Number of languages known [was Re: Python is readable] - somewhat OT

Nathan Rice nathan.alexander.rice at
Thu Mar 29 15:44:09 CEST 2012

On Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 9:33 PM, Chris Angelico <rosuav at> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM, Rodrick Brown <rodrick.brown at> wrote:
>> The best skill any developer can have is the ability to pickup languages very quickly and know what tools work well for which task.
> Definitely. Not just languages but all tools. The larger your toolkit
> and the better you know it, the more easily you'll be able to grasp
> the tool you need.

The thing that bothers me is that people spend time and mental energy
on a wide variety of syntax when the semantics are ~90% identical in
most cases (up to organization).

We would be better off if all the time that was spent on learning
syntax, memorizing library organization and becoming proficient with
new tools was spent learning the mathematics, logic and engineering
sciences.  Those solve problems, languages are just representations.

Unfortunately, programming languages seem to have become a way to
differentiate yourself and establish sub-cultural membership.  All the
cool kids are using XYZ, people who use LMN are dorks!  Who cares
about sharing or compatibility!

Human nature is depressingly self-defeating.

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