Python & Linux ?

Ben Hutchings ben.hutchings at
Tue May 22 17:31:02 EDT 2001

Mark Wyatt <tmf002 at> writes:
> Peter Moscatt wrote:
> > I have just migrated from Win98 over to Linux.  My programming platform
> > under Win98 was VB.
> > Now in Linux, I have decided to program using the Python platform.
> > I have bought myself a get started book and from what I can gather -
> > Python is a Interpreter and not a Compiler, therefore only being able to
> > develop scripts instead of installable programs.
> This Microsoft Guy (sorry, don't have the article, and memory is not
> what it was) went on to say that Compiler or Interpreter is a false
> opposition. I hadn't thought of it like that, but it is true.

If you mean that dividing languages into 'compiled languages' and
'interpreted languages' is making a false distinction, then I would

If you mean that compilers and interpreters are much the same thing, I
strongly disagree; I think there's a clear distinction.  An
interpreter runs programs written in a particular language, whereas a
compiler translates programs from one language into another.  A
processor (possibly together with support code from an OS) is an
interpreter for a particular machine code.  So eventually every
program must be run by an interpreter.

> As I said earlier a lot (but not all) of the Pascal systems of the
> time compiled source code to p-code, and interpreted p-code. This,
> in principle, is the same general scheme as compiling byte-code and
> interpreting that, which many modern languages, or more exactly,
> modern implementations of languages, do. So they actually have both.

Sure - they combine the interpreter and compiler in one program.
That doesn't mean that you can't identify two different things
happening in that program.

> Now, what's a script? In UNIX parlance a script is a simple, or not
> so simple, program usually to perform some administrative task, or
> tasks.

Also, scripts are written in high-level languages, and their source is
used directly rather than being compiled before use.

> So, probably, if I felt in a nit-picking frame of mind I
> should complain at many of those who say they have written 'hello
> world' programs, that they have written 'hello world' scripts,
> particularly if they ran on UNIX systems and produced their output
> in a shell rather than in their own little window, with decorations
> and buttons to push.

But a script *is* a program, as you said above, so they would be
correct and your nit-picking would be unjustified.

Any opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of Roundpoint.

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