Here's an interesting article on the early language design of Python. I really like Python, but when I write Python, the three things that I miss most about Smalltalk, in order of importance, are:
- The image-based development environment. Using a file-oriented IDE or text editor, and wrestling with "import" is so primitive in comparison. And Smalltalk-80 is 30 years old now.
- Block syntax that's so nice and minimal, it's practical to use it for your own control structures. In Smalltalk, I wrote a Block method that lets me do this: [ "do this" ] parallel: [ "and do this at the same time" ]. You could do this with Python functions, but it's so much less nice looking.
Reading of Guido's travails with machine integers vs. longs makes me think that he would have also benefitted from studying Smalltalk 80's SmallInteger and LargeInteger implementation.