The end to all language wars and the great unity API to come!

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
Mon Jul 4 19:24:00 EDT 2011

rantingrick wrote:

> On Jul 4, 12:06 am, alex23 <wuwe... at> wrote:
>> rantingrick <rantingr... at> wrote:
>> > But why must we have
>> > completely different languages just for that those two approaches?
>> Because monocultures die.
> That's an interesting statement Alex (even though you parrot it
> constantly). So what IS a mono culture exactly? Lemme see...
>    """A single, homogeneous culture without diversity or dissension.
> """
> Interesting. Would you consider the Python community to be a
> monoculture? We are working towards a singular goal so i would say so.

We are? Certainly not.

Some people want to make Python more dynamic. Some want it to be less
dynamic. Some care about integrating it with Java or .Net, some don't care
about either. Some are interested in clever optimization tricks, some
oppose adding any more complexity.

Some want it to be faster, and are happy to throw more memory at it to do
so. Some want it to use less memory, because on embedded devices and smart
phones memory is the bottleneck, not time.

Some only program in Python. Some treat Python as merely one language out of
many that they use.

Some come to Python from the C/C++ community, and their wants are influenced
by C. Some come to Python from Lisp, Scheme or Haskell, and their wants are
influenced by functional programming ideas. Some have never programmed
before, and don't know want they want.

> We should be working towards the language that is best for all but

Define "best for all", and try not to make it "what Rick wants".

No, Python is not a monoculture. There are the Stackless, Jython, PyPy and
IronPython sub-cultures, all with their own needs, wants and desires. There
are sub-cultures for embedded devices and smart phones, sub-cultures for
those who use Python as a teaching language, for web development, for GUI
development, and for system administration. There are the Numpy and Scipy
sub-cultures, sub-cultures in the fields of linguistics and biology.

> I believe (unlike most people) that nature is striving for perfection
> NOT for diversity. 

Nature isn't striving for anything. 

Rick, you think that you're an iconoclast bravely swimming against the tide
of wrong-headed public opinion, but what you believe is not new and it is
not a minority view. It is old, obsolete, and the vast majority of people
with no modern biology education believe something like it. It is,
essentially, just the Victorian concept of the "Great Chain of Being" --
not that it was unique to the Victorians, of course.

> Diversity is just a byproduct of feeble attempts to 
> GUESS the correct answer. Here is a thought exercise for the advanced
> reader...Which is more efficient; Numerous groups working to create
> languages that satisfy their selfish needs OR one group of all the
> bright minds working to destroy multiplicity and bring about the one
> true language that meets the needs of productivity?

The first: numerous groups. Anything else is false efficiency. If you think
otherwise, you have seriously missed the point.

Efficiency requires that all needs are met first. "The most efficient way to
build a house" is NOT "Don't build a house, live in a cardboard box, it's
cheaper". Who cares if it is cheaper or not, it's not a house, and doesn't
meet the required needs.

Since needs are frequently in opposition (e.g. the speed/memory trade-off),
a single "true language" must be a compromise language that leaves nobody
happy. Or some dictator (Rick?) declares that such-and-such a set of
features is, by definition, the "perfect" language and those who want
something else have to miss out.

Imagine a world where *every* shop was Walmart. That would be good for
Walmart, but terrible for everyone else. That's Rick's plan for

Screw that. We don't want "the perfect language", because there is no such
thing and there is no point in wanting square circles or five-sided
triangles or invisible pink unicorns. And even if we did, we wouldn't want
YOUR idea of the perfect language.

Rick, stop trying to "help" the community with these over-reaching grand
schemes that nobody but you wants, that always involve you telling everyone
else that they have to build the system you think you want. Go do something


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