New guy question

Alex Martelli aleaxit at
Tue Jun 12 04:07:31 EDT 2001

"Chris Barker" <chrishbarker at> wrote in message
news:3B255439.DFD33F59 at
> Glen Mettler wrote:
> > I forgot to ask - what is the purpose of the Python window and the
> > Shell window?
> >
> > Can I NOT run a series of scripts from these windows?  Must I go to the
> > window to check my program?
> You've gotten your answer, but I'll add one more comment. I mostly use
> Linux, and run Python from a shell all the time. Windows does not give
> you a decent shell by default, so you will be a lot happier using an
> IDE, like IDLE or PythonWin (check out PythonWin, it's pretty nice).

Some of us old crufties actually stick with consoles, but I
guess we're dinosaurs.  You're surely right that the default
shell is sub-decent (on Win/95, /98, /ME; it's semi-decent on
/NT & /2000), but...

> By the way, I havn't used windows much since 3.1, Does it really still
> have all that "add it to your PATH in autoexec.bat" stuff? Isn't there

/95 and /98 do.  /ME, I think not, but am not sure.  /NT and /2000
have a more decent way to organize default environments (per-system
and per-user).  Hopefully /XP will stay true to its /NT roots there.
There are MANY Windows, you know...!

> any kind of standard directories for executables, and some way to put a
> symbolic link in for your application? It makes for a Much cleaner
> system! (I suppose the above file association stuff is why they havn't
> bothered)

There are system-directories, and 'shell shortcuts' that have some
properties similar to a symbolic link (with extras, such as setting
current-directory &c as possibilities) but also some limitations.
But there is no *per-user* directory that gets automatically on
the path, and dirtying the *per-system* directory is a bad idea.

There IS some sort of a 'home' (per-user) these days, but it's not
consistently used IMHO -- and the text-mode shells appear to be
particularly indifferent to it (I guess they don't get maintained
much these days, those text-mode shells... "it's a GUI world after
all", innit?-).  Anyway, nothing from the 'home' is implicitly
on the PATH (presumably, specific users don't normally install
their own executables intended for text-mode use:-).

So, yeah, it IS a mess:-).


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