Python should try to displace Java

Brandon J. Van Every vanevery at
Tue Aug 12 10:54:12 CEST 2003

Doug Tolton wrote:
> On Mon, 11 Aug 2003 18:43:08 -0700, "Brandon J. Van Every"
>> - in 5 years, nobody will be doing significant amounts of new
>> application development in C++.  The writing is on the wall: garbage
>> collection is essential.  Any C++ code will be support and legacy
>> libraries.
> That's a ridiculous blanket statement.  People will be doing C++
> development for a long time beyond that.  There are people still
> writing Cobol for crying out loud.

Do you honestly believe that people are doing a significant amount of new
application development in Cobol, as opposed to maintenance work?

>> - Microsoft is already implementing said strategy across all levels
>> of the company today.  Microsoft developers don't do much C++
>> development anymore. Various upcoming products are being written
>> entirely in C#.
> <sigh> just what we need.  More buggy slow products from MS that have
> Memory Leaks the size of the Mississippi.  C# is not a good
> development platform yet.  Heck they are practically still in the
> standard MS beta period.  Everyone knows not to use a MS product on
> version 1.0

Ignore the trend at your peril.  A MS product is one thing.  A MS initiative
across the entire company is quite another.  The last time they did that,
Internet Explorer put Netscape in the doghouse.  Never, ever, ignore or
diminish what Microsoft decides to do as an entire company.

>> - The "higher level language" playing field is crowded: C#, Java,
>> Perl, and Python.  Mainstream industry does not need and will not
>> make room for 4 higher level languages.  Any of these languages has
>> to grow at some other language's expense.
> This statement is really vague, and has almost no factual basis.  If
> there were only four programming languages the world would be a very
> dull place.  You forgot to mention Delphi, Visual Basic, Power Builder
> and a host of others.  There is room for a lot more than 4 programming
> languages.

Actually, Visual Basic vs. C# would be a good discussion in another
newsgroup.  Because the books about .NET Framework that I'm reading, show
how VB is being modded and borgged to fit the Intermediate Language.  Which
is essentially C#.  I wonder if it would be reasonable to say that in 5
years, nobody will be doing new app development in VB, it'll all be C#?  But
I'll take that up with the VB crowd.

>> - Python will never displace C# on Windows.  It's Microsoft's home
>> turf and you can't fight directly with The Beast.  You will see UNIX
>> boxes running Python, not Windows boxes.
> That's a bold statement, considering the abysmal adoption rate of C#.

Within Microsoft, the adoption of C# is universal.  That tends to have a
powerful effect on ISV Windows development over time.

> C# isn't the dominant windows programming language currently, rather
> its Visual Basic.  Java has far more applications written for Windows
> than C# does.  MS really shot themselves in the foot when they went to
> dotnet, essentially the adopted the Java platform 8 years after Java.
> Now they are playing catchup with an inferior product.  I doubt
> they'll ever catch up to Java overall.

The problem with your thinking here is there's very clear evidence that
Microsoft can and does catch up to and surpass technologies that they have
fumblingly cloned.  In fact, that's the basic Microsoft corporate
philosophy.  Version 1.0 sucks, 2.0 is ok... 5.0 actually is a really good
product and then the competition can't catch up anymore.  Example: DirectX.
When it started it was complete garbage.  Nowadays it is technically
superior to OpenGL in most areas.  Why they don't finally implement doubles
and put OpenGL out of its misery, I'm not sure.

Why can MS catch up?  Because Open Source people assume their technological
superiority and rest on their laurels.  They think they don't have to market
because they are technically superior.  Also, their ranks are populated with
strong engineers who don't *like* marketing, as a matter of basic
personality.  They never get it in their heads that they have to
counter-market to some degree in order to hold the line.  If you don't do
any marketing, Microsoft completely out-markets you and then you die,
technical merit or not.

>> - Sun is about to die.  It has done nothing for anyone lately and
>> has no further tricks up its sleeve.
> People have been saying this for years.  I'll believe it when I see it.

Read a paper.

>> - Sun has failed to make Java live up to its claims of universality.
>> Java is for all intents and purposes simply a widespread programming
>> language, not a portable computing environment.  Portable computing
>> environments are, in general, a pipe dream as long as Microsoft is
>> around.  It will always be Windows vs. open standards.
> They must give you a good edjumacation at the Redmond campus.  Java is
> by far the best portable computing environment available.

Care to name a concrete example?  A testimonial?

>> - Ergo, Java is the weakling of the litter for Python to attack.
> No factual basis for this statement.  Java and Python are really
> entirely different things.  Python is meant as a scripting language,
> Java is a Systems programming language.  It is meant as an alternative
> to C++, Python isn't.

You're saying Python isn't useful as a systems language?  Then it is already

> Who does Python have to defend itself against?  Python is Open Source.
> The only way it's going to die is if everyone stops developing it and
> it stagnates.

You got it!  And development stops when a langauge loses all meaningful
mindshare.  What is the battle of mindshare?  A marketing battle.  It is not
a technological battle, except in the grossest terms of complete
incompetence.  Time and again, the marketplace has proven that kludgy but
well marketed products carry the day.  They only fail when they absolutely
can't do the job.

> If that hapens it will be because something *significantly* better came

No, it is not an engineering meritocracy.  Look at a company like DEC.
Wonderful technology company.  Couldn't market its way out of a paper bag.
That's a warning for this c.l.p crowd.  Don't sit around congratulating
yourselves on how superior your techology is.  Recognize the strategic
competition and market against it.

> Python doesn't have to defend
> itself, your Microsoft background is showing through here.  C# is by
> far the weakest language of the four.  It is buggy, slow and immature.
> It has the smallest user base, the least amount of industry backing

and is 100% backed by all the resources of Microsoft.  It will not go away,
and its shortcomings will be fixed at a blistering pace.

> and a community that is rising up against it's benefactor.

Huh?  Care to explain?

> I think
> you dramatically overstate it's chances.  Historically Microsoft
> switches technologies every 3 or 4 years.  That only gives C# about 2
> years to go before it's dead in the water like every other MS
> "Innovation".

What part of "100% committment across the company" don't you understand?
You really are blind.  You don't live in Redmond, you can't conceive of
having access to this level of information.  And who in c.l.p woudl tell you
these things?

Well, you've been warned.

> Historically
> those with the best technology and the best economic system prevail
> against inefficient and inferior models.

You have *got* to be kidding me.  Intel??!?  Windows??!?

Brandon Van Every               Seattle, WA

20% of the world is real.
80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.

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