Python Popularity: Questions and Comments

Steve Holden sholden at
Wed Jan 2 11:23:10 CET 2002

"Brad Bollenbach" <bbollenbach at> wrote in message
news:PnvY7.18562$U67.2001222 at
> "Steve Holden" <sholden at> wrote in message
[ ... ]
> I think Steve is giving too much credit to those who make the decisions.
> It's not so much about "hype" as it is that (truly and sadly) the people
> that make the most important decisions about which tools will be used to
> construct a given piece of software in a company are often the ones that
> know the least about them (I come from a Powerbuilder shop, I know this
> very, very well).
Just to keep the record straight, nothing you quoted could be attributed to
me! You seemed to be responding to the same postings as I did. Having
struggled myself with PowerBuilder's "object-oriented" development
environment, by the way, I have sympathy for your plight.

> In short, they're pretty stupid. See for examples
> that.
> If the decisions were put in the hands of people that knew how to make
> Python would be considerably more popular (I personally would use it in my
> day job if I were /allowed/, and I do for small make-my-life-easier types
> programs), as would Perl, and Java would probably still just be thought of
> as a different kind of coffee.
...and if wishes were horses then beggars would ride. Sadly this does not
change the fundamental nature of the world. Sun's product quality is
somewhat better than Microsoft's, but they failed to persuade the world of
the superiority of NeWS, for example. They messed up the Java playing field
by screwing with the "standardization" process, successfully suing Microsoft
(who have responded by removing Java support from XP, and bringing out C#)
and turning the language into a huge API.

> But, just because you don't use it at work, doesn't mean it can't make
> life easier at home and for playing around. Use Python because it makes
> life easier, not because somebody told you it was supposed to. Popularity
> of little concern when one desires to be lazy (who cares if everybody's
> using Java, if I know that I want to use Python because it's a lot easier
> for people with human-sized brains to use?).
Yup. "Java is the COBOL of the object-oriented world" (tm).

> If you're concerned about popularity of a language, this suggests that
> you're also concerned about marketability. If this is true, then it goes
> without saying that you'll do much better to invest your time learning
> or Visual Basic. (Search for salaries being offered for
> programmers in these languages to see what I mean. There are a few orders
> magnitude more positions available for a VB or Java programmer, than for a
> Python programmer.)
I figure Python's popularity is due for a real rise over the next two years.
This will be both a good and a bad thing, and *does* cause me some concern:
I will be sorry when comp.lang.python stops being the low-noise group it has
been to date, but I fear this may be inevitable. I have a feeling that most
of Python's new users will start to use it to modify existing Python code
which has been provided as a part of key applications environments (such as
Red Hat's Anaconda, or Zope systems).

But ultimately, as I said at the start, what you responded to wasn't what
*I* said :-)


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