REPOST: Re: Python Popularity, python at sourceforge

Bill Tate tatebll at
Sun Dec 30 17:40:06 EST 2001

Roeland Rengelink <r.b.rigilink at> wrote in message news:<mailman.1009628733.25391.python-list at>...
> Hi,
> As was remarked earlier in this thread, a measure of Python's
> popularity, if not quality, can be obtained by looking at the number
> of sourceforge projects using Python. Below you'll find a number of
> tables comparing sourceforge projects using Python to those using
> Perl, PHP, Java, C and C++. These numbers were obtained by
> screen-scraping the sourceforge trove pages.
> I started this analysis expecting to find clear evidence for Python's
> - exploding popularity
> - cross-platform usability
> - ease of development
> Alas, the numbers are far more ambigious than I'd hoped. To summarize:
> 1. Python is the smallest of the 6 languages discussed here.
> 2. Python is currently growing slower than PHP and Java, but faster 
>    than C and Perl.
>    - Python has only been gaining on Perl for the last 6 months
>    - the difference in growth w.r.t PHP and Java may be getting smaller
> 3. Java is more cross-platform than Python. Perl, C, C++ are less.
> 4. There is no clear evidence for Python's ease of development.

You raise some interesting numbers, but I'm not sure I share some of
your conclusions.  The basis for your conclusions appear to be derived
in large part from projects on sourceforge.  While I don't disagree
that the numbers could suggest something consistent with your
conclusions, there's a couple of things worth noting.

First, maturity of the language.  Are the number of projects on
sourceforge more indicative of the maturity (or lack thereof) of a
language as opposed to inferring popularity or growth of the language.
 C is still hugely popular on Unix and Linux, but I wouldn't
necessarily infer that the number of projects on sourceforge for C as
being indicative of either its usage or popularity.  For python, there
is a huge, pre-existing standard library, much of which perhaps
doesn't require a dedicated sourceforge project.

Second, python developers routinely make use of extensions to existing
C and C++ libraries.  Many of these extensions do not require a
specific project on sourceforge.  They are distributed through various
means and not necessarily through sourceforge.

Third, project numbers do not necessarily equate to developer usage or
preference of a particular language.  Perhaps in concert with other
measures (newsgroup/discussion group activity), something can be
inferred about these numbers.

Fourth - does the number of actual projects convey the degree of
cross-platform support that already exists?

Lastly, your numbers I believe omitted RUBY.  Ruby appears to be
gaining in popularity and the number of projects is increasing.  Would
your conclusions be the same (in terms of rate of growth rather than
totals) had they incorporated into your numbers?

WRT Exploding popularity - Regardless of what may or may not be
happening, I'll take moderate and un-hyped growth anyday.

Ease of Usage - Personally, I don't think we need numbers from
Sourceforge to reach a conclusion here.  I don't think there is an
question on Python's ease of use.  Its almost pro forma language that
appears at the beginning of any sentence that starts with "What's

========= WAS CANCELLED BY =======:
From: tatebll at (Bill Tate)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.python
Subject: cmsg cancel <cb4ba455.0112301440.9799d9c at>
Control: cancel <cb4ba455.0112301440.9799d9c at>
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001 01:51:10 GMT
Organization: A poorly-installed InterNetNews site
Lines: 2
Message-ID: <cancel.cb4ba455.0112301440.9799d9c at>
X-Trace: 1009774030 27193 (31 Dec 2001 04:47:10 GMT)
X-Complaints-To: usenet at
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001 04:47:10 +0000 (UTC)
X-No-Archive: yes
X-Unac4ncel: yes
X-Commentary: I love NewsAgent 1.10 and the Sandblaster Cancel Engine Build 74 (19 March 1999)

This message was cancelled from within Mozilla.

More information about the Python-list mailing list