Why did you switch from Python to Ruby?

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Brandon J. Van Every

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Aug 19, 2003, 2:52:58 AM8/19/03
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This question is only meant to apply to people who used to use Python, but
switched to Ruby. Why did you do so?

Motive for my question: I am language / platform shopping and comparing the
pros and cons of Python, C#, and anything that comes up on the radar in the
course of it. A lot of people who know about Python seem to know about
Ruby. Someone in comp.lang.python suggested that I should ask this
particular question here to get more complete opinions. The c.l.p people
are mostly happy with Python and see few if any advantages to Ruby, although
there is some discussion and dissention.

--
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.

Ged Byrne

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:02:14 AM8/19/03
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Brandon,

I've switched from Python for two reasons:

1) Better objects.

Pythons objects lack access control. They seem to be
designed for namespacing convenience rather than using
a true OO approach.

2) Perl Emulation

Despite being true OO, Ruby does an amazing job of
emulating Perl.

I was using Perl for munging data quickly. Now I only
have to use Ruby.


--- "Brandon J. Van Every"
<vane...@3DProgrammer.com> wrote: > This question is

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:10:27 AM8/19/03
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I got sick of indents, its a pain when copying and pasting code... but
real programmers never do that....

I loved ruby OO EVERYTHING is an object

Loved the iterators [1,2,3,4].each{|e| do_somthing(e) }

Sockets are nice and easy. Python is hardly and abstraction above the C
api for sockets.

Ruby C(++) extensions are A LOT nicer than python.

Ruby built in regex are nice ie. "abc" =~ /b/
/b/ is an object!

Ruby is much faster for quick throw away scripts.

Ruby has lots of the perl features without all the cr** such as $_,$1,$2
..

Threads are easy to implement.

William Webber

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:12:40 AM8/19/03
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On Tue, Aug 19, 2003 at 04:03:15PM +0900, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
> This question is only meant to apply to people who used to use Python, but
> switched to Ruby. Why did you do so?

Closures + iterators + blocks.

Being a scheme/lisp fan, every time I had to create
temporary array to store the results of looping over another
in Python, I felt a bit nauseous. (Perhaps there's a better
way of doing this is more recent Python versions, but I
didn't know about it.) So I set out to find a language that
was Python-like but supported proper closures and lambda
functions. I'd only heard the name Ruby, but I thought it
might have these features -- and it did!

William

Lyle Johnson

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Aug 19, 2003, 10:00:25 AM8/19/03
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Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

> This question is only meant to apply to people who used to use Python, but
> switched to Ruby. Why did you do so?

I will assume that you'll get answers from other readers of
comp.lang.ruby about the merits of Ruby versus Python, and I'd probably
second most of those comments, so I won't rehash them here.

I was probably vaguely aware of Ruby for some time, but decided to take
a serious look at it when the Pragmatic Programmers (Dave Thomas and
Andy Hunt) started writing articles, and eventually a book, about
programming with Ruby. Like a lot of software developers, I was already
a big fan of their first book (The Pragmatic Programmer) and so their
endorsement of Ruby was significant to me, enough so to invest some time
in learning more about it.

That alone, however, would not have been enough. As I've noted
elsewhere, if you just pit Ruby and Python against each other in a
"feature list shootout", it's probably a tie.

The thing that *really* sold me, and something that a lot of long-time
Ruby users probably take for granted, is the open and generally helpful
spirit of the Ruby community. When you ask a question here, you're as
likely as not to get an answer from Matz (the "father of Ruby"), or many
of the other resident experts in the language. We generally don't flame
newbies, or people who ask questions like "Why did you switch from
Python to Ruby"? The support community behind a programming language (or
I guess any other activity) is something that I think you can't ignore,
although it's easy to do so ;)

Anyways, that's my $0.02.

-- Lyle

gt

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Aug 19, 2003, 9:51:01 AM8/19/03
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"Brandon J. Van Every" <vane...@3DProgrammer.com> wrote in message news:<bhsguv$2l23q$1...@ID-203719.news.uni-berlin.de>...

> This question is only meant to apply to people who used to use Python, but
> switched to Ruby. Why did you do so?
>
> Motive for my question: I am language / platform shopping and comparing the
> pros and cons of Python, C#, and anything that comes up on the radar in the
> course of it. A lot of people who know about Python seem to know about
> Ruby. Someone in comp.lang.python suggested that I should ask this
> particular question here to get more complete opinions. The c.l.p people
> are mostly happy with Python and see few if any advantages to Ruby, although
> there is some discussion and dissention.

Im far from an expert at either language; in fact, Im still learning
them side-by-side, however...

When ever I'm tinkering with a new problem, I almost always end up
using Ruby.

