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

Chris Angelico rosuav at
Wed Jul 6 04:31:02 CEST 2011

On Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 11:07 AM, rantingrick <rantingrick at> wrote:
> On Jul 4, 6:24 pm, Steven D'Aprano <steve
> +comp.lang.pyt... at> wrote:
>> Define "best for all", and try not to make it "what Rick wants".
> You want features? And remember i am talking about scripting/glue
> level languages here. Something to replace Python, Ruby, Perl,
> JavaScript, etc, etc not some "pie-in-the-sky",  "single-answer-to-all-
> our-problems" pipe dream language.
>  * Intuitive syntax.

>  * Productivity friendly.
Depends heavily on the task at hand. HQ9+ is extremely productivity
friendly if you're trying to write a quine.

>  * Complex enough to solve large problems but simple enough for simple
> problems (that does include extending into C when needed)
Subjective. Any Turing-complete language is technically complex enough
to solve large problems, but would you care to write a web browser in

>  * Multi paradigm (problem

>  * Promotes a culture of code readability (because people read source;
> not just machines!).
from __future__ import braces # this'll make it more readable for C programmers

>> No, Python is not a monoculture. There are the Stackless, Jython, PyPy and
>> etc etc
> Hmm. Just think how far ahead we would be if these folks would stop
> trying to support petty differences and focus on a singular Python
> language?

Imagine how much faster we'd all reach our destinations if whenever I
push my car's accelerator, it moves every car in the world the same
distance in the same direction!

> This problem is far bigger than python. Selfishness infests every
> group of humans on this planet. Why do we need multiple OS's? Just so
> one can say "\" is the proper file path sep and someone else can say
> "/" is the proper one! Are you kidding me?

I've said for a while that Microsoft could do far worse than to turn
Windows into a GUI that sits on top of a Unix-derived kernel. They
won't do it, though, because it would be tantamount to admitting both
that Unix is superior to Windows, AND that Apple got it right.

However, if the entire world moved to one kernel, that would be a
spof. That's why the DNS root servers don't all run the same software;
if a flaw were found in BIND that brought everything down, there would
still be three root servers (two of them anycasted) which would be

There's another good reason for diversity, too. Suppose you know only
one language, and you want to verify that your program is producing
correct results. What do you do? You're forced to do the job manually.
If you have a completely different system, you could verify it against
that - for instance, check your Python program by implementing
equivalent functionality in Lua.

> Look at the multiplicity. Look at the asinine nature of it all and for
> once in your life join the group that is the future of human
> evolution, not the evolutionary dead-end! BTW: Tell Lucy i said hello!

You can't know what the future of human evolution is, unless it
involves time travel.

>> 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.
> Oh Steven, that's just your fear of unity acting out again. Yes,
> what's good for the group will not *always* be good for you, or me, or
> xah lee! But what matters is progress. Not your selfish needs Steven.

And there you have the nub. Your idea of a perfect language is one
that won't always be good for any particular person. This is where
diversity comes to the fore. I'm currently using Google's V8 engine as
my scripting engine, but I need it to be slightly different - so I
modified it. I have offered the patch back to the community, and it
may or may not end up being accepted, but that is immaterial. Right
here, right now, I am running a modified V8, and it works FOR ME.

What you're saying is that "progress" is more important than any individual...

>> 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.
> I have never held myself out as some sort of dictator. These decisions
> must be made in a democratic manner. This is FUD.

... which is exactly what many dictators have said. However, that is immaterial.

Democracy DOES NOT WORK. Plain and simple. You cannot build a
programming language democratically.

Python has a BDFL. Open Office has had a variety of owners, and when
enough people dislike the current owner, the project forks (eg
LibreOffice). Savoynet is run by Marc Shepherd, who took over in 1998.
All the best commanders listen to people, but ultimately, they make
the decisions. Even in USA politics, where people talk proudly of
living in a democracy, what you actually have is a President who
wields a lot of power.

>> 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
>> programming.
> You know Steven, wal-mart is a very successful company. And wal-mart
> meets the needs of the many.

They're cheap, ubiquitous, and convenient. They are NOT the ideal for
every situation. Of course they're successful - that's because they
buy and sell things at a profit. Steven never recommended abolishing
Walmart, just said that it would be bad for people if Walmart were the
only shop anywhere.

> Again you fail to see the truth behind
> the curtain. If (as you say) wal-mart really is such a bad company and
> it's existence is hurting "the many"... then explain to the class (if
> you can) why wal mart is the most successful retail chain in the
> history of the world?

Success just means they're able to make money. Fake pharmaceuticals
companies can make money too; they send out roughly twelve million
emails for every sale they get, but it's still a rip-roaring business.
I doubt you would want all businesses in the world to follow THAT

Walmart may and may not be hurting "the many". They certainly are not
serving "the all". Other shops are also able to make a profit, which
strongly suggests that they, too, are wanted.

> Do you realize that without customers buying products that wal-mart
> could never get to this pinnacle of retail success? If you are
> correct, then people buy from wal-mart even though wal-mart is "bad"
> for them. Please explain this reversal of reality Steven because i
> think you are watching too much MTV and it's rotting your brain.

If Steven is correct, then people buy from other shops because they
are better for them than Walmart is. And that means that trying to
unify ALL shopping under the one company name will be a disaster.

I hope I make myself clear?


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