Article on the future of Python

Discussion in 'Python' started by Mark Lawrence, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Mark Lawrence, Sep 25, 2012
    #1
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  2. Mark Lawrence

    Kevin Walzer Guest

    On 9/25/12 4:15 AM, Mark Lawrence wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I though this might be of interest.
    >
    > http://www.ironfroggy.com/software/i-am-worried-about-the-future-of-python
    >


    Interesting article, but the comments of those who say "the only
    language I need to know is Python" strike me as a bit limited. If this
    is the case, then Python can never be moved forward, because it is
    written in C.

    I program in Python, C, Objective C, JavaScript, Tcl, AppleScript, and
    I'm learning Perl. Python could *not* handle all the domains I target in
    my projects. For instance: if I want to access Mac-native functionality
    via Tkinter that isn't currently available in the library, I have to
    drill down into C or Objective-C, write a wrapper that hooks in to the
    primitives via Tcl's C API, then possibly write some additional Tcl code
    to provide a cleaner interface, *then* write some kind of Python wrapper
    that I can access in my Tkinter app.

    I can understand loving the language and wanting to work just in the
    language, but it's another thing entirely to call Python the One
    Language to Rule Them All. (That's C, because all other languages are
    implemented in it. :) )

    --Kevin

    --
    Kevin Walzer
    Code by Kevin
    http://www.codebykevin.com
    Kevin Walzer, Sep 25, 2012
    #2
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  3. Mark Lawrence

    Roy Smith Guest

    In article <k3sbdr$jce$>,
    Kevin Walzer <> wrote:

    > the comments of those who say "the only
    > language I need to know is Python" strike me as a bit limited.


    I have been convinced that "X is the only language I need to know", for
    many different values of X over the years.
    Roy Smith, Sep 25, 2012
    #3
  4. On Tuesday, 25 September 2012 09:14:27 UTC+1, Mark Lawrence wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I though this might be of interest.
    > http://www.ironfroggy.com/software/i-am-worried-about-the-future-of-python
    > --
    >
    > Cheers.
    > Mark Lawrence.


    I glanced over the article but it seems to me another 'I am afraid this is not the silver bullet I wanted it to be' article without actually going into the need of a silver bullet or whether the concept of a silver bullet is sound at all.

    --
    mph
    Martin P. Hellwig, Sep 25, 2012
    #4
  5. On Tuesday, 25 September 2012 09:14:27 UTC+1, Mark Lawrence wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I though this might be of interest.
    > http://www.ironfroggy.com/software/i-am-worried-about-the-future-of-python
    > --
    >
    > Cheers.
    > Mark Lawrence.


    I glanced over the article but it seems to me another 'I am afraid this is not the silver bullet I wanted it to be' article without actually going into the need of a silver bullet or whether the concept of a silver bullet is sound at all.

    --
    mph
    Martin P. Hellwig, Sep 25, 2012
    #5
  6. On Tue, 25 Sep 2012 09:26:19 -0400, Kevin Walzer wrote:

    > On 9/25/12 4:15 AM, Mark Lawrence wrote:
    >> Hi all,
    >>
    >> I though this might be of interest.
    >>
    >> http://www.ironfroggy.com/software/i-am-worried-about-the-future-of-
    >> python
    >>
    >>

    > Interesting article, but the comments of those who say "the only
    > language I need to know is Python" strike me as a bit limited. If this
    > is the case, then Python can never be moved forward, because it is
    > written in C.


    Incorrect.

    IronPython in C#. Jython is written in Java. CLPython is written in Lisp.
    Berp and HoPe are written in Haskell. Nuitka is written in C++. Skulpt is
    written in Javascript. Vyper is written in Ocaml. PyPy is written in
    RPython.

    Some of those Python compilers are obsolete, unmaintained or
    experimental. Others are not. But either way, it is certainly not true
    that Python is written in C. One specific Python compiler happens to be
    written in C, that is all.


    > I program in Python, C, Objective C, JavaScript, Tcl, AppleScript, and
    > I'm learning Perl. Python could *not* handle all the domains I target in
    > my projects.


