How do you program in Python?

Mike Meyer mwm at
Tue Jul 5 21:57:12 CEST 2005

Peter Hansen <peter at> writes:
> Tom Anderson wrote:
>> +1 insight of the century. This is the heart of the unix way - lots
>> of simple little programs that do exactly one thing well, and can be
>> composed through simple, clean interfaces. For actually getting
>> things done, a toolkit beats a swiss army knife.
> Perhaps, but I'm puzzled how that explanation would apply to emacs and
> those who use it as a swiss army knife, doing everything from editing
> to email to laundry in the same editor...

Since you asked....

Unix tools require a complex environment to run in. Without a Unix
kernel (or some simulation thereof), the don't work at all. Without a
friendly shell, it's hard to get them to communicate with each other -
which is what makes building things out of the pieces so easy. If you
want to run those tools on a different OS, you have to port the

Emacs tools require a different environment: a running emacs. It's all
kept in one process, so it looks like one big program from the Unix
perspective. But it's actually a lot of smaller(*) programs running in
a shared address space. There's lots of differences between the two,
but a discussion of that is really OT for the group.


*) Smaller is relative, of course. A UMA or a web browser isn't
exactly a small tool in either environment.
Mike Meyer <mwm at>
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.

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