From a practical mindset, Python wins. Its a much better 'environment'
to tackle programming problems with.
By that I mean that it has much more available as far as modules,
extensions,
and the like. 'twisted', and 'Pygame', and 'Zope' come to mind.
Its very scalable due to the fact that a coding style was built into
the language. Lots of people have problems with the forced indentation
but its there for a reason, and you get used to it. It makes code
very easy to read months down the line, and it doesnt really matter
who the past coders were, because everyone is forced into a particular
style.
Also, Python seems to be very straight-laced as far as syntax goes.
From my limited dealings with the Python community, they seem to
recoil entirely from the thought of any sort of code obfuscation.
There is no Python 'golf' it seems.

Having said all that it sounds like I'm an advocate for Python.
But...
I seem to smile alot more when using Ruby.
I can do things with less code most times, with less of a fight.
By that I mean, I can implement one of my hair-brained schemes with
a little tinkering that most times Python will simply balk at.
Like Perl there is 'more than one way to do it'. Unlike Perl, theres
no
pain in doing so, and you can actually understand your own code a
couple of weeks down the line.
Iterators, blocks, procs, and closures are a plus too.

Some of you might say its because I'm more proficient at using Ruby
than Python, but that simply not the case. I set out to learn them
in paralel, so the proficiency/knowledge level is about the same.
I suggest that you try the same approach. Learn both at the same
time, and see what is better for you.

This is just what my experience has been.
I know its not choke full of technical reasons why you should choose
one over the other.
On the surface it seems as if Ruby doesnt offer anything extraordinary
enough to warrant a switch from Python for most users.
Its one of those things that you have to experience I think, for
it to hit you.
I would urge you to give it a whirl.
Sometimes it comes down to the intangibles in life.

Curt Hibbs

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Aug 19, 2003, 10:48:43 AM8/19/03
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gt wrote:
[snip]

>
> This is just what my experience has been.
> I know its not choke full of technical reasons why you should choose
> one over the other.
> On the surface it seems as if Ruby doesnt offer anything extraordinary
> enough to warrant a switch from Python for most users.
> Its one of those things that you have to experience I think, for
> it to hit you.
> I would urge you to give it a whirl.
> Sometimes it comes down to the intangibles in life.

This is what I would call the "gestalt" of ruby!

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

gestalt : a structure, configuration, or pattern
of physical, biological, or psychological
phenomena so integrated as to constitute a
functional unit with properties not derivable
by summation of its parts.

Curt

Sean O'Dell

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Aug 19, 2003, 12:47:32 PM8/19/03
to
I may not be the best qualified to answer this, because I looked at
Python, scowled, and ran before I got to do any serious programming, but
I have an interesting question you can ask yourself:

How many posts can you find on Google/Groups (Usenet) from people
stating they used to program in Ruby and switched to something else?

I would wager you will find zero. This isn't just pro-Ruby FUD, either,
I have a point to make. Everyone has a reason for plugging their
favorite language, and you will find arguments for every programming
language on the face of the earth, even the worst of the worst. So,
perhaps instead of basing your decision on the presentation of what
people have to say (who may not have the charisma to convince you and
you will run off with the wrong language), try looking around and
finding who left what languages for what reasons and weigh that information.

My point here is, I have yet to hear of a single person who left Ruby
for another scripting language.

I'm sure people have left Ruby for certain pragmatic reasons ("my job
requires me to write in Perl" or "Ruby just isn't as fast as assembly"),
but I have trouble imagining even one person leaving Ruby because it
wasn't a good enough script language for them. You can find people who
never tried it, or tried it for a day and missed their old language
Perl/Python/Bash/Basic so much they had to go back, but I doubt you can
find any Ruby-expatriates among the group of people who have given it a
solid try.

Go Google for people who left Ruby and count them and enumerate their
reasons, if any. Ponder that for awhile.

Sean O'Dell

Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

Steve Tuckner

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Aug 19, 2003, 1:17:25 PM8/19/03
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I didn't do the google search but I know of two people who have been on this
list and have left for other languages/environments:

one to Squeak
one to O'Caml

While Ruby is wonderful to program in, it is not the end-all, be-all for all
people and all projects.

Steve Tuckner

Simon Strandgaard

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Aug 19, 2003, 1:39:31 PM8/19/03
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 17:47:32 +0000, Sean O'Dell wrote:
> How many posts can you find on Google/Groups (Usenet) from people
> stating they used to program in Ruby and switched to something else?

zero has left Ruby, exellent point!

I will use this as an argument when I advertise for Ruby in the future.

--
Simon Strandgaard

Ben Giddings

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Aug 19, 2003, 2:06:51 PM8/19/03
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Steve Tuckner wrote:
> I didn't do the google search but I know of two people who have been on this
> list and have left for other languages/environments:
>
> one to Squeak
> one to O'Caml
>
> While Ruby is wonderful to program in, it is not the end-all, be-all for all
> people and all projects.

No, but it may be the be-all and end-all for scripting languages, at
least for the moment?

