Why python???

Michael Peuser mpeuser at web.de
Sat Sep 6 00:59:29 CEST 2003

Hello Alex,
this is one of the most exciting topics to discuss, however _slightly_
off-topic. Generally I agree with your reasoning. However I disagree with
some conclusions. We all know peace is the best possible state but there is

"Alex Martelli" <aleax at aleax.it> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:NO66b.30883$R32.926812 at news2.tin.it...
> Michael Peuser wrote:
>    ...
> > A very good reply! But I have an answer as well: The only reason why
> > got a market share is Moore's Law. Nobody of clear commercial thinking
> Moore's Law is working in favour of higher level languages even harder
> than it's working in favour of free but highly efficient OS's.

There are two aspects:
(1) More power for same price - this works in favour of 'complex software'
(2) Same power for less money - this works in favor of 'cheap software'

> > will pay $200 for an operating system when the hardware has the same
> Most Linux use of commercial significance is not happening on such
> incredibly cheap systems, but rather on reasonably substantial servers
> (or sometimes even mainframes -- IBM _has_ invested a lot in Linux:-).
> The issue you mention MAY play a role in ensuring a nice for Lindows
> (and other desktop-oriented versions of Linux), but the server side
> is where Linux got its first foothold.

This is just a scaling. The main argument is the same. The software related
parts of the total cost of ownership have today become a major concern.

[ Michael stated here the price of tools is of minor relevance, as he
thougth of Python's "free" aspect]

[Alex gave a comprehensiv explanation why 'complex software' has become
> > So it comes to the question: What does the common programmer know? This
> Not necessarily.  If common programmers only knew machine language,
> it would still be cheaper to use any available high-level language,
> say COBOL, even if you needed to supply training for it (it's not
> hard to teach COBOL to somebody who knows assembly, anyway -- the
> reverse is harder).
I am on your way; maybe they more probably would be trained for some "macro
language". This is no 'paradigm change'. Most C++ programmers (I know what I
say!) write C programs.

> Similarly, using Python can lower costs even
> if you factor in training costs (again, teaching Python to good
> Cobol programmers is quite easy -- other higher-level languages may
> not be _quite_ as cheap in these terms, admittedly, but still the
> economics aren't _hugely_ different).

This argument is valid for:
- OOP ("Reuse will reduce costs")
- XP
- Design-for-testing
- Rigid configuration control
- state any new thing you like

The fact that  a better world is possible does not mean you get it.

Python is by no means a "perfect" alternative to  - lets say: DOT-NET and
#  - the advantages are difficult to see for persons in power or - I
mentiones the tool costs - are of minor relevance.

I should as well like to discuss your aspect of programmer's productivity.
This is an important  factor. However all investigations show that
programmer's productivity is an unmeasurable quantity. It certainly has to
do with what the programmer likes to do. If he or she would like to program
in Python everething would be fine. However most or today's programmers like
to do what is called "mainstream" (circular reasoning, I know) That is a
little bit document driven development, some UML charts, Visual Studio,
something inbetwen C and C++, C# and Java, and MS Office.

This can only change if there is competition. Competition means a Killer
Application that could be sold for half the price of the nearest competitor
because the developing costs had been such low!

Do it with Python then and show it to the world  ;-)

Michael P

> Alex

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