Tangential anti-educationist rant (was: what is easier to lea rn first?...)

Alessandro Bottoni Alessandro.Bottoni at think3.com
Tue Mar 21 15:23:14 CET 2000


This topic is somehow more complicated.
A few days ago, I tried to propose a course of "basic" computer programming,
aimed to PC Windows users without any previous experience in programming.
The course was based on Python, for obvious reasons.

The immediate response of the involved boss was:
- "Py-what? What in the hell is 'Pizon'?! Let apart this academic bullshit
and teach the good, old Basic, if do not want to use C!"

(He is not my company boss...for the chronicle)

It is evident that there is a "marketing" problem here: you just cannot hang
a poster in the local high school's hall, announcing a Python (or Scheme,
Haskell, Eiffel, or... fill-in the blank) language, and hope it will attract
people from all around the world.

As usual, you have to speak a "language" that your intended audience (first
of all your paying boss..) can understand. Python is not "understandable" by
aspiring programmers as a desirable skill, at least here.

Basic and C are well-known, no more than well-known. Hence, they are
understandable. A kid can aspire to learn them, just because he knows that
they exists and that they are widely used (he just does not know that they
are widely hated, as well...). This is not true in the case of Python and
many other languages: my boss and my audience just do not know what Python
is and how widely it is used.

I'm afraid it will take time to have Python as a "teachable" language,
politically speaking. Guido's effort in the direction of the "Programming
Language for EveryBody" is crucial for opening this "market".

----------------------------------------------------------------
Alessandro Bottoni (Alessandro.Bottoni at Think3.com)
Web Programmer @ Think3 inc. (www.think3.com)
I do not speak for think3 and they return the favour

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	claird at starbase.neosoft.com [SMTP:claird at starbase.neosoft.com]
> Sent:	Tuesday, March 21, 2000 2:46 PM
> To:	python-list at python.org
> Subject:	Tangential anti-educationist rant (was: what is easier to
> learn first?...)
> 
> In article <XUDB4.2253$nI2.45719 at ptah.visi.com>,
> Grant Edwards <nobody at nowhere.nohow> wrote:
> 			.
> 			.
> 			.
> >more Python.  I'd definitely go with Python.  C is for OS
> >kernels, device drivers, and embedded work.  It really oughtn't
> >be taught to beginners or people who just want to write an
> >application.  C is low-level and unsafe: the programmer's got
> >to do way too much of the housekeeping, and there are countless
> >ways to hang yourself before you've even gotten enough rope out
> >to accomplish anything. -- but at least the semantics are
> >farily simple (assuming you know some assembly language and how
> >compilers work).
> 			.
> 			.
> 			.
> It pretty well captures my impression of
> institutional education that US high
> schools commonly teach C (and C++!) as a
> first programming language.  I find that
> typical of the mental abuse they thought-
> lessly perpetrate.
> -- 
> 
> Cameron Laird <claird at NeoSoft.com>
> Business:  http://www.Phaseit.net
> Personal:  http://starbase.neosoft.com/~claird/home.html
> -- 
> http://www.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list




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