Squeak isn't a scripting language. I just tried it out last night and
it's really interesting, but from what I was able to determine, because
it all runs in a VM image, there is no easy way of writing a script that
does something like "check a project out of CVS and make sure it builds
cleanly". Then again, I have exactly 4 hours of experience with Squeak
so maybe I'm completely off.

As for OCaml, it's a compiled language, isn't it? No interpreter, no
shell...?

Doing the low level hardware bit shuffling I'm doing isn't something
Ruby works well for either, so I'm doing that in C, but I have yet to
find something to challenge it in its domain.

Ben


Ollivier Robert

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Aug 19, 2003, 2:21:49 PM8/19/03
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In article <Ews0b.2919$pl5....@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com>,

Sean O'Dell <se...@cSePlsoAfMt.com[REMOVE_THE_SPAM]> wrote:
>My point here is, I have yet to hear of a single person who left Ruby
>for another scripting language.

To be fair, I know of two people (Ada fans) who stopped using Ruby and
switched to Python because they had problems with threads and Pgsql
connections.

Hasn't stopped me though :)

Dave Benjamin

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:09:02 PM8/19/03
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"Ben Giddings" <b...@thingmagic.com> wrote in message
news:3F426736...@thingmagic.com...

> As for OCaml, it's a compiled language, isn't it? No interpreter, no
> shell...?

Actually, OCaml works in three modes:

1. Native
2. Bytecode
3. Interpreted

It's really a neat language, I think.

Dave


Bill Kelly

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Aug 19, 2003, 3:43:51 PM8/19/03
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> This question is only meant to apply to people who used to use Python, but
> switched to Ruby. Why did you do so?

I understand Python has improved significantly since my
experiences with it. My "Python Essential Reference" book
was based on Python 1.5.2. I learned Python at work, in
parallel with Ruby at home.

We were all learning Python together, at work. We were
writing Java apps, but wanted something higher level to
program in, so Jython (nee JPython) seemed the thing.
(No JRuby was available at the time.)

Python was so much more fun than Java that I embraced it
wholeheartedly. (Putting aside my/our misgivings about the
syntactically-significant whitespace thing.) [I tried
to persuade others on my team that _anything_ had to be
better than Java.... They were less dissatisfied with Java's
expressive power at that time than I was...]

Ultimately Python served us well. But there were so many
times we'd try to figure out how to do something in Python
that either turned out to be impossible or inelegant, that
it became a running joke. We'd just turn to one another
sadly, and in commiseration proclaim, "Guido!". (Perhaps
a little like "Newman!" is said on Seinfeld.)

. . . Wish I could remember more of what those things were.
Maybe they're addressed in Python by now. One, for instance,
was when we tried to figure out how to create class methods
(as opposed to instance methods.) Page 64 of the Python
Essential Reference admits, "... it's not possible to define
class methods that don't operate on instances." ...Guido!!
The other I recall was trying to figure out how to do an
assignment within a conditional. The code I wanted to
write was something like:

if (val = gd.get('startTag')):
attrs = parseAttrs(gd['allAttrs'])
self.handleStartTag(val.lower(), attrs)
elif (val = gd.get('endTag')):
self.handleEndTag(val.lower())
elif (val = gd.get('text')):
self.handleNonTagText(val)
elif (val = gd.get('comment')):

#...etc.

Apparently this was impossible. At least, I never was able
to figure out any way of doing it. I ended up with some
annoying, verbose, nested thing like:

val = gd.get('startTag')
if val is not None:
attrs = parseAttrs(gd['allAttrs'])
self.handleStartTag(val.lower(), attrs)
else:
val = gd.get('endTag')
if val is not None:
self.handleEndTag(val.lower())
else:
val = gd.get('text')
if val is not None:
self.handleNonTagText(val)
else:
val = gd.get('comment')
if val is not None:
#...etc.

..Guido!!

Another silly example might be the interactive Python
interpreter. It goes through the trouble of recognizing that
when someone says 'exit' they probably want to exit. But instead
of doing what the user intended, it merely spits out a complaint
that one should "Use Ctrl-D (i.e. EOF) to exit."

..Guido!!!

My impression was that Python's designer was trying to achieve
elegance by fiat.

My experiences with Ruby were, truly, quite the opposite.
The surprises were so pleasant: I used to laugh out loud
after awhile when I'd look up in Programming Ruby how to
do some particular thing (create a class method, say) and
find that whatever-it-was was exactly what I would have
written had I just guessed and tried it. This happened
over and over and over. So many times, I couldn't believe
it. It became a _positive_ running joke, of sorts, with
me.

Anyway, ... it's all so subjective. But Ruby "rubs me
the right way"... and Python didn't. Although, Python is
still way more fun to program in than Java! <grin>


Hope this helps / for whatever it's worth / etc...

