[Edu-sig] Python as a first language for computer sciencist

Kirby Urner urnerk at python.org
Wed Oct 19 20:55:38 CEST 2005

> I have not told them about Jython, mainly because my own impression
> was that Jython was not really going anywhere.  I tried a couple of
> simple graphics programs that didn't work....

Re Jython etc., in a pure CS context we don't have to care if the language
is dead, e.g. Algol might still be nit-picked, to learn more about
compilers, and we might do a unit on FORTRAN (which is still used BTW, on
fancy Crays doing highly optimized linear algebra 24/7 -- I've had beers
with some of those guys).

Conway did a good talk on dead languages @ OSCON 2005, and their ongoing
utility as play-things, toyz, e.g. you can learn a lot from C++. :-D [1]

The supervising faculty member at the school where I'm teaching has asked me
to mix a lot of GIS/GPS into my Python, which I'm happy to do (having taught
Python to ESRI product users, spent time milling about the various

I'll be opening with Google Earth, with Stellarium and Celestia for context.
Part of the storyline:  Google uses Python a lot, internally (true fact!),
and these two astronomy programs well illustrate the state of the art when
it comes to open source (quality code really does bubble up in the bazaar,
not just in cathedrals).


[1] http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2005/08/oscon-day-2-wanderers.html (see
last paragraph for mention of the dead languages talk, which included many
slogans in Latin, in which Damian is expert.

[2] http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2005/03/python-for-gis-experts.html

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