    Unless you are writing code that operates on the bare metal (device
    drivers, operating system kernels) Python probably *could*, even if it
    doesn't *yet*. PyPy now allows you to write real-time video processing
    filters in pure Python:

    http://morepypy.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/realtime-image-processing-in-python.html


    And if performance was irrelevant, you could even write an operating
    system in Python. A really slow, painful operating system, but still an
    operating system.

    Given a sufficiently smart compiler, and sufficiently powerful libraries,
    or sufficiently low expectations, pretty much any programming language
    can do anything any other language can do. Almost all of them are Turing
    complete.

    But of course, in practice languages differ in their power and
    capabilities.


    > For instance: if I want to access Mac-native functionality
    > via Tkinter that isn't currently available in the library,


    That "isn't currently available" part is precisely what I'm talking
    about. Just because it's not available now doesn't mean it can't be made
    available.


    > I can understand loving the language and wanting to work just in the
    > language, but it's another thing entirely to call Python the One
    > Language to Rule Them All. (That's C, because all other languages are
    > implemented in it. :) )


    I see your smiley, but that is factually incorrect. Not all compilers or
    interpreters are written in C. Many languages are self-hosted, that is,
    they are written in themselves, using some clever bootstrapping
    techniques. C is neither the most powerful, the oldest, the best, or the
    most fundamental language around.


    --
    Steven
    Steven D'Aprano, Sep 25, 2012
    #6
  7. On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 1:35 AM, Steven D'Aprano
    <> wrote:
    > I see your smiley, but that is factually incorrect. Not all compilers or
    > interpreters are written in C. Many languages are self-hosted, that is,
    > they are written in themselves, using some clever bootstrapping
    > techniques. C is neither the most powerful, the oldest, the best, or the
    > most fundamental language around.


    Many compiled languages are bootstrapped, yes, but interpreted
    languages less often so. And the bulk of implementations of the bulk
    of interpreted languages seem to be implemented in C. But that's
    largely because the bulk of Unix software is written in either C or a
    high level language.

    ChrisA
    Chris Angelico, Sep 25, 2012
    #7
  8. On Tue, 25 Sep 2012 09:26:19 -0400, Kevin Walzer <>
    declaimed the following in gmane.comp.python.general:

    > I can understand loving the language and wanting to work just in the
    > language, but it's another thing entirely to call Python the One
    > Language to Rule Them All. (That's C, because all other languages are
    > implemented in it. :) )
    >


    Only with the demise of DEC VMS... As I recall, most of the VMS
    system, including compilers and what-not, were written in BLISS
    --
    Wulfraed Dennis Lee Bieber AF6VN
    HTTP://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/
    Dennis Lee Bieber, Sep 25, 2012
    #8
  9. Mark Lawrence

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Kevin Walzer <> writes:
    > language, but it's another thing entirely to call Python the One
    > Language to Rule Them All. (That's C, because all other languages are
    > implemented in it. :) )


    I got into a discussion about that in another newsgroup and noticed that
    C seems to have been a 20th-century language that is still used for
    maintaining old programs and in the embedded niche, but that very few
    languages or compilers seem to have been newly implemented in C in the
    current century. The main counterexample I was able to find was LuaJIT.
    Paul Rubin, Sep 25, 2012
    #9
  10. On 2012-09-25, Martin P. Hellwig <> wrote:
    > On Tuesday, 25 September 2012 09:14:27 UTC+1, Mark Lawrence wrote:
    >> Hi all,
    >>
    >> I though this might be of interest.
    >> http://www.ironfroggy.com/software/i-am-worried-about-the-future-of-python


    > I glanced over the article but it seems to me another 'I am afraid
    > this is not the silver bullet I wanted it to be' article


    Strange. I didn't get that _at_all_ from the article.

    To me it was expressing concern about what happens when the range of
    "niches" where Python is a good solution falls below a certain
    critical mass -- will the "Python Community" start to stagnate because
    it isn't attacting new developers in the quantity or diversity that it
    used to...

    --
    Grant Edwards grant.b.edwards Yow! Alright, you!!
    at Imitate a WOUNDED SEAL
    gmail.com pleading for a PARKING
    SPACE!!
    Grant Edwards, Sep 25, 2012
    #10
  11. Grant Edwardsæ–¼ 2012å¹´9月26日星期三UTC+8上åˆ2時25分31秒寫é“:
    > On 2012-09-25, Martin P. Hellwig <> wrote:
    >
    > > On Tuesday, 25 September 2012 09:14:27 UTC+1, Mark Lawrence wrote:

    >
    > >> Hi all,

    >
    > >>

    >
    > >> I though this might be of interest.