Regards,

Bill

Martin DeMello

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Aug 19, 2003, 4:22:57 PM8/19/03
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Sean O'Dell <se...@cseplsoafmt.com[remove_the_spam]> wrote:
>
> How many posts can you find on Google/Groups (Usenet) from people
> stating they used to program in Ruby and switched to something else?

Interesting google challenge, if nothing else :) Tried briefly, did come
across the following gem:

To summarize:
Python's site says "You've come to our website, I bet you'd like to
try out our language. Learn a little about it, and try it at home!"
Ruby's site says "You've come to our website, you probably want to
compile the latest version or see the CVS tree. No? Sorry,
please instead try our Downloads and Documents!"
Perl's site says "Buy our T-Shirts! And follow this link to some
crufty Unix-centric hyper-super-dupertext documents! Buy both
O'Reilly books and enter to win a FREE SGI workstation!"

-- http://tinyurl.com/kixq

martin

Daniel Carrera

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Aug 19, 2003, 4:32:05 PM8/19/03
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On Wed, Aug 20, 2003 at 05:25:09AM +0900, Martin DeMello wrote:

> Perl's site says "Buy our T-Shirts! And follow this link to some
> crufty Unix-centric hyper-super-dupertext documents! Buy both
> O'Reilly books and enter to win a FREE SGI workstation!"

That's not true. Go to www.perl.org and see. I see nothing wrong or
commerical (the two are not the same) with the Perl website.

--
Daniel Carrera, Math PhD student at UMD. PGP KeyID: 9AF77A88
.-"~~~"-. On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
/ O O \ "Our wines leave you nothing to hope for"
: s :
\ \___/ / Sign outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
`-.___.-' "Ladies may have a fit upstairs"


Brandon J. Van Every

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Aug 19, 2003, 4:44:28 PM8/19/03
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Lyle Johnson wrote:
>
> The thing that *really* sold me, and something that a lot of long-time
> Ruby users probably take for granted, is the open and generally
> helpful spirit of the Ruby community.

Interesting. I hope it lasts as you get bigger... the niceness may only be
a feature of your current size. There are plenty of nice people in
comp.lang.python... but also people who will flame you for not asking
questions "the right way." My strategy has been to killfile the latter.
Once this is done, I think c.l.p becomes a nice community to work with
again. In essence, it has been made smaller. :-)

Mills Thomas (app1tam)

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Aug 19, 2003, 4:49:50 PM8/19/03
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An ordinary googlage (not groups) for "switched from Ruby" reveals one URL:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/65634?source=1

where the author switched to Java for speed reasons.

"switched to Ruby" gives 142 hits.

Drew

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sean O'Dell [mailto:se...@cSePlsoAfMt.com[REMOVE_THE_SPAM]]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2003 1:04 PM
> To: ruby...@ruby-lang.org
> Subject: Re: Why did you switch from Python to Ruby?
>
>
> I may not be the best qualified to answer this, because I looked at
> Python, scowled, and ran before I got to do any serious
> programming, but
> I have an interesting question you can ask yourself:
>

> How many posts can you find on Google/Groups (Usenet) from people
> stating they used to program in Ruby and switched to something else?
>

> I would wager you will find zero. This isn't just pro-Ruby
> FUD, either,
> I have a point to make. Everyone has a reason for plugging their
> favorite language, and you will find arguments for every programming
> language on the face of the earth, even the worst of the worst. So,
> perhaps instead of basing your decision on the presentation of what
> people have to say (who may not have the charisma to convince you and
> you will run off with the wrong language), try looking around and
> finding who left what languages for what reasons and weigh
> that information.
>

> My point here is, I have yet to hear of a single person who left Ruby
> for another scripting language.
>

> I'm sure people have left Ruby for certain pragmatic reasons ("my job
> requires me to write in Perl" or "Ruby just isn't as fast as
> assembly"),
> but I have trouble imagining even one person leaving Ruby because it
> wasn't a good enough script language for them. You can find
> people who
> never tried it, or tried it for a day and missed their old language
> Perl/Python/Bash/Basic so much they had to go back, but I
> doubt you can
> find any Ruby-expatriates among the group of people who have
> given it a
> solid try.
>
> Go Google for people who left Ruby and count them and enumerate their
> reasons, if any. Ponder that for awhile.
>
> Sean O'Dell
>
> Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
>

> > This question is only meant to apply to people who used to
> use Python,
> > but switched to Ruby. Why did you do so?
> >

Gavri Savio Fernandez

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:00:11 PM8/19/03
to
Misleading statistics!! :-) Nobody really uses 'switched from'

OTOH, "switched to" is very common!

