Is this a good time to start learning python?

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Mon Mar 31 21:52:54 CEST 2008

"Rui Maciel" <rui.maciel at> wrote in message 
news:47f1140e$0$735$a729d347 at
| Recently I woke up inclined to take up the task of learning another
| programming language. I've already dipped my toes in Perl (I've read 
| tutorials and wrote a couple of irrelevant pet projects) but, as the
| computers at my workplace only sport the python interpreter, it probably
| means that learning python will end up serving me better, at least in the
| short run. Plus, you know how Perl goes.

If you intend to use Python on the computer at your workplace, then learn 
the version installed there.

| So far the decision seems to be a no brainer. Yet, Python 3000 will 
| in a few months. As it isn't backwards compatible with today's Python,
| there is the risk that no matter what I learn until then, I will end up
| having to re-learn at least a considerable part of the language.

Most of the changes are deletions and additions, rather than changes.

3.0a4 will be out in a few days.  If you had no reason to use anything 
else, I would consider starting with that.  (But the IDLE IDE on Windows 
may still not work right.)

|  To put it in other words, I fear that I will be wasting my time.

If you learn and use 2.x, then avoid things that are going away.  In 

Unless you need to learn about old-style classes, I would not bother with 
them  and the differences from new, soon to be the only style, classes. 
Derive all your classes from object or a subclass thereof.

Use // for integer floor division (ie, when you want 1/2 == 0.
Use 'from __future__ import division' if you use '/' in a file where both 
might be ints and you would want 1/2==.5.

| At least that is what a clueless newbie believes. As this group is
| frequented by people who have more insight into all things pythonesque,
| what are your thoughts on this?

Diverse, I am sure ;-)

Terry Jan Reedy

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