Python advocacy

Donn Cave donn at u.washington.edu
Tue Mar 7 18:46:12 CET 2000


Quoth Vetle Roeim <vetler at ifi.uio.no>:
| * Fredrik Lundh
|> Vetle Roeim <vetler at ifi.uio.no> wrote:
|>> Although I dislike Tcl, I believe it was not designed to scale. Try
|>> reading ``The Tcl War'' <url:http://www.vanderburg.org/Tcl/war/>.
|>> Basically, RMS complained about the limitations of Tcl, and various
|>> people flame him and each other. But Osterhout explains the design
|>> principles of Tcl.
|> 
|> according to his company, Tcl is the *only* scripting language
|> "suitable for large server applications and other mission-critical
|> enterprise uses".
...
| well.. what else should they say? perhaps something like this :
|
|     "Tcl is the only scripting language suitable for large server
|      applications and other mission-critical enterprise uses, if you
|      only count the languages that were not initially designed for
|      these tasks."
|
| that would not be very smart ;-)

Maybe a clarification of the term ``scripting language'' would be
in order.  That's one way to get to a place where I'd agree with
the claim /F quotes above.  I can think of a lot of languages I'd
rather use for large applications, but they're not what I think of
as scripting languages (e.g., Python), while Tcl sure is.

That has been my complaint about Osterhout's rhetoric on the subject,
he confuses the issue by touting the real utility of [real] scripting
and his really quite nice scripting language, and then claims a lot
of territory he hasn't conquered by equating interpreted with scripting.

The idea that Python can or should replace these scripting languages
is equally dubious in my opinion.  Replace the UNIX shell with Python?
Ha, ha ha!  Or Scheme, as RMS wanted.  As stone-age primitive and
limited as it may be, the shell is a really natural interface to its
problem domain, where a higher but more general purpose language has
a lot of rarely necessary power to offer in return for vastly more
awkward notation in everyday use.  The shell is the one I'm familiar
with, I'm sure there are plenty of other examples in other problem
domains.  I think Python stands a much better chance of growing the
muscles to compete with C++ and Java, than the flexibility to compete
with scripting languages.

	Donn Cave, donn at u.washington.edu



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