    >
    > >> http://www.ironfroggy.com/software/i-am-worried-about-the-future-of-python

    >
    >
    >
    > > I glanced over the article but it seems to me another 'I am afraid

    >
    > > this is not the silver bullet I wanted it to be' article

    >
    >
    >
    > Strange. I didn't get that _at_all_ from the article.
    >
    >
    >
    > To me it was expressing concern about what happens when the range of
    >
    > "niches" where Python is a good solution falls below a certain
    >
    > critical mass -- will the "Python Community" start to stagnate because
    >
    > it isn't attacting new developers in the quantity or diversity that it
    >
    > used to...
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    >
    > Grant Edwards grant.b.edwards Yow! Alright, you!!
    >
    > at Imitate a WOUNDED SEAL
    >
    > gmail.com pleading for a PARKING
    >
    > SPACE!!

    I don't think so in 201X. The uni-code support for users and clients
    all over the world should not be taxed by WINTEL only in
    multi-language support under the OS. I am glad to see a lot smart phones
    or pads are fostering applications in various languages to help the IT
    industry keeping growing and expanding to those regeions covered
    by wirelees digital communications with devices priced in the range
    200 to 12000 usd.
    88888 Dihedral, Sep 26, 2012
    #11
  12. On Tue, 25 Sep 2012 18:25:30 +0000, Grant Edwards wrote:

    > On 2012-09-25, Martin P. Hellwig <> wrote:
    >> On Tuesday, 25 September 2012 09:14:27 UTC+1, Mark Lawrence wrote:
    >>> Hi all,
    >>>
    >>> I though this might be of interest.
    >>> http://www.ironfroggy.com/software/i-am-worried-about-the-future-of-

    python
    >
    >> I glanced over the article but it seems to me another 'I am afraid this
    >> is not the silver bullet I wanted it to be' article

    >
    > Strange. I didn't get that _at_all_ from the article.
    >
    > To me it was expressing concern about what happens when the range of
    > "niches" where Python is a good solution falls below a certain critical
    > mass -- will the "Python Community" start to stagnate because it isn't
    > attacting new developers in the quantity or diversity that it used to...


    Sounds like the same thing to me. Since Python fails to capture all the
    development niches, it is not a silver bullet for programming, and
    therefore it won't attract the fresh new blood it needs, because everyone
    is programming for <insert list of niches here>.

    I guarantee you that you could pick *any* language in existence, and find
    three areas that are dominated by other languages, which *somebody* could
    have convinced themselves is essential to the health of the community.

    C? Once upon a time the C community was growing at a rapid rate because
    of the Unix admins that picked it up from day-to-day scripting tasks
    using c-shell. C became popular on the back of Unix, Unix has stagnated
    and people have moved on from csh to bash and other shells. The default
    shell on Linux is bash! C is in danger of no longer attracting new
    developers, and if you think the Python 2 -> 3 transition was disruptive,
    you should see what's happened in C: you have C, C++, Objective-C, C#,
    even C-- and D.

    SQL? All the exciting, innovative work in databases is happening in the
    non-relational field of NoSQL languages. Without the ability to handle
    Google's database needs, and with a name like NoSQL attracting all the
    best and brightest database developers away from SQL, it's time to sell
    your shares in Oracle.

    Java? More and more development is moving to HTML5 and Javascript. With
    the public's abandonment of the Java plugin for browsers, and schools
    moving towards Python and PHP as a first language, Java's days are
    numbered.

    Cobol? Sure, eighty percent of the code in active use is written in
    Cobol. Sure, there are 200 times more Cobol transactions per day than
    Google searches -- about three quarters of *all* computer transactions
    are done using Cobol. But Cobol only gets used for such boring stuff as
    keeping your money safe in the bank. All the real innovation is in, well,
    everything except Cobol. The imminent demise of Cobol is predicted for
    1975^W 1980^W 1985^W 1990^W 1995^W 2005^W 2010^W 2015.



