rest of the language description without much interest.
My most recently completed project, as I write this, is a special-purpose language called SNG for manipulating PNG (Portable Network Graphics) images.
Interested readers can surf to the SNG home page at
One of them, , was used to automatically generate the Post Script for the sixth edition of Linux from the Linux Documentation Project's archive of HOWTOs. Writing these programs left me progressively less satisfied with Perl.
Larger project size seemed to magnify some of Perl's annoyances into serious, continuing problems.