Why not Ruby?

Kenneth Tilton kentilton at gmail.com
Thu Jan 1 05:16:41 CET 2009

Xah Lee wrote:
> Just spent 3 hours looking into Ruby today. Here's my short impression
> for those interested.
> * Why Not Ruby?
>   http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/why_not_Ruby.html
> plain text version follows:
> --------------------------------------
> Why Not Ruby?
> Xah Lee, 2008-12-31
> Spent about 3 hours looking into Ruby language today.
> The articles i read in detail are:
>     * Wikipedia: Ruby (programming language)¨J. Gives general overview.
>     * Brief tutorial: "Ruby in Twenty Minutes"
> http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/documentation/quickstart/
>     * Personal blog by Stevey Yegge, published in 2004-10.
> http://steve.yegge.googlepages.com/ruby-tour
> The Wikipedia gives the best intro and overview in proper context. The
> "Ruby in Twenty Minutes" is just 4 pages. It give you a very concrete
> intro to Ruby's syntax and semantics. Stevey Yegge's blog doesn't
> teach much and rambles, but provide a little personal view. I read it
> because his opinions i respect.
> Q: Will you learn Ruby?
> No. For practical application, the lang is some 100 times less useful
> than each of Perl, Python, PHP, Javascript. For academic study,
> functional langs like Mathematica, Haskell, OCaml, erlang, Qz, are far
> more interesting and powerful in almost all aspects. Further, there's
> also Perl6, NewLisp, Clojure, Scala... With respect to elegance or
> power, these modern lang of the past 5 years matches or exceed Ruby.
> Q: Do you think Ruby lang is elegant?
> Yes. In my opinion, better than Perl, Python, PHP. As a high level
> lang, it's far better than Java, C, C++ type of shit. However, i don't
> think it is any better than emacs lisp, Scheme lisp, javascript,
> Mathematica. Note that Ruby doesn't have a spec, and nor a formal
> spec. Javascript has. Ruby's syntax isn't that regular, nor is it
> based on a system. Mathemtica's is. Ruby's power is probably less than
> Scheme, and probably same as Javascript.
> I also didn't like the fact that ruby uses keyword "end" to indicate
> code block much as Pascal and Visual Basic, Logo, do. I don't like
> that.
> Q: Won't Ruby be a interesting learning experience?
> No. As far as semantics goes, Ruby is basically identical to Perl,
> Python, PHP. I am a expert in Perl and PHP, and have working knowledge
> of Python. I already regretted having spent significant amount of time
> (roughly over a year) on Python. In retrospect, i didn't consider the
> time invested in Python worthwhile. (as it turns out, i don't like
> Python and Guido cult, as the lang is going the ways of OOP mumbo-
> jumbo with its Python 3 "brand new" future.) There is absolutely
> nothing new in Ruby, as compared to Perl, Python, PHP, or Emacs lisp,
> Scheme lisp.
> Q: Do you recommend new programers to learn Ruby then?
> Not particularly. As i mentioned, if you are interested in practical
> utility, there's already Perl, PHP, Python, Javascript, which are all
> heavily used in the computing industry. If you are interested as a
> academic exercise, there's Scheme lisp, and much of functional langs
> such as OCaml, Haskell, Mathematica, which will teach you a whole lot
> more about computer science, features of language semantics, etc.
> Q: Do you condemn Ruby?
> No. I think it's reasonably elegant, but today there are too many
> languages, so Ruby don't particularly standout for me. Many of them,
> are arguably quite more elegant and powerful than Ruby. See:
> Proliferation of Computing Languages.

Kenny Tilton, 2008-12-31

Q: Why not Xah's review of Ruby?

>> Spent about 3 hours looking into Ruby language today.

A. Three hours? I've had belches that lasted longer than that. Of
course, a true master can tell a lot in just a few hours of coding with
a new language...

>> The articles i read in detail are:

Q: Read?!

A: That's what he said.


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