    --
    Steven
    Steven D'Aprano, Sep 26, 2012
    #12
  13. Mark Lawrence

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Steven D'Aprano <> writes:
    > C? Once upon a time the C community was growing at a rapid rate
    > because of the Unix admins that picked it up from day-to-day scripting
    > tasks using c-shell.


    Er, I think it was developers rather than admins back then... the
    sysadmin languages were awk then Perl.

    > SQL? All the exciting, innovative work in databases is happening in the
    > non-relational field of NoSQL languages.


    Where have you been? That was LAST week...

    http://highscalability.com/blog/201...t-surprising-revelation-nosql-is-out-and.html
    (shorter: http://tinyurl.com/8v3dzyr )

    ;-)

    > More and more development is moving to HTML5 and Javascript.


    Yes. Python, Ruby, and Javascript are all pretty similar languages.
    I'm pretty comfortable with Python so I don't feel much need to pursue
    Ruby, and from the Ruby side the Python picture looks similar.
    Javascript used to live mostly in browsers so it didn't come into the
    question except for client-side web programmers. But, web client
    programming has gotten more ubiquitous than ever, and Javascript is
    metastasizing to the desktop and server through things like node.js. So
    it may in fact put pressure on Python.
    Paul Rubin, Sep 26, 2012
    #13
  14. On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM, Steven D'Aprano
    <> wrote:
    > SQL? ... it's time to sell your shares in Oracle.


    Ehh, I wouldn't be investing in Oracle, but that's more because I
    think free RDBMSes like PostgreSQL outshine it. And this is even more
    true of MS SQL Server - this last week I've been researching options
    for moving work's services to the cloud, and SQL Server licenses cost
    ridiculous amounts (per month or per hour); what do you get for that
    money that you can't get from Postgres?

    On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 11:04 AM, Paul Rubin <> wrote:
    > Yes. Python, Ruby, and Javascript are all pretty similar languages.
    > I'm pretty comfortable with Python so I don't feel much need to pursue
    > Ruby, and from the Ruby side the Python picture looks similar.
    > Javascript used to live mostly in browsers so it didn't come into the
    > question except for client-side web programmers. But, web client
    > programming has gotten more ubiquitous than ever, and Javascript is
    > metastasizing to the desktop and server through things like node.js. So
    > it may in fact put pressure on Python.


    Well, Python, Ruby, and
    JavaScript/Javascript/ECMAScript/etceterascript aren't what I'd call
    "similar languages", except that they're all modern high level
    languages. But they're all able to solve similar problems, which I
    think is what you're saying here.

    The flip side to node.js is pyjs. One lets you write your server in
    Javascript... the other lets you write your client in Python. And
    there are quite a few other options for writing browser scripts in
    other languages. Is JS dead yet? Nope.

    There's room in this world for a lot of languages.

    ChrisA
    Chris Angelico, Sep 26, 2012
    #14
  15. On Wed, 26 Sep 2012 14:10:28 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:

    > The flip side to node.js is pyjs.


    After the ham-fisted, nasty way pyjamas project was hijacked this year,
    I'm not entirely sure I'd want to touch it with a fifty-foot pole.

    http://technogems.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/pyjamas-hijacked.html

    Any pajamas users here want to comment on the fallout? Is the project
    alive, dead, or walking dead?


    --
    Steven
    Steven D'Aprano, Sep 26, 2012
    #15
  16. On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 3:16 PM, Steven D'Aprano
    <> wrote:
    > On Wed, 26 Sep 2012 14:10:28 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:
    >
    >> The flip side to node.js is pyjs.

    >
    > After the ham-fisted, nasty way pyjamas project was hijacked this year,
    > I'm not entirely sure I'd want to touch it with a fifty-foot pole.
    >
    > http://technogems.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/pyjamas-hijacked.html
    >
    > Any pajamas users here want to comment on the fallout? Is the project
    > alive, dead, or walking dead?


    That is true, but the concept is still around - that you can write
    your code in some other language and compile to js. Personally, I'd
    rather just write my js directly, and use Python to write Python code,
    but I'm sufficiently multilingual to be able to do that. If you know
    only 1-2 languages, there's (short-term) benefit in using them for
    more tasks.

