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Paul Graham on Python hackers

Paul Graham's recent book "Hackers & Painters" may be interesting
readers for Python programmers. He likes flexible languages like
Python, although Lisp is his favorite. Here is a quote from his book,
also online at http://www.paulgraham.com/gh.html , where he contrasts
Python and Java programmers. He is opinionated :).

"When you decide what infrastructure to use for a project, you're not
just making a technical decision. You're also making a social
decision, and this may be the more important of the two. For example,
if your company wants to write some software, it might seem a prudent
choice to write it in Java. But when you choose a language, you're
also choosing a community. The programmers you'll be able to hire to
work on a Java project won't be as smart as the ones you could get to
work on a project written in Python. [2] And the quality of your
hackers probably matters more than the language you choose. Though,
frankly, the fact that good hackers prefer Python to Java should tell
you something about the relative merits of those languages.

Business types prefer the most popular languages because they view
languages as standards. They don't want to bet the company on Betamax.
The thing about languages, though, is that they're not just standards.
If you have to move bits over a network, by all means use TCP/IP. But
a programming language isn't just a format. A programming language is
a medium of expression."
Jul 18 '05 #1
7 1822
As a whole, this is my favorite book of the last two years, and I read a
lot. There hasn't yet been a chapter that I started to glaze over, most
other book there is always a point where my hand started to turn the pages
faster.
Really good stuff
<be*******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:30**************************@posting.google.c om...
Paul Graham's recent book "Hackers & Painters" may be interesting
readers for Python programmers. He likes flexible languages like
Python, although Lisp is his favorite. Here is a quote from his book,
also online at http://www.paulgraham.com/gh.html , where he contrasts
Python and Java programmers. He is opinionated :).

"When you decide what infrastructure to use for a project, you're not
just making a technical decision. You're also making a social
decision, and this may be the more important of the two. For example,
if your company wants to write some software, it might seem a prudent
choice to write it in Java. But when you choose a language, you're
also choosing a community. The programmers you'll be able to hire to
work on a Java project won't be as smart as the ones you could get to
work on a project written in Python. [2] And the quality of your
hackers probably matters more than the language you choose. Though,
frankly, the fact that good hackers prefer Python to Java should tell
you something about the relative merits of those languages.

Business types prefer the most popular languages because they view
languages as standards. They don't want to bet the company on Betamax.
The thing about languages, though, is that they're not just standards.
If you have to move bits over a network, by all means use TCP/IP. But
a programming language isn't just a format. A programming language is
a medium of expression."

Jul 18 '05 #2
be*******@aol.com wrote:
also choosing a community. The programmers you'll be able to hire to
work on a Java project won't be as smart as the ones you could get to
work on a project written in Python. [2] And the quality of your

I prefer Java and Python alike, I simply love those two languages.....

So, am I smart, or not as smart?

What a stupid assertion to make; this Paul Graham has just proven
himself to be an ass.........

QXX

Jul 18 '05 #3
On Sun, 08 Aug 2004 03:10:32 +0200, Baalbek wrote:
be*******@aol.com wrote:
also choosing a community. The programmers you'll be able to hire to
work on a Java project won't be as smart as the ones you could get to
work on a project written in Python. [2] And the quality of your

I prefer Java and Python alike, I simply love those two languages..... So, am I smart, or not as smart?


The question is a fair indicator that you're "not as smart"
(regardless of whether PG's assertion is true or false -- though it's
almost certainly true, just because Java is (I assume) more widely
used; but that doesn't mean there is no Java programmer who is smarter
than any Python programmer)

--
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny;
when the government fears the people, there is liberty
-- Thomas Jefferson
(setq reply-to
(concatenate 'string "Paul Foley " "<mycroft" '(#\@) "actrix.gen.nz>"))
Jul 18 '05 #4
On Sun, 08 Aug 2004 03:10:32 +0200, Baalbek <th***@it.com> wrote:
be*******@aol.com wrote:
also choosing a community. The programmers you'll be able to hire to
work on a Java project won't be as smart as the ones you could get to
work on a project written in Python. [2] And the quality of your
I prefer Java and Python alike, I simply love those two languages.....

So, am I smart, or not as smart?


Smarter than the people who proclaim that Java Is The One Language,
probably. Or the people who learned Java by default and never looked beyond
it.
What a stupid assertion to make; this Paul Graham has just proven
himself to be an ass.........


Yeah - that article was enjoyable to me, since I loathe Java and it's users.
The only problem I had with it was that his reasoning was bogus ... ;-)

/Jorgen

--
// Jorgen Grahn <jgrahn@ ''If All Men Were Brothers,
\X/ algonet.se> Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?''
Jul 18 '05 #5
Paul Foley wrote:
Baalbek wrote:
I prefer Java and Python alike, I simply love those two languages.....

So, am I smart, or not as smart?


The question is a fair indicator that you're "not as smart" [...]


Though he compares well, overall, to people who answer
rhetorical questions.
--
--Bryan
Jul 18 '05 #6
Bryan Olson wrote:

Though he compares well, overall, to people who answer
rhetorical questions.


I disagree : the most intelligent answers, usually fit
questions that look rhetorical in isolation.

Jul 18 '05 #7
In article <n3****************@news4.e.nsc.no> (Sun, 08 Aug 2004 03:10:32
+0200), Baalbek wrote:
be*******@aol.com wrote:
also choosing a community. The programmers you'll be able to hire to
work on a Java project won't be as smart as the ones you could get to
work on a project written in Python. [2] And the quality of your
I prefer Java and Python alike, I simply love those two languages.....


It's my experience that the more "buzz" a language gets, the more
programmers want to use it. In the case of Java, and especially Visual
Basic, this tends to lower the average quality of programmers using the
language.
So, am I smart, or not as smart?
I'm betting it's one or the other.
What a stupid assertion to make; this Paul Graham has just proven
himself to be an ass.........


Not.
Jul 18 '05 #8

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