___________________________________________
Gavri Savio Fernandez

I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room -steven wright

Martin DeMello

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:20:50 PM8/19/03
to
Daniel Carrera <dcar...@math.umd.edu> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 20, 2003 at 05:25:09AM +0900, Martin DeMello wrote:
>
>> Perl's site says "Buy our T-Shirts! And follow this link to some
>> crufty Unix-centric hyper-super-dupertext documents! Buy both
>> O'Reilly books and enter to win a FREE SGI workstation!"
>
> That's not true. Go to www.perl.org and see. I see nothing wrong or
> commerical (the two are not the same) with the Perl website.

To be perfectly honest, I see nothing wrong with perl.com either (a site
I frequent even though I don't use perl these days). I posted that
because I found the ruby vs python bit amusing.

martin

(and anyway, it was writen back in 1999)

Ben Giddings

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:25:26 PM8/19/03
to
Gavri Savio Fernandez wrote:
> Misleading statistics!! :-) Nobody really uses 'switched from'

Well... I'd guess they're pretty even:

I switched from Ruby to AMuchWorseLanguage

vs.

I switched to AMuchWorseLanguage from Ruby

The trouble is more that the search would only catch the first one, and
not the second one. If google were more capable, you might be able to
do a wildcard/regex search to match the second one, but otherwise it's
pretty hard, though you might get something reasonable with "switched
to" "from Ruby".


Joel VanderWerf

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:25:45 PM8/19/03
to

Your search - "stopped using ruby" - did not match any documents.

:-D


Martin DeMello

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Aug 19, 2003, 5:35:12 PM8/19/03
to
Ben Giddings <b...@thingmagic.com> wrote:
>
> The trouble is more that the search would only catch the first one, and
> not the second one. If google were more capable, you might be able to
> do a wildcard/regex search to match the second one, but otherwise it's
> pretty hard, though you might get something reasonable with "switched
> to" "from Ruby".

I tried '"switched to" ruby -"switched to ruby"', but no luck.

martin

Brandon J. Van Every

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Aug 19, 2003, 6:01:52 PM8/19/03
to
Sean O'Dell wrote:
>
> My point here is, I have yet to hear of a single person who left Ruby
> for another scripting language.

But... what does it prove? It doesn't prove that Ruby is the reason. It
could be, that people who find out about Ruby in the 1st place, have the
developmental luxury to try languages such as Ruby. And not the production
pressure to abandon them for something else. Industrial relevance was
another question I was going to ask later, if need be, but you have
precipitated it.

> I'm sure people have left Ruby for certain pragmatic reasons ("my job
> requires me to write in Perl" or "Ruby just isn't as fast as assembly"),
> but I have trouble imagining even one person leaving Ruby because it
> wasn't a good enough script language for them.

On the subject of pragmatism, you are echoing my thinking. I am curious why
you think such pragmatic concerns "don't count." Nobody has left Ruby...
except those who have left Ruby?

> but I doubt you can find any Ruby-expatriates among the group of people
> who have given it a solid try.

Ok, that's a more nuanced statement. I don't feel like chasing all over
Google for such answers, as I seriously doubt they are findable that way.
Rather, I'll stick a wet finger in the air and ask a question. Pythonistas
go to Ruby Heaven when they die. :-) Where do Rubicons go?

I guess your answer is, "they live forever." But maybe others have a
different idea.

Gavin Sinclair

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Aug 19, 2003, 6:28:25 PM8/19/03
to

When you can prove it, I hope. I know of a couple of counter-cases.

Gavin

Bermejo, Rodrigo

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Aug 19, 2003, 8:28:54 PM8/19/03
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Pythonistas go to Ruby Heaven when they die. :-) Where do Rubicons go?

they go to the 'real heaven'
now at least there are few guys upthere trying to convince god to use
ruby for the next version of ' Existence 1.0 '

>W. Kent Starr passed away last April leaving me with a ruby script that was
>being developed into a color parser for web pages.
>

Michael Granger

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Aug 19, 2003, 9:13:37 PM8/19/03
to
On Tuesday, August 19, 2003, at 04:05 PM, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

> But... what does it prove? It doesn't prove that Ruby is the reason.

[snip]

I can't imagine a circumstance in which I'd want to abandon Ruby, but
all these damned "Python vs. Ruby" and similar messages have made me
want to abandon ruby-talk. Could you tag any future /(Abandon|Switch)
(to|from) (Ruby|Python)/ threads you feel compelled to start with
'[DROSS]' in the subject or something so I can killfile them more
easily? =;)

Seriously, though -- what are you trying to find out? Just playing
Mephisto to a hypothetical Faust?

--
Michael Granger <g...@FaerieMUD.org>
Rubymage, Believer, Architect
The FaerieMUD Consortium <http://www.FaerieMUD.org/>


Sean O'Dell

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Aug 19, 2003, 10:09:04 PM8/19/03
to
Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

> Sean O'Dell wrote:
>
>>My point here is, I have yet to hear of a single person who left Ruby
>>for another scripting language.
>
> But... what does it prove? It doesn't prove that Ruby is the reason. It
> could be, that people who find out about Ruby in the 1st place, have the
> developmental luxury to try languages such as Ruby. And not the production
> pressure to abandon them for something else. Industrial relevance was
> another question I was going to ask later, if need be, but you have
> precipitated it.

