A Pythonista Meets JavaScript™

Ben Finney ben+python at benfinney.id.au
Wed Jul 23 05:02:21 CEST 2014

Ben Finney <ben+python at benfinney.id.au> writes:

> Monte Milanuk <memilanuk at invalid.com> writes:
> > I know literally almost nothing about JS.
> At the Melbourne Python Users's Group this year, I gave a presentation
> <URL:http://vimeo.com/album/2855296/video/93691338> on my initial
> learnings of JavaScript™ (and ECMAScript) from a Python programmer's
> perspective.

Lele Gaifax <lele at metapensiero.it> writes:

> I completely agree with Roy on the language itself, it has several
> tricky parts that require some training to learn how to avoid,
> "defects" that are inherent to language and to the syntax, that no
> framework or library can really eliminate. There is a very good book
> by Douglas Crockford, "JS: the good parts" that I recommend reading.

Yes, in my talk above I leaned heavily on Doug Crockford's book
“JavaScript: The Good Parts”. He mkes an opinionated division between
the parts of the language to avoid, and the subset which can be used
happily as a good, functional language for building programs.

> On the framework, ExtJS is the one I know better and its quite good and
> powerful: it has a dual license, GPL for free software projects and a
> commercial version

Please note that the opposite of free software is not commercial
software. The GPL explicitly says “You may charge any price or no price
for each copy that you convey”, and I think we both agree the GPL is a
free-software license.

So free software *is* commercial software; software for a fee doesn't in
any way stop it from being free software.

The opposite of free software is proprietary software, and I agree that
some of the problems with ExtJS come from the fact that the current
copyright holder privileges the proprietary licensees at the expense of
the free-software licensees. They also exacerbate the confusion by
referring to their proprietary license as “commercial license”, ignoring
the fact that the GPL also explicitly condones commercial activity.

> My main complaint is about their (Sencha's) release policy which
> frankly sucks, on both sides (free and commercial): they do not have a
> clear roadmap, you report bugs in a forum and from then on you cannot
> know if and when the bug gets fixed, or even released.

That's a real shame. The same is true of MySQL, which while free
software is held under CLA to a single copyright holder. That copyright
holder (now Oracle) shows no interest in supporting the free-software
MySQL and as a result it has declined under their stewardship.

I'm sorry to hear the same – a free-software license available, but
supported far worse than the restrictive proprietary version – appears
to be happening to ExtJS.

> They assert to have an extensive suite of unit and functional tests,
> but sometime I have the doubt they do not run it as often as one would
> expect :-)

In the case of MySQL, the extensive test suite itself is suffering from
Oracle neglecting it in favour of the proprietary version: tests in
recent years have simply not appeared in the free-software code base,
and they're behind locked doors at Oracle. A sober warning against
entrusting a widely-deployed software project to any single copyright

 \        “A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can |
  `\                                     take from you.” —Ramsey Clark |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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