Python too complex ?!?!?!

Brian not_here at
Thu Nov 22 22:04:42 CET 2007

Chris Mellon wrote:
> On Nov 20, 2007 2:43 PM, John J. Lee <jjl at> wrote:
>> "Chris Mellon" <arkanes at> writes:
>> [...]
>>> These modules exist, but aren't that common. Certainly anything you're
>>> likely to be using in an introductory compsci course is well packaged.
>>> And even if it's not, it's really not that hard to create packages or
>>> installers - a days work of course prep would take care of the
>>> potential problem.
>> "A day's worth of course prep" for beginners would let them debug all
>> the crap that building MySQLdb on Windows might throw at them, for
>> example?  I think not! (MySQLdb, last time I looked, was one of the
>> not-so-obscure modules that don't have a Windows installer available
>> and kept up to date.  Maybe it does now, but that's not really the
>> point.)
> A days worth of course prep would allow the professor (or his TA, more
> likely) to produce a set of installers that's suitable for use with
> the course. This is a comp sci course, not a "how to sysadmin a Python
> installation" course.
> For the record, it took me less than 3 minutes to install MySqldb, the
> first time I've ever needed to do it - I don't like or approve of
> MySql. Steps required: Google for "mysql python" and click through 3
> or 4 links to the SF download page. Download the binary installer,
> from March 2007. Not exactly rocket science.
> On a similar note, I have or create executable installers for all the
> third party modules I use, because I need to provide them to the
> people who do our deployments. This has never been much of a burden.
>> I certainly don't recognise what some people have been saying, though.
>> It's a rare thing that I have any real pain installing a Python module
>> on Linux.  That's not to say you don't need some background knowledge
>> about distributions and Python if doing it "by hand", of course
>> (rather than with a packaging tool like apt-get).  Occasionally you'll
>> want the newest version of something, which will in turn occasionally
>> get you into some grim automake issue or similar.  But all of this can
>> be entirely avoided in an introductory course -- simply restrict
>> yourself to what can be installed with apt-get (if the instructor
>> feels they *must* make some new library available, they can always
>> package it themselves).
> The obstacles as presented in the OP seem pretty bogus to me. Of
> course, it's third hand anecdotal evidence, so there's not much of a
> reason to believe that the original statement really preserves the
> essence of the problem.
> I'd be pretty interested if the OP could ask his associate to chime in
> with some of the actual issues he encountered

/ Chime Mode <ON>
I have, in fact, sent this thread to my friend.
His limiting factors are

- money-control people favor MS platforms
- C# and VS have minimal cost impact for academia
- sys admins have everything locked down (probably 
essential for high school and community college)
- both Python 2.4.2, then 2.5.1, on XP and Win2k 
crashed approx 10% of lab cptrs, so lab techs refused 
to allow further install of any 'third-party' s/w. 
(side note - I have installed Python and all the 
supporting stuff for PyVISA on 14 work-site (11 XP, 3 
Debian) cptrs with no problem, so I do not understand).
- no such thing as TAs in JC or HS.
- CS instructors, for the effected schools, are not 
allowed to config machines or admin the network.
- money-control people want students to learn skills 
that are on the IT buzz-word list.
- my friend is no longer allowed to use me as an 
'unofficial' assistant in these classes (not considered 
qualified because I only have a B.S. degree), so he 
only uses stuff that existing staff are (supposedly) 
familiar with...
/ Chime Mode <OFF>

I told my friend, the wannabe Python instructor, to 
walk away from any more volunteer work, and stick to 
the paid stuff. American education, what a mess...


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