merits of Lisp vs Python

Brian Adkins lojicdotcomNOSPAM at gmail.com
Thu Mar 8 07:47:00 CET 2007


John Nagle wrote:
> Paul Rubin wrote:
>> Brian Adkins <lojicdotcomNOSPAM at gmail.com> writes:
>>
>>> With prices of dedicated servers and virtual private servers so cheap,
>>> why would anyone get a hosting account without root access? 
>>
>> Because it turns you into a sysadmin instead of letting specialists
>> handle all the OS stuff so you can concentrate on your application.
> 
>    Exactly.  I want to outsource these headaches to someone who's
> doing it for a thousand servers and has a standardized "just works"
> configuration that's Python-friendly.  It's inefficient to work
> through all these issues for a single server.  I have better things
> to do with my time.
> 
>    When starting out with this project, I'd made the assumption that
> Python was a stable, working, well-supported technology, like Perl
> hosting.  It isn't.
> 
>    It's really amazing how stable Perl hosting is.  I have a site,
> "downside.com", that's been running a Perl application since 2000,
> with essentially no attention since 2002.  It's been migrated to new
> servers twice by the hosting provider, without my having had to change
> anything.  Or even do anything.  It's talking to a MySQL database,
> going out and retrieving files from the SEC, parsing complex documents,
> gettting a feed from NASDAQ, responding to queries, and doing
> quite a bit of work.  When developing that, I had no serious problems 
> with Perl.

This may sound like I'm baiting you, but it's a sincere question. If 
your experience with Perl was so good, why did you decide to pursue 
Python? Trouble free hosting and no problems in development - sounds 
like it worked out well for you.

I do think that "hosting for the masses" is geared toward PHP, Perl, 
.NET, etc.

I primarily develop in Ruby on Rails (I'm here 'cause the original 
thread was posted to c.l.p and c.l.l) and I admit that trying that in a 
shared hosting environment will probably lead to frustration, but once I 
bit the bullet and got a VPS, and later a dedicated server, it was 
smooth sailing, and the performance is *so* much better.

A bit of a learning curve getting Apache, Mongrel, MySQL, etc. up and 
running (which was a fixed amount of time), then it just runs. In my 
case, the productivity gains over my previous environment 
(Java/Spring/Hibernate) was enough to justify a little pain for long 
term gains. Switching from the VPS to the dedicated server with a 
different company was easy because I already had the recipe to get a 
server setup.

> 
>    Python, on the other hand, is uphill all the way.  Constant trouble
> with version issues, especially with C components called from Python.
> MySQLdb, M2Crypto, SSL - they all have platform/version
> incompatibility problems.  I just spent three days making M2Crypto
> work on a new Linux server with a different Red Hat version.
> Neither Python's packaging tools nor the platform's packaging
> tools deal adequately with these issues.

Now I understand your original post a bit better. Sounds like you've had 
a fair amount of frustration.

>    The language is fine.  It's those weakly-supported packages out
> there in the cold that are the problem.  (I definitely agree with
> Guido that SWIG is a bad idea.  I've been combing through the 24,000
> lines of C generated by SWIG for M2Crypto, figuring out the compile
> errors and what caused them.  This is neither fun nor desirable.)
> 
>    I get the feeling that Python isn't used much for general web hosting
> any more.  Only about two messages per month on this newsgroup mention
> a hosting-related issue.

It could be that the web folks are concentrated elsewhere - maybe a 
TurboGears or Django forum? Are you just using Python with CGI, or with 
a web framework? If the latter, I expect the framework folks could be 
quite helpful.

> 
>    One wonders how many people try and give up.
> 
>                 John Nagle



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