Lua, Lunatic and Python

John Benson jsbenson at bensonsystems.com
Sat Dec 13 21:34:45 CET 2003


Hi, I checked out Lua as much out of curiosity about its Brazilian
background as for any other reason. It seems to be a project centered in the
PUC (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro). Since Brazil
produced Antônio Carlos Jobim, I figured I better check out Lua.

After checking out www.lua.org and searching for comparisons with Python,
the most informative document I ran across was this:

http://lua-users.org/wiki/LuaVersusPython

I'll just sum up what I think I found out about Lua and let people comment
if I've gotten anything wrong:

Lua is an embeddable scripting language popular with game developers who are
very sensitive to footprint and speed. In Python, we tend to get most
excited about elegance and conceptual efficiency. When speed becomes
important, someone goes out and reimplements useful things as C extensions
(as in pickle/cpickle).

There seems to be a Lispy background to Lua, as there is to Python.

The Lua community sounds pretty excited, and seems to be recapitulating the
fervor of early Python adopters. We'll probably have to sit up and take
notice once there's an O'Reilly animal book on it, or if we need to write a
game.

I'll make some predictions now: in a few years there will be flame wars at
lua.org between the people wanting to keep distinguishing characteristics of
Lua (fooprint and speed) intact, versus the incorrigible programmers who
will inevitably add feature after feature to their favorite language until
it approaches Pythonesque proportions. Among these features, of course, will
be memory- and infrastructure-intensive operations leading to language
bloat. In short, there is (and will most likely be) nothing new under the
sun as far as evangelical fervor and the dynamics of programming language
evolution go.

I'll cross post to lua.org and see what happens: Um fã de Python deseja boa
sorte à turma de Lua!







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