A billion people could be programming in Perl right now, and that
wouldn't mean a thing because the pressure to produce code might have
them locked in and unable to make a switch to another script language.
It's those that have made the switch that are most interesting to a
person evaluating Ruby. Who is leaving Perl for Python? Who is leaving
Python for Ruby. Who has left Ruby for Perl or Python?

That someone has learned about Ruby means they either have the luxury to
try out new scripting languages during work hours (as you said), or they
program on their own time and don't want to waste those few precious
hours on a language they have to fight with constantly. Either way, the
reason for switching is interesting and pertinent.

The people who code at work and are locked-in to some language and don't
enjoy programming enough to do it in their off-time are people who, I
think, will have little insight to offer. Their lack of input about
Ruby can be safely ignored. =)

>>I'm sure people have left Ruby for certain pragmatic reasons ("my job
>>requires me to write in Perl" or "Ruby just isn't as fast as assembly"),
>>but I have trouble imagining even one person leaving Ruby because it
>>wasn't a good enough script language for them.
>
> On the subject of pragmatism, you are echoing my thinking. I am curious why
> you think such pragmatic concerns "don't count." Nobody has left Ruby...
> except those who have left Ruby?

Ruby is what it is, and people will leave Ruby when it can't be what
they need. Ruby is not suitable as a real-time embedded programming
language, so if someone stopped programming in Ruby to program in ANSI C
on QNX, I wouldn't count them when trying to weigh the worth of Ruby to
myself as a script language.

What I mean is, if you are buying apples, weigh apples.

This is entirely subjective of course, and we're talking about a person
evaluating a script language, so they ought to weigh the opinions of
people who have also evaluated Ruby as a script language.

>>but I doubt you can find any Ruby-expatriates among the group of people
>>who have given it a solid try.
>
> Ok, that's a more nuanced statement. I don't feel like chasing all over
> Google for such answers, as I seriously doubt they are findable that way.
> Rather, I'll stick a wet finger in the air and ask a question. Pythonistas
> go to Ruby Heaven when they die. :-) Where do Rubicons go?
>
> I guess your answer is, "they live forever." But maybe others have a
> different idea.

Something like that; I think Rubicons ascend to Nirvana the moment they
"get it."

=)

Sean O'Dell

Brian McCallister

unread,
Aug 19, 2003, 10:31:24 PM8/19/03
to
On Tuesday, August 19, 2003, at 09:13 PM, Michael Granger wrote:

> On Tuesday, August 19, 2003, at 04:05 PM, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
>
>> But... what does it prove? It doesn't prove that Ruby is the reason.
> [snip]
>
> I can't imagine a circumstance in which I'd want to abandon Ruby, but
> all these damned "Python vs. Ruby" and similar messages have made me
> want to abandon ruby-talk. Could you tag any future /(Abandon|Switch)
> (to|from) (Ruby|Python)/ threads you feel compelled to start with
> '[DROSS]' in the subject or something so I can killfile them more
> easily? =;)
>

ruby -e "puts $all unless ($all =
$stdin.readlines.join).include?('ython') and $all.include?('ruby-talk')"


Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 1:32:20 AM8/20/03
to
Ben Giddings wrote:
>
> I switched from Ruby to AMuchWorseLanguage
>
> vs.
>
> I switched to AMuchWorseLanguage from Ruby

KISS. Search for "switched" "Ruby". Use your brain to figure out what
direction the switch was made, or what the typical formulations of the
sentiment were.

Using this approach on the Google newsgroup archives, and restricting to
comp.*, I immediately found a thread from this group with 73 posts. "What
New Language After Ruby?" I'm not exactly certain how to shorten these URLs
anymore, so here's the peanut butter:

http://groups.google.com/groups?dq=&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm=ak08gr%24sb3%241%40grapevine.wam.umd.edu&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fq%3Dg:thl948581557d%26dq%3D%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26selm%3Dak08gr%2524sb3%25241%2540grapevine.wam.umd.edu

Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 1:50:43 AM8/20/03
to
Michael Granger wrote:
> On Tuesday, August 19, 2003, at 04:05 PM, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
>
>> But... what does it prove? It doesn't prove that Ruby is the
>> reason. [snip]
>
> I can't imagine a circumstance in which I'd want to abandon Ruby, but
> all these damned "Python vs. Ruby" and similar messages have made me
> want to abandon ruby-talk. Could you tag any future /(Abandon|Switch)
> (to|from) (Ruby|Python)/ threads you feel compelled to start with
> '[DROSS]' in the subject or something so I can killfile them more
> easily? =;)

Whether I can or not, I won't.