    ChrisA
    Chris Angelico, Sep 26, 2012
    #16
  17. Mark Lawrence

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Paul Rubin, Sep 26, 2012
    #17
  18. Mark Lawrence

    Guest

    Le mercredi 26 septembre 2012 01:34:01 UTC+2, 88888 Dihedral a écrit :
    > Grant Edwardsæ–¼ 2012å¹´9月26日星期三UTC+8上åˆ2時25分31秒寫é“:
    >
    > > On 2012-09-25, Martin P. Hellwig <> wrote:

    >
    > >

    >
    > > > On Tuesday, 25 September 2012 09:14:27 UTC+1, Mark Lawrence wrote:

    >
    > >

    >
    > > >> Hi all,

    >
    > >

    >
    > > >>

    >
    > >

    >
    > > >> I though this might be of interest.

    >
    > >

    >
    > > >> http://www.ironfroggy.com/software/i-am-worried-about-the-future-of-python

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > > > I glanced over the article but it seems to me another 'I am afraid

    >
    > >

    >
    > > > this is not the silver bullet I wanted it to be' article

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > > Strange. I didn't get that _at_all_ from the article.

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > > To me it was expressing concern about what happens when the range of

    >
    > >

    >
    > > "niches" where Python is a good solution falls below a certain

    >
    > >

    >
    > > critical mass -- will the "Python Community" start to stagnate because

    >
    > >

    >
    > > it isn't attacting new developers in the quantity or diversity that it

    >
    > >

    >
    > > used to...

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > >

    >
    > > --

    >
    > >

    >
    > > Grant Edwards grant.b.edwards Yow! Alright, you!!

    >
    > >

    >
    > > at Imitate a WOUNDED SEAL

    >
    > >

    >
    > > gmail.com pleading for a PARKING

    >
    > >

    >
    > > SPACE!!

    >
    > I don't think so in 201X. The uni-code support for users and clients
    >
    > all over the world should not be taxed by WINTEL only in
    >
    > multi-language support under the OS. I am glad to see a lot smart phones
    >
    > or pads are fostering applications in various languages to help the IT
    >
    > industry keeping growing and expanding to those regeions covered
    >
    > by wirelees digital communications with devices priced in the range
    >
    > 200 to 12000 usd.


    Py 3.3 succeeded to somehow kill unicode and it has
    been transformed into an "American" product for
    "American" users.

    ---

    From nnn:
    > ...schools moving towards Python...


    I do not know what "schools" covers.
    Interestingly (and unfortunately), it just becomes
    a no-tool for those who wish to teach Unicode. Or,
    in one sense, it just become one!

    PS I spent my last days with XeTeX and unicode-math.

    jmf
    , Sep 26, 2012
    #18
  19. Mark Lawrence

    Ethan Furman Guest

    wrote:
    > Py 3.3 succeeded to somehow kill unicode and it has
    > been transformed into an "American" product for
    > "American" users.


    *plonk*
    Ethan Furman, Sep 26, 2012
    #19
  20. On Tue, 25 Sep 2012 23:35:39 -0700, wxjmfauth wrote:

    > Py 3.3 succeeded to somehow kill unicode and it has been transformed
    > into an "American" product for "American" users.


    For the first time in Python's history, Python on 32-bit systems handles
    strings containing Supplementary Multilingual Plane characters correctly,
    and it does so without doubling or quadrupling the amount of memory every
    single string takes up.

    Strings are ubiquitous in Python -- every module, every variable, every
    function, every class is associated with at least one and often many
    strings, and they are nearly all ASCII strings. The overhead of using
    four bytes instead of one for every string is considerable.

    Python finally has correct unicode handling for characters beyond the BMP,
    and it does so with more efficient strings that potentially use as little
    as one quarter of the memory that they otherwise would use, at the cost
    of a small slowdown in the artificial and unrealistic case that you
    repeatedly create millions of strings and then just throw them away
    immediately. Most realistic cases of string handling are unchanged in
    speed, either trivially faster or trivially slower. The real saving is in
    memory.

    According to wxjmfauth, this has "killed" unicode. Judge for yourself his
    credibility. The best I can determine, he believes this because Americans
    aren't made to suffer for using mostly ASCII strings.



    --
    Steven
    Steven D'Aprano, Sep 26, 2012
    #20
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