python vs perl lines of code

Michael Tobis mtobis at
Thu May 18 20:38:21 CEST 2006

Sorry, data about reports about X *is* data about X unless you believe
the reports are uninfluenced by X. Like any proxy measure, it
introduces noise and uncertainty, but it is still data.

I can't imagine a motivation for Edward to make this up, so I accept
his anecdotes as data.

While it is possible to imagine developing a lab experiment to compare
the terseness of Python and Perl, it is unlikely that funding is or
should be available for the effort. This doesn't make it an
uninteresting question. Is the widely held belief that real-world Perl
is terser than real-world Python true? So far we have only the two
reports from Edward. Still anyone programming in the dynamic languages
world would acknowledge that they are quite striking and provocative.

I don't see the purpose of this controversy, but it reminds me of some
rather cynical attacks on climate science, and I don't like it at all.
We don't always have the luxury of vast data of impeccable quality, but
we still need to make judgements about the world.


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