> Seriously, though -- what are you trying to find out? Just playing
> Mephisto to a hypothetical Faust?

You are proving that your Ruby community is not as welcoming compared to
comp.lang.python as others have claimed. I just went through a killfile
debacle in that crowd, which began with people who couldn't tolerate the
asking of certain legitimate questions. You are proving my several-years
held belief that no matter how diplomatically or graciously a contentious
subject is broached, someone will come out of the woodwork and have a
problem with it. And, it seems, on Usenet almost any subject is
contentious. ;-)

All I can say positive is at least you haven't immediately surmised me a
troll. As for explanation of my intent, I gave it in the first post. And I
grow tired of repeating it to people who will not accept stated intents at
face value.

I'll turn the question back to you. Are you personally willing to assess
the pros and cons of Ruby objectively? Although you may have already
answered, since you said you're tired of the talking.

pro...@chartermi.net

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 1:43:04 AM8/20/03
to
On Wednesday 20 August 2003 01:26, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
> Ben Giddings wrote:
[snip]

>
> KISS. Search for "switched" "Ruby". Use your brain to figure
> out what direction the switch was made, or what the typical
> formulations of the sentiment were.
>
> Using this approach on the Google newsgroup archives, and
> restricting to comp.*, I immediately found a thread from this
> group with 73 posts. "What New Language After Ruby?" I'm not
> exactly certain how to shorten these URLs anymore, so here's
> the peanut butter:
>
> http://groups.google.com/groups?dq=&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-
>8&threadm=ak08gr%24sb3%241%40grapevine.wam.umd.edu&rnum=1&prev=
>/groups%3Fq%3Dg:thl948581557d%26dq%3D%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3D
>UTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26selm%3Dak08gr%2524sb3%25241%2540grapevine.
>wam.umd.edu

That thread mentions the Language of the Year (LotY) project, and
the Pragmatic Programmer website lists Haskell as LotY 2002.
Ummm ... did I miss something? Aren't we almost into 2004??


Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 2:04:03 AM8/20/03
to
Sean O'Dell wrote:
>
> A billion people could be programming in Perl right now, and that
> wouldn't mean a thing because the pressure to produce code might have
> them locked in and unable to make a switch to another script language.

Actually, it would prove something. It would prove that Perl has industrial
incumbency. Then the question would be, is Ruby denting that incumbency?
Why or why not? We discuss questions like this on the marketing-python
mailing list. And no, I'm not a Pythonista. My interest in the language is
exploratory, I'm uncommitted.

> It's those that have made the switch that are most interesting to a
> person evaluating Ruby. Who is leaving Perl for Python? Who is
> leaving Python for Ruby. Who has left Ruby for Perl or Python?

I agree it's more interesting. But volume of mindshare, and growth of
mindshare, is interesting to both industrialists and archivists. What is
Ruby's future?

> The people who code at work and are locked-in to some language and
> don't enjoy programming enough to do it in their off-time are people
> who, I think, will have little insight to offer. Their lack of input
about
> Ruby can be safely ignored. =)

To be honest I find that a bizarre prejudice. People have to program both
at work and in their leisure time to have relevant opinions? Surely not. I
for one have life pursuits other than programming! I'm not interested in
languages that I have to relegate to a hobby, I'm interested in languages
that allow me to get prime time work done more quickly. Part of that means,
I think, convincing the suits who might otherwise force you to keep using
Perl. Again, we talk about these kinds of issues on marketing-python.

> Ruby is what it is, and people will leave Ruby when it can't be what
> they need. Ruby is not suitable as a real-time embedded programming
> language, so if someone stopped programming in Ruby to program in
> ANSI C
> on QNX, I wouldn't count them when trying to weigh the worth of Ruby
> to myself as a script language.

Ok, good at scripting, not good at embedded. How about large systems
programming?

Mark Wilson

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 2:19:10 AM8/20/03
to

On Wednesday, August 20, 2003, at 01:46 AM, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

> [snip]

> Could you tag any future /(Abandon|Switch)
>> (to|from) (Ruby|Python)/ threads you feel compelled to start with
>> '[DROSS]' in the subject or something so I can killfile them more
>> easily? =;)
>
> Whether I can or not, I won't.

The symbol '=;)' means that it's a joke.

>
>> Seriously, though -- what are you trying to find out? Just playing
>> Mephisto to a hypothetical Faust?
>
> You are proving that your Ruby community is not as welcoming compared
> to
> comp.lang.python as others have claimed.

I think he asked you two questions.

> I just went through a killfile
> debacle in that crowd, which began with people who couldn't tolerate
> the
> asking of certain legitimate questions.

To repeat, I think he asked you two questions that do seem legitimate
to me.

