Looking for Python programmers--where to search?

François Pinard pinard at iro.umontreal.ca
Sat Sep 2 22:30:15 CEST 2000

[Alex Martelli]

> I think the same guy (Niklaus Wirth) designed the language AND
> wrote its first compiler.

European mentality is a bit different, maybe.  I heard that Niklaus
Wirth designed the language, while borrowing ideas from E.W.Dijkstra (for
control structures) and C.A.R.Hoare (for data structures).  But he put the
ideas together, and made the language popular, which was an achievement
in these times where communications were flowing less easily than now.

The compiler was originally written by one of his students (I only remember
Urs, the first name).  Only later, after a few versions, it was moved
from ETH-Zurich to a U.S. university (Minnesota? I'm not sure), where Andy
Mickle and others took over to make something more nicely integrated with
the operating system assembler and loader.

> In practice, it wasn't all that accessible to the masses until Borland
> came up with Turbo Pascal 1.0 much later, of course, but still, despite
> the high cost of previous Pascal environments (relative to Basic or
> Forth ones), it was there.

People often spoke about various limitations Pascal had, but I do not
believe much in them.  We really did whatever we wanted with Pascal (the
original), even pretty big systems.

Before Borland, UCSD wrote a compilation suite for Pascal.  Yet, Borland
wrote many extensions that were incompatible with the original language,
as many others did, wholly raising some confusion together with popularity.
ISO added a bit more.  This might have killed the language in the long run.

I wish Python will not proliferate incompatible versions, as Pascal did.

François Pinard   http://www.iro.umontreal.ca/~pinard

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