Re: Python should try to displace Java

Discussion in 'Python' started by Paul Boddie, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. Paul Boddie

    Paul Boddie Guest

    "Brandon J. Van Every" <> wrote in message news:<bh9g66$vst1p$-berlin.de>...
    > I'm going to make a number of points which I'm sure many people will object
    > to.


    I'll resist the temptation to refer to your other threads, then. (Or
    other postings in this thread, in fact.)

    [...]

    > - in 5 years, nobody will be doing significant amounts of new application
    > development in C++. The writing is on the wall: garbage collection is
    > essential. Any C++ code will be support and legacy libraries.


    Well, it should be a surprise that in the "business systems" area
    people are still writing huge quantities of C++ code, especially since
    a lot of the innovation is now done in other languages. Apart from
    your favourite Seattle-based company, who else is seriously bothering
    with C++ for Web services, for example? Or at least, who else worth
    speaking of? As far as I'm concerned, it was a surprise five years ago
    that people didn't automatically consider other languages before C++
    for systems of this kind.

    It's clear that C and C++ do, however, fit the bill as the languages
    most likely to be used to implement systems where high performance is
    crucial. In many areas where those languages are used, developers seem
    to be fairly conservative, and whilst other languages could offer
    noticeable benefits during development and even offer comparable
    performance, bandwagon chasing isn't a priority for these people. The
    Solaris kernel isn't now implemented in Java as far as I'm aware, for
    example.

    Of course, you could be referring to the promising situation of Python
    running directly on the metal. ;-)

    > - Microsoft is already implementing said strategy across all levels of the
    > company today. Microsoft developers don't do much C++ development anymore.
    > Various upcoming products are being written entirely in C#.


    This doesn't interest me, and if it did, I could easily find out for
    myself whether this is really true or just speculation. :)

    > - The "higher level language" playing field is crowded: C#, Java, Perl, and
    > Python. Mainstream industry does not need and will not make room for 4
    > higher level languages. Any of these languages has to grow at some other
    > language's expense.


    Mainstream industry, whoever that is, already entertains more than
    four higher level languages. Note also that Python and Perl are both
    at an even higher level than C# and Java, so that observation has
    potentially been debunked if you consider those languages' areas of
    operation to be complementary.

    > - Python will never displace C# on Windows. It's Microsoft's home turf and
    > you can't fight directly with The Beast. You will see UNIX boxes running
    > Python, not Windows boxes.


    This depends on whether Microsoft remove all their "legacy" APIs and
    insist that everything runs on the common language runtime (CLR, or
    whatever it's called). I doubt that this will happen soon, and you
    ignore the possibility that one of these days someone will get Python
    running natively and efficiently on the CLR.

    > - Sun is about to die. It has done nothing for anyone lately and has no
    > further tricks up its sleeve.


    About to? They made a pile of cash in the dot-com years and could
    presumably sit and burn that off if it weren't for those shareholders.
    Personally, I believe that they will either be marginalised or adapt
    like IBM and HP have done.

    > - Sun has failed to make Java live up to its claims of universality. Java
    > is for all intents and purposes simply a widespread programming language,
    > not a portable computing environment. Portable computing environments are,
    > in general, a pipe dream as long as Microsoft is around. It will always be
    > Windows vs. open standards.


    This is where your signature comes in, I think. In your 20% of
    "real-world" experience, presumably around graphics stuff, Java hasn't
    really been as successful as hyped, although the latest mobile 'phone
    craze for Java gaming might at least change that slightly. Meanwhile,
    in various parts of the 80% that you don't have experience of, Java
    has been pretty successful precisely because it offers a portable
    environment, albeit one that can be pretty infuriating at times. Hint:
    Python complements Java when Java gets too infuriating.

    > - Java is proprietary. Python is open source. Open Source is the best shot
    > that anyone has at competing with Windows.


    This will be demonstrated over time, yes.

    > - Perl is open source and sysadmins won't be giving it up any time soon.
    > Perl is optimal for their jobs, the capabilities of Python are a non-sell.


    I don't agree. People do use tools which they know about and can be
    hostile to those that they don't have time to learn. Education is the
    principal issue here, and that education won't be readily accepted as
    white papers written by suits.

    > - Ergo, Java is the weakling of the litter for Python to attack.


    Again, Python and Java can operate in different areas, interoperate,
    and coexist in the same area as tools which offer certain advantages
    at certain points in time.

    > - Alternately, if you look at this in real world marketing terms, Python is
    > the weakling of the litter that must defend itself. I know that will make
    > various Python idealists upset, but that's the economic reality. Merit
    > doesn't win in this game. Java is the next weakest langauge so that's whose
    > lunch Python should try to eat.


    I think you should stop trying to think of all this as an
    intellectually lightweight corporate strategy meeting where we have to
    agree on some kind of marketing campaign that actually does nothing
    more than prop up the advertising profession whilst making complete
    fools out of everyone involved.

    What does stop Python from being recognised and adopted is the lack of
    awareness that people have, and it is true that part of this lack of
    awareness is down to a lack of brochures arriving on the desks of
    salespeople and strategists. Nevertheless, demonstrated successful
    systems have a more powerful impact on those whose money is ultimately
    being spent on new software - the customers. Because as their
    competitors demonstrate working systems that give them productivity
    benefits, they can turn to vendors and say, "Stop trying to sell us
    buzzword X - just give us something like our competitors are using!"

    The more I think about it, the more I realise that many customers
    probably don't care whether you've used the latest stuff from
    Microsoft or not (although they might be a bit concerned about the
    licensing schemes), and the more I realise that it must be the various
    bandwagons that "inform" certain parts of the "decision chain" that
    create this downward pressure on people to write all their stuff in C#
    or <insert flavour of the month>. As the balance of power shifts away
    from the vendor to the customer, however, I think you'll start to see
    the smart vendors adapt and start to discover what actually works,
    both from their customers and the people on the ground actually doing
    the work, and they'll cut out the brochure trail as they realise that
    it doesn't really help them to make money and satisfy customers at the
    same time.

