[IronPython] Jim Hugunin's web log.

Donn Cave donn at u.washington.edu
Tue Aug 31 00:38:58 CEST 2004


In article <413397CA.8090209 at v.loewis.de>,
 "Martin v. Lowis" <martin at v.loewis.de> wrote:

> David Wilson wrote:
> > Other random thoughts: my experiences of the Python community versus, 
> > eg., the perl community make me believe that Pythonistas are generally 
> > more accepting of commercial solutions than their open source weenie 
> > perl counterparts (*duck*). 
> 
> I don't think this is an accurate description. Instead, Python is not
> tied so much in Unix as Perl is (IMO). It is not Python's philosophy
> to make all platforms look alike, but rather to expose all features of
> a platform to the Python programmer - whether this is /dev/tty on Unix
> or the registry on Windows. For features where it makes sense, a common
> interface is established; other features are by nature restricted to
> a single platform.
> 
> As a result of that philosophy, people are often tempted to port Python
> to "strange" platforms (be that Mac OS 9, BeOS, VMS, or the JVM). They
> then found that Python maintainers where open to changes resulting from
> these ports as long no harm was done to Python "proper" (laissez-faire);
> this continues to encourage people to experiment with the language, and
> with various platforms.

I'll go along with that, it's sure a positive factor for me -
sort of like the NetBSD of programming languages.  And to my
way of thinking it's essentially an open source phenomenon.
Python does generally get there before Perl, but it also gets
there before ... Smalltalk? Mathematica?  Kind of stumped for
closed source Python competitors.  Perl has its own problems
(as does Tcl:  "Tk".)  I would propose GNU C as an example of
open source software that manages to take root in strange soil.
Written partly by Stallman himself if I remember right.

It might be true that the Python community is relatively free
of stridently ideological open source advocacy, but if Python
had not been open source, none of us would have ever heard of it.
Whether or not it makes sense for all software to be open source,
when it comes to "middle ware" like compilers and interpreters
it makes an awful lot of sense.

   Donn Cave, donn at u.washington.edu

PS: Yes I know there has been an open source Smalltalk for years,
    but for a long time it seemed like Smalltalk was dominated
    by commercial, closed source implementations, and GNU Smalltalk
    was a footnote.  At that time it seemed that that language
    had some promising traction in business applications, and I
    guess it's a miracle there's no Microsoft Visual Smalltalk.
    Meanwhile, Smalltalk hasn't exactly taken over the world, and
    Python has emerged from its relative obscurity at the time.



More information about the Python-list mailing list