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

Chris Angelico rosuav at
Thu Mar 29 22:33:47 CEST 2012

On Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 3:42 AM, Devin Jeanpierre
<jeanpierreda at> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:03 AM, Chris Angelico <rosuav at> wrote:
>> You can't merge all of them without making a language that's
>> suboptimal at most of those tasks - probably, one that's woeful at all
>> of them. I mention SQL because, even if you were to unify all
>> programming languages, you'd still need other non-application
>> languages to get the job done.
> ...
> But this has nothing to do with being "suboptimal at most tasks". It's
> easy to make a language that can do everything C can do, and also
> everything that Haskell can do. I can write an implementation of this
> programming language in one line of bash[*]. The easy way is to make
> those features mutually exclusive. We don't have to sacrifice anything
> by including more features until we want them to work together.

Of course it's POSSIBLE. You can write everything in Ook if you want
to. But any attempt to merge all programming languages into one will

1) Allow different parts of a program to be written in different
subsets of this universal language, which just means that you've
renamed all the languages but kept their distinctions (so a programmer
still has to learn all of them); or

2) Shoehorn every task into one language, equivalent to knowing only
one language and using that for everything. Good luck with that.

The debate keeps on coming up, but it's not just political decisions
that maintain language diversity.


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