REPOST: Re: Python and Ruby: a comparison

Ron Stephens rdsteph at
Sat Dec 29 19:43:44 EST 2001

Very interesting idea. Unfortunately, I doubt if it woudl be possible. For one
thing, very few people would be willing to compromise on syntax. Ruby folks
would rightfully be loath to give up their end-begin block delimiters, and
likewise we Python folks would not want o give up our whitespace block

Also, backwards portability would be a big problem.

However, for what its worth, the PERL 6 implements, whom I met and conversed
with at the MIT Lightweight Languages conference, are definitely truing, as a
goal, to create a PERL 6 runtime environment that can easily and credibly,
someday later on, run Perl, Ruby, and Python. I suppose that could be additional
runtime environments for these languages, just like Jython is an additional
runtime environment for Python. Maybe that could work, and give some of the
advantages of "bringing the tow (or , in this case, three) streams if
development back togethers into one mighty river.

I am a doubter about this, btu who knows? By the way, their is a very
interesting email list spawned form that conference that you and others might be
interested in, Conrad, it has had quite a bit of discussion about Ruby and
python both, among many many other languages, and is inhabited by creators of
many language and other worthy and redoubtable academic computer scientists
(mostly LIsp-Scheme gurus ;-)).. The list is at ll1-discuss at and i
believe that there is at least a partial archive of old messages at which again,
contains many Ruby threads, or at least threads comparing Ruby to other
languages (and Python also ;-))))

Conrad Schneiker wrote:

> "Ron Stephens" <rdsteph at> wrote:
> > I initiated a thread over on comp.lang.python which has turned into
> > somewhat of a comparison between Ruby and Python, their relative
> > strengths and weaknesses. The thread is titled Python Popularity:
> > Questions and Comments.
> [...]
> > By teh way, I admire Ruby. Although I am a Python hacker at heart, I
> > enjoy this newsgroup, the Ruby community, and I think Matz is doing an
> > outstanding job. I do believe though, that Python and Ruby are aimed at
> > a very similar problem domains with similar philosophies; and that is
> > what I began to talk about on comp.lang.python and that got the thread
> > going.
> [In this and other somewhat related threads] Some people have (in different
> words) lamented the "language fork" (as it were) with respect to providing
> the major dynamic OO alternative to Perl (and Java and C++). Others have
> pointed out that Python and Ruby appeal to somewhat different tastes and
> that they draw newcomers from only partially overlapping pools of people.
> Nevertheless, there is some inevitable division of potential resources and
> mind share.
> Othes have pointed out various relatively moderate but nagging problems in
> Ruby and Python which persist due to backwards compatibility, which won't be
> fixed until the (highly speculative) advent of major overhalls where full
> backwards compatibility is not completely manditory--i.e. and
> Python 3000.
> So my question is: at such a presently entirely hypothetical future
> juncture, is there any practical and desirable middle ground for a common
> single successor language to the current generations of Python and Ruby?
> Conrad

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