    Paul

    P.S. If you're really interested, there's a marketing/promotion
    interest group for Python. The details are out there on the Web, so if
    it's important to you, I'm sure you can dig them out.
    Paul Boddie, Aug 12, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Why Python needs to market itself

    Paul Boddie wrote:
    >
    > I think you should stop trying to think of all this as an
    > intellectually lightweight corporate strategy meeting where we have to
    > agree on some kind of marketing campaign that actually does nothing
    > more than prop up the advertising profession whilst making complete
    > fools out of everyone involved.


    It's actually not my thinking. I really think all the technocrats around
    here are the marketing lightweights. I have a very clear picture of what
    makes it down the corporate value chain, which is why I'm highlighting your
    post:

    > What does stop Python from being recognised and adopted is the lack of
    > awareness that people have, and it is true that part of this lack of
    > awareness is down to a lack of brochures arriving on the desks of
    > salespeople and strategists. Nevertheless, demonstrated successful
    > systems have a more powerful impact on those whose money is ultimately
    > being spent on new software - the customers. Because as their
    > competitors demonstrate working systems that give them productivity
    > benefits, they can turn to vendors and say, "Stop trying to sell us
    > buzzword X - just give us something like our competitors are using!"
    >
    > The more I think about it, the more I realise that many customers
    > probably don't care whether you've used the latest stuff from
    > Microsoft or not (although they might be a bit concerned about the
    > licensing schemes), and the more I realise that it must be the various
    > bandwagons that "inform" certain parts of the "decision chain" that
    > create this downward pressure on people to write all their stuff in C#
    > or <insert flavour of the month>.


    With you so far.

    > As the balance of power shifts away
    > from the vendor to the customer, however, I think you'll start to see
    > the smart vendors adapt and start to discover what actually works,
    > both from their customers and the people on the ground actually doing
    > the work, and they'll cut out the brochure trail as they realise that
    > it doesn't really help them to make money and satisfy customers at the
    > same time.


    Not in the absence of marketing. Keep in mind, Linux is marketed.

    > P.S. If you're really interested, there's a marketing/promotion
    > interest group for Python. The details are out there on the Web, so if
    > it's important to you, I'm sure you can dig them out.


    Actually, I would be interested in their opinions of the Python community,
    if they're willing to give them. And maybe they'd be interested in an
    outsider's perception of the Python community. It is, after all, people
    like me that have to be sold in order to grow the market.

    --
    Cheers, www.3DProgrammer.com
    Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA

    20% of the world is real.
    80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.
    Brandon J. Van Every, Aug 12, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Paul Boddie

    Paul Boddie Guest

    Re: Why Python needs to market itself

    "Brandon J. Van Every" <> wrote in message news:<bhbffp$10oemv$-berlin.de>...
    >


    [The shift of the balance of power from vendor to customer leads to a
    shift in technologies employed.]

    > Not in the absence of marketing. Keep in mind, Linux is marketed.


    Well, on the client side people may ask for Windows solutions or Linux
    solutions, but I doubt that so many customers specifically stipulate
    Windows, UNIX or Linux for reasons other than convenience of
    maintenance and consistency with the rest of their environment. And
    way before Linux was marketed, it was getting through the door because
    motivated individuals realised that it could do the job more
    conveniently, for less money, and with less hassle.

    > > P.S. If you're really interested, there's a marketing/promotion
    > > interest group for Python. The details are out there on the Web, so if
    > > it's important to you, I'm sure you can dig them out.

    >
    > Actually, I would be interested in their opinions of the Python community,
    > if they're willing to give them. And maybe they'd be interested in an
    > outsider's perception of the Python community. It is, after all, people
    > like me that have to be sold in order to grow the market.


    The way I've seen people convinced is this: you demonstrate some small
    solution which does the job; then you tell them that it's written in
    Python. If that isn't suddenly a part of a mission-critical system,
    they frequently mention how they'd always considered looking at Python
    but hadn't done so yet: "Perhaps I should start to learn Python," they
    usually say. Most of the time, you demonstrate things that are very
    simple in Python but would be a pain with C, C++ or Java, and you let
    people realise that they can either spend days hacking on such
    problems in the languages they know, or they can learn to work more
    effectively. Personally, I made that transition about seven years ago,
    and it is a surprise that many people still haven't realised that such
    a transition can be made relatively easily.

    Of course, you can get hostility, but that's usually down to the fact
    that people feel threatened by things they don't know and fear they
    won't understand. For them, they feel that it's better to stick to
    what they know and be more productive than their peers in that
    environment than to make the transition, be more productive than they
    were before, but not be seen as an expert by their peers any more.

    On the other side of the coin are the people who occasionally post to
    comp.lang.python who ask, "Why should I learn Python?" This isn't
    restricted to programming languages, either, but it's sound advice to
    tell such people that if they know what the benefits of Python are and
    how they apply to their situation, then they don't need to be asking
    those kinds of questions - they already know the answer and just get
    on with it. Otherwise, it isn't interesting to entertain their
    questions because their motivation can usually be summarised as, "Am I
    too sexy for Python?"

    Anyway, raising the awareness of Python probably is a good thing. Big
    bucks marketing and developer coercion will, on the other hand, just
    alienate the talented and motivated developers. As I said before,
    Python's strengths lie in the demonstrated productivity benefits it
    offers, and this kind of message will increasingly drown out
    superficial product endorsement as the nature of the industry changes.

    Paul
    Paul Boddie, Aug 13, 2003
    #3
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