Python & Perl in Wall Street Journal

Discussion in 'Python' started by Stephen Ferg, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. Stephen Ferg

    Stephen Ferg Guest

    Seen in the Wall Street Journal, Monday, July 21, 2003, page B1.

    Lee Gomes' "Portals" technology column: "Two Men, Two Ways to Speak
    Computerese and Two Big Successes".

    This is a brief, non-technical story on Guido von Rossum, inventor of
    Python, and Larry Wall, inventor of Perl.

    I don't think this is available online unless you are a paid
    subscriber to the WSJ online edition. So here are a few quick quotes
    and a mini-review.

    "They live a few dozen miles from each other, have strikingly
    different backgrounds and world views, but in their own separate ways
    they have created computer languages among the most important in the
    world."

    "Over the past decade, ... scripting languages have come to rival
    full-blown languages such as C and Java in power and performance. But
    they've kept the ease of use that was their main attraction in the
    first place. Hence their popularity."

    "As the most popular of all the scripting languages, Perl and Python
    compete with each other for mind share among the same communities of
    programmers. The competition is good-natured, like the fake-Buddhist
    Python Web site that tells how 'the origin of suffering lies in the
    use of non-Python.'"

    Mr. Gomes is right on the mark when he notes that "computer languages
    have distinct personalities", but I think he misses the mark when
    attempting to capture and contrast the personalities Perl and Python.
    "Perl is famous for being permissive, with no right or wrong way of
    accomplishing a task. Python by contrast, is considered more rigid an
    exacting." I think it would have been more accurate to contrast an
    eclectic grab-bag approach to language design with a clear, consistent
    design philosophy.

    The article goes on to contrast the characteristics of the languages
    with the personalities of their developers. Larry Wall "gatekeeper of
    the undogmatic Perl is a devout Christian." In contrast, Guido,
    "started working on the my-way-or-the-highway Python as a typical
    resident of the famously freewheeling city of Amsterdam."

    It would have been just as easy to paint the languages as being highly
    consistent with the personalities of their inventors. One might
    observe, for instance, that Perl is extremely conservative. It is
    unwilling to abandon any of the features of its multiple forebears.
    Like Genesis with its E and Y sources, Perl is composed of pieces of
    its predecessors, stitched together even when they offer differing
    approaches to the same subject. Python, in contrast, is genuinely
    innovative. How many other languages use indentation as a control
    structure?

    In any case, Mr. Gomes has written a very readable column that raises
    the name-brand awareness of Perl and Python for a non-technical
    audience, and for that he deserves a big round of applause from the
    Python, Perl, and open-source communities.

    -- Steve Ferg ()
     
    Stephen Ferg, Jul 22, 2003
    #1
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  2. Stephen Ferg

    Stephen Ferg Guest

    Ooops. Make that "E and J sources".
     
    Stephen Ferg, Jul 22, 2003
    #2
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