[Python-ideas] Python 3000 TIOBE -3%

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Thu Feb 9 21:14:54 CET 2012

Massimo Di Pierro writes:
 > On Feb 9, 2012, at 12:03 PM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
 > > Massimo Di Pierro wrote:
 > >> Here is another data point:
 > >> http://redmonk.com/sogrady/2012/02/08/language-rankings-2-2012/
 > >> Unfortunately the TIOBE index does matter. I can speak for python  
 > >> in education and trends I seen.

Well, maybe you should teach your students the rudiments of lying,
erm, "statistics".  That -3% on the TIOBE index is a steaming heap of
FUD, as Anatoly himself admitted.  Feb 2011 is clearly above trend,
Feb 2012 below it.  Variables vary, OK?  So at the moment it is
absolutely unclear whether Python's trend line has turned down or even
decreased slope.

And the RedMonk ranking shows Python at the very top.

 > Don't shoot the messenger please.
 > You can dismiss or address the problem. Anyway... undergrads do care  
 > because they will take 4 years to grade and they do not want to come  
 > out with obsolete skills. Our undergrads learn Python, Ruby, Java,  
 > Javascript and C++.

Maybe they should learn something about reality of the IT industry,
too.  According to the TIOBE survey, COBOL and PL/1 are in the same
class (rank 51-100, basically indistinguishable) with POSIX shell.
Old programming languages never die ... and experts in them only
become more valuable with time.  Python skills will hardly become
"obsolete" in the next decade, certainly not in the next 4 years.

You say "dismiss or address the problem."  Is there a problem?  I
dunno.  Popularity is nice, but I really don't know if I would want to
use a Python that spent the next five years (because that's what it
will take) fixing what ain't broke to conform to undergraduate

Sure, it would be nice have more robust support for installing
non-stdlib modules such as numpy.  But guess what?  That's a hard nut
to crack, and more, people have been working quite hard on the issue
for a while.  The distutils folks seem to be about to release at this
point -- I guess the Time Machine has struck again!

And by the way, which of Ruby, Java, Javascript, and C++ provides
something like numpy that's easier to install?  Preferably part of
their stdlib?  In my experience on Linux and Mac, at least, numerical
code has always been an issue, whether it's numpy (once that I can
remember, and that was because of some dependency which wouldn't
build, not numpy itself), Steel Bank Common Lisp, ATLAS, R, ....

The one thing that bothers me about the picture at TIOBE is the
Objective-C line.  I assume that's being driven by iPhone and iPad
apps, and I suppose Java is being driven in part by Android.  It's too
bad Python can't get a piece of that action!

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