carpe linguam

Garrett G. Hodgson garry at
Thu Aug 26 15:18:04 EDT 1999

Matt Curtin wrote:

> Tom complains loudly when something is broken or stupid.  Tom is very
> direct; some would say "abrasive".  Tom is almost always right.


> The lack of Python man pages is a problem for Unix folks.

i've been a unix folk for decades, and it's not a problem for me.
i click in my browser, instead of typing "man".  big deal.

a simple shell (or perl) script can convert the html pages to
cat-able form.  i do this on occasion when no browser is handy.

> We have an
> online manual for a reason.  We're used to tools like `man' and
> `apropos' that use the manual and help us find the things we seek.
> Tom isn't "attacking" Python for not having it; he's (loudly) pointing
> out a very legitimate gripe.

yes and no.  it clearly bothers him, and perhaps others.  yet within
the python community there has been no such outcry.  this is similar
to the periodic "whitespace sucks" flamewars that erupt, typically
initiated by a non-user (sadly, most often a perl user).  for most
users, these are non-issues.  pointing out that "i wish there were
man pages; it would've made it easier if i could use familiar tools"
would've gotten a more useful response than tom got.

> Tom is trying to get the Perl community to learn Python and learn from
> it.  Python has done some things well.  It has done some other things
> not so well.  We, the users and designers of languages, have a great
> deal to learn from each other.


> Perl folks generally seem to recognize
> that; it's sad that so many other language communities don't
> reciprocate.  It's especially sad to see that Python's is one that
> seems to like its glass house.

nonsense.  i've learned quite a bit here about other languages, in
many discussions.  the difference between those and the recent perl
thread is that the profitable ones tend to be stated as, "i find
feature X from language Y really useful.  does/could python
have this?"

rather than, "language Y is better than python.  it has feature X."

Garry Hodgson			comes a time
garry at		when the blind man
Software Innovation Services	takes your hand, says,
AT&T Labs			"don't you see?"

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