Future of the Python Linux Distribution

Glyph Lefkowitz glyph at twistedmatrix.com
Sun May 7 19:14:57 EDT 2000

Vetle Roeim <vetler at news.ifi.uio.no> writes:

>  - age. the other "P" language[0] has been around a little longer.. right?

I hear this tossed around a lot.  How *much* longer?

>  - forced intentation. a friend of mine once said that he
>    categorically dislikes languages that forces that kind of
>    limitations on the programmer.

what language does this guy use?  I imagine that it forces him to
treat stack frames as implicit... possibly even to use an imperative
syntax.  Or infix notation.  Anyone who believes that the language
they use doesn't impose restrictions and enforce a paradigm on them is
deluding themselves (and not well, at that).

>    this aspect of Python *is* a litle weird. but all languages have
>    their weirdness.. many people judge are scared of new things.

I was scared of python for this very reason for *ever*.  We need a
publicized, annoying, LOUD defense of this feature of the language.
Every time I look at python code these days, I feel like slamming my
head into the wall; to THINK that I missed out on this for a YEAR
because I was dumb enough to think that enforced whitespace was not
only a big deal, but a BAD thing!!

>    let's just hope it doesn't get a reputation like Lisp (and
>    derivatives)[1].

Lisp has several reputations; part of it is from the insidiousness of
the Lisp "industry".  Luckily, the PSA can never do this, thanks to
the existance of a free implementation of python in the first place
(and I *seriously* doubt anyone would want to)

>  - books. I may be very wrong about this, but are there more books
>    about the other "P" language?

It requires more documentation.  I can't make it 5 lines through a
perl script without 25 consultations of the Camel Book.  I bought two
python books from o'reilly on principle, but I haven't really needed
them.  This is a *GOOD THING*.  We need more python books that cover
higher-level concepts.  Learning Python isn't about "learning
python"... it's about unobscuring good programming.

Learning Perl is about learning perl.  Capitalization important there:
uppercase-P is the language, lowercase-p is the interpreter.  If you
don't know the in-and-outs of the perl interpreter, and the quirks it
has, you can't do anything.  Now, python has some nifty quirks too (my
code is riddled with __setattr__ and __getattr__.  I LOVE them!) but I
seriously doubt there will ever be a JPerl.

>  - not hackish enough. Python code is nice to look at. code written in
>    the othet "P" language looks cooler.. to me (I'm an academic) it
>    just looks ugly. code should be beautiful.

>    but some people see that Python is all nice and tidy, and so they
>    dislike it because they can't write ugly, unmaintainable code[2]

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid...

First of all, this is NOT an admirable goal as an engineer, and it's a
problem with the software industry at large, not with Python...

def hash_coerce(l):
    map(lambda x,d=d: apply(lambda k,v,d=d:d.update({k:v}),
    return d

map, lambda, apply, filter.  Obfuscation at your fingertips. :-) Using
{}.update(), I believe it's possible to write programs that use only
expressions; no statements.

>  - bad PR-agency[3]. until a year ago, I hadn't heard about Python.
>    now I use it all the time.

We need more cybernetic time-travelling marketing executives from the
year 2038 to subdue perl and java proponents with their psychic

Failing that, a "banner campaign", where everybody who has a web page
that uses python advertises it incessantly (this would hopefully
include every Zope site too) might do some good...

Unfortunately, one of the best features of the python community is
that it seems to have a sane group of people in it who know multiple
languages and will choose appropriate ones for the appropriate task.
We need more rabid, unabashed evangelists. :-)

> [0]: no, I'm not referring to Pascal.. or Prolog. you know what I'm
>      referring to, you little weasel <wink>

Perhaps you mean you little *camel*

> [1]: I like Lisp, but it *does* have a PR-problem.

Lisp *IS* a PR-problem.  Lisp needs to change its name and shed some
syntax before it's ever going to get 'mainstream' acceptance; the
ideas in lisp are good, but too many cs students have been tortured
with it ...

> [2]: some of you may think I'm being sarcastic here.

I wish I thought you were ... I really wish ...

> [3]: I know there's no PR-agency. it's a joke. laugh.

If there's no PR-agency, where are we going to get our nuclear-powered
psychic cyborg executives?  Do you think microsoft has any extra?

                 |    ______      __   __  _____  _     _   |
                 |   |  ____ |      \_/   |_____] |_____|   |
                 |   |_____| |_____  |    |       |     |   |
                 |   @ t w i s t e d m a t r i x  . c o m   |
                 |   http://www.twistedmatrix.com/~glyph/   |

More information about the Python-list mailing list