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Re: Perl vs Python vs ....

Brian C. White wrote:
> Dan Stromberg wrote:
> > There's clearly a place for a stronger scripting language, despite the
> > argument posed above.  It's just very sad that it should be perl.  perl
> > really fits into many people's stereotypes of "unix as inherently
> > cryptic monster", very neatly.
> I'm sure C and Assembler fit "cryptic" too.  Just think how much further
> advanced the computer industry would be if neither of those had ever been
> invented.
> (that's sarcasm, by the way)

And how much further would the industry be, if C had been typesafe (or
if some other, typesafe language had been used)?  The expertise in
language design existed at the time, but C didn't have it.

And yet, C was adopted as a major standard - because the people who knew
better, didn't bother to speak up.

That's not to say that a lot hasn't been accomplished in C - obviously.
But we could have done a lot more, if such a simple thing hadn't been
put off until ANSI.  Also, the code I maintained on my first job,
probably would've been a LOT cleaner - many of you are probably in the
same boat.  I really hated roaming around fixing somebody else's stray
pointer references.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I recall either K or R, saying that lint should
have been just another pass of cc, instead of a separate program.
That's a very small design-decision, but it's had a _H_U_G_E impact, for
more people than a wanna think about.  The choice of a languages is a
rather larger decision.

> > > There is no point having a religious war over this; this decision was
> > > taken a long time ago and can't be changed now, even if we wanted to.
> >
> > This is rhetoric.  It could be changed and you know it.  What I mean to
> > say is, I really dislike "can't" when what's meant is "won't".

> > I daresay that a linux distribution (or the Hurd, or *BSD, or...) that
> > doesn't fall into the perl trap, should have a brighter future.
> Oh, give it up!  Perl is a fine language.  Its powerful and is quite easy
> to write nice clean code with.  It's just not _enforced_ that you write

assembler is powerful, and quite easy to write nice clean code with.  It
was hot stuff at its inception.

sendmail is powerful, and quite easy to write nice clean header munging
and mail routing with.  It was hot stuff at its inception.

perl is powerful, and quite easy to write nice clean small-scale scripts
with.  It was pretty old-news, at its inception.

> nice clean code.  It's also very easy to garbage code, but that isn't
> enforced, either.
> As for the truth of your comment...  Language syntax and symantics have
> little to do with a language's success; it's how easy it is to write
> useful programs with.  An operating system's success is due primarily
> to the amount of software available for it.  (Don't believe me?  Look
> at MS-Dos!)

Yes, yes, yes, and No, no, no.

A language's success is typically 95% who backs it, and 5% how good it
is.  With the masses, that is.

However, for a group that knows what it's doing, it should be 5% who
backs it, and 95% how good it is.  So it -should- be for debian.  The
debian project is in a more than adequate position, to set a
more-positive direction for the unix industry.

One way to do that, is to hang onto /bin/sh until something like guile
is ready.

Another way to do that, is to move beyond perl to something like python
or ML (metalanguage) - right now.  It wouldn't take much at all.

Once the inertia's there, it's hard to change it.  In fact, many people
will become angry with you if you do.  But it's often very worthwhile to
take a step back, and look at the long-term ramifications of a decision.

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