carpe linguam

Martijn Faassen m.faassen at
Sun Aug 22 03:22:38 CEST 1999

Tom Culliton <culliton at> wrote:
> In article <37bd5e2a at>,
> Tom Christiansen  <tchrist at> wrote:
>>Private mail has indicated a remarkably amount of distrust about my
>>learning Python.  Some verges on the unbelievable.  

> Tone.  Everything has to do with tone.  If you read a comparison of
> Perl to some other language written in the same tone as your original
> Python/Perl messages you might bristle too.  Your tone makes it sound
> like you're trashing Python, and often arbitrarily, "this isn't done
> in the same way thet perl does it so it's gross..." often seems to be
> the sum and total of your objection in the original message.  You do
> tone it down some in the next one, and even point out things that you
> think are "cool" about Python, but that write up still often misses
> the point because of gaps in your understanding.

But even if Tom's tone is sharp, which I don't deny, why can't we just
deal with that? And *of course* Tom's coming from Perl, and he is looking
at Python with Perl eyes. This is to be expected. So point out to him
where you think his misconceptions are.

>>Secondly, and much more importantly, the reason I am learning Python
>>is *not* because I wish to "score some quick hits and prove to c.l.p.m
>>that Perl is best after all" [sic] as one private querent asked, to my
>>complete and utter horror.
>>You may not have known this of me, but I am a collector of languages,
>>and to some extent, of language trivia.  Can you honestly believe that
>>I studied Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Latin merely
>>to prove to myself and the world that English was the best language?

> I would assume your motivations for learning languages are the same as
> mine, to broaden your horizons, pick up useful ideas and concepts, be
> able to understand what other folks are on about, ...  All noble and
> admirable goals.

> Your motivation, as a prominent Perl advocate, for publishing these
> comparisons, while you're still coming up the learning curve, seems
> more questionable, and appearance is usually all that we have to go by
> on the net.

So on the net we take the best interpretation possible, which is that Tom's
trying to share his learning experience with us. This way we can learn
more about Perl (and Tom's way of thinking, incidentally), and *Python*, and
we can help him where we think he's wrong.

> Every language has it's oddities, rough spots, and abuses.  Every
> language has it's own idioms, tricks, and required knowledge.  Every
> language has it's advocates and detractors.  Some of your critiques of
> Python are valid, some are just incomplete knowledge, some are just
> matters of taste or what you're used to.  Since you are who you are,
> your comparison got widely published by LWN and possibly others as
> "gospel" which is rather distressing.

A while ago I was struggling to learn Perl. If I'd found those comparisons
at the time I'd certainly take a look at Python. I did in any event and 
liked it. People can form their own opinions. This is the net, we're hackers,
we have opinions. :)

> Frankly I generally skip anything in this newsgroup with Perl in the
> title as a likely flame fest.  I only saw your messages because LWN
> had published them.  Since most of what I've seen you post in the past
> seems rational, reasonable, and intelligent, my take has been that
> you're somebody who has interesting and worthwhile things to say, if
> with a general Perl bias.  So maybe you were just having an off day
> and weren't minding your style?  ;-) ;-) ;-)

Oh, much better interpretation of things already. :)

> I urge you to keep trying and keep writing about your experience with
> learning Python.  It's good for the Python community to get different
> perspectives on the language, and discuss them.

Oh, why did you moderate this latter end of your post so much? My
whole reply down the drain as you say the same yourself! :)

> I also urge you to
> double check the details, and avoid potential flamebait when you do
> so.  If we can't get by your style we can't appreciate your substance.

I feel I can live with his stuff now already. Substance over style. :)



More information about the Python-list mailing list