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Sunday, March 28 2004

Thoughts on Pycon.

Or We're gonna make Python as complicated as Perl, even if it kills us.

I enjoyed Pycon. I would have prefered longer, and more technical, sessions but this seems to be a problem endemic to most conferences and not this one in particular.

There were, according to my unscientific count, about 50-million more women and high-school kids in attendance at Pycon compared to similar conferences I've attended. Whether that speaks to the language or the conference, good on ya!

Generators look pretty slick despite their also looking suspiciously like syntactic sugar for automagically DWIM -ing with subroutine references. That's not a complaint, just an observation based on what was a misunderstanding of Python culture.


I don't know enough Python or C to comment on Michael Salib's work (except to say that the name Starkiller makes me think someone needs to stop drinking from the Michael Moorcock well) but he is one of the funniest speakers I've seen in a long time.

On the subject of whipping boys : everybody needs one (or two , even) but please let the Python crowd get a grip when it comes to Perl. All the complaints you hear leveled about the language are true — except when they're not. The bitterness and scorn that people spew borders on the irrational and displays the kind of disconnect with reality that makes it hard to take Python boosters seriously.

Perl has been around for a long time, kicked some serious ass, isn't going away any time soon and managed to solve a whole bunch of problems that the Python crowd still seem to be coming to grips with. Based on my three days at Pycon these include testing (if ever the Python kids needed to follow their maxim about there only being one way of doing it, this is it), packaging distributions (there's one way of doing it and about fourteen caveats), distributing packages (port the source, Luke) and, dare I say it, grassroots conferences .

And I understand that ${squiggly} is a nuisance but if that's the first thing that comes to Guido's mind when he wants to pick on Perl, I hereby offer of write and maintain a PerlIO::via::useEnglish package in the hopes that we can move on to more substantial grievances.

Seeing code samples that say things like types.TypeType , meta.MetaMeta and some ridiculously convoluted use of underbar-soup, all in the same day and all in the name of doing the Right Thing, doesn't exactly help either.

Python is cool. Lots of really cool stuff is written in Python. There are even more cool apps that should be written in Python. But if people thought of Python as just another way of doing it the world might not seem like such a ugly and incomprehensible place.

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Sunday, March 21 2004 ←  → Monday, March 29 2004