> You are proving my several-years
> held belief that no matter how diplomatically or graciously a
> contentious
> subject is broached, someone will come out of the woodwork and have a
> problem with it. And, it seems, on Usenet almost any subject is
> contentious. ;-)

I think he made a joke and asked you two questions.

>
> All I can say positive is at least you haven't immediately surmised me
> a
> troll.

I think he made a joke and asked you two questions.

> As for explanation of my intent, I gave it in the first post.

I forget the details of your first post. What was your intent?

> And I
> grow tired of repeating it to people who will not accept stated
> intents at
> face value.

Two questions in one post is tiring?

>
> I'll turn the question back to you. Are you personally willing to
> assess
> the pros and cons of Ruby objectively?

I'll take this as a public question, not one addressed to Michael
Granger alone.

Yes.

> Although you may have already
> answered, since you said you're tired of the talking.

What's wrong with a person being tired?
[snip]

> 20% of the world is real.
> 80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.

When Adept Kung asked who was most worthy, Adept Chang or Adept Hsia,
the Master said: "Chang always goes too far, and Hsia always stops
short."
"Then hasn't Chang surpassed Hsia?" asked Kung.
"Going too far isn't much different from stopping short," replied the
Master.

Confucius, The Analects, XI (Studies begin), 16

Regards,

Mark


Friedrich Dominicus

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 2:19:41 AM8/20/03
to
"Brandon J. Van Every" <vane...@3DProgrammer.com> writes:

> This question is only meant to apply to people who used to use Python, but
> switched to Ruby. Why did you do so?

Well my way is a bit longer I first have looked at Perl but never
could get wrap my head around it, than Python (just "hobby" level) but
than found Ruby and that's it. Ruby feels "right" for me as an object
oriented scripting language and is IMHO very simular to Eiffel which I
used for programming a long time.

Now I'm working on Ruby related stuff and have discovered Common
Lisp. Which I really like too.

Regards
Friedrich


Hal E. Fulton

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 2:38:20 AM8/20/03
to

Well, I was chatting privately with a friend of mine
about this thread.

First of all, I don't know how to measure the "welcomingness"
of the community objectively. It will always be a matter of
opinion.

All viewpoints are welcome here, and all discussions of Ruby
are on-topic.

This is JUST MY OPINION.

However, there are certain topics that just make me tired,
and this is one of them. That's no reflection on you. You're
new here, and you asked a valid question. No problem.

But speaking as someone who has been on the mailing list
nearly four years, I'm just bored with that stuff.

It's like listening to a dull friend tell the tired old joke
about Beethoven decomposing. (When Steve Allen wrote it, it
was a one-liner. Now it's practically a novel, and I must
sit through it and pretend it's funny.)

I don't like debates on whether Language XYZ is better/worse
than Ruby. I don't like threads that say "Let's make Ruby
just like Python/Perl/C++/COBOL/BASIC/whatever." I don't like
the endless discussion of ++ and -- (which will NOT be added
to Ruby). I don't like the pie-in-the-sky visions of RAA.succ
which endow it with artificial intelligence and time travel
capabilities, nor its obligatory accompanying subthread about
CPAN ("I don't even watch that channel," said Hal).

Instead I like to discuss Ruby's features and interesting new
ways to use them. I like to discuss new libraries, new applications,
new articles and books, ideas for improving Ruby in the future,
bug fixes, puzzles, opinion questions on the best way to code
something, and on and on. I like to discuss past and future
conferences like <plug> the upcoming Ruby Conference in Austin
in November </plug>. I like to discuss uses of Ruby "in the real
world" and (appropriate) Ruby advocacy.

Now, to address your original question a little: What compelling
reason is there to choose Ruby over Python? (I'm paraphrasing;
forgive me if I distorted your meaning.)

As far as I can tell, this is a largely subjective issue. Perhaps
the answer is "no compelling reason." I can't speak to this issue
in detail, as my knowledge of Python is minimal. I do know that
when I read the code, all I come away with is hanging indentations,
colons, underscores, and self. It hurts my eyes and doesn't fit
in my head the way I'd like. (For some inexplicable reason, the
colons bother me especially from an aesthetic standpoint.)

On the other hand, Ruby fits my brain almost the way my brain
fits my skull. It's not perfect. There are things I would change.
(But I am glad Matz is in charge of it, not me, as I often like
his ideas better than I like my own.)

Other people's experiences will vary, of course.

It's late and I'm tired and I should just be quiet now.

Hal


Mark Wilson

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 2:42:44 AM8/20/03
to

On Wednesday, August 20, 2003, at 02:07 AM, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

> Sean O'Dell wrote:
>>
>> A billion people could be programming in Perl right now, and that
>> wouldn't mean a thing because the pressure to produce code might have
>> them locked in and unable to make a switch to another script language.
>
> Actually, it would prove something. It would prove that Perl has
> industrial
> incumbency. Then the question would be, is Ruby denting that
> incumbency?
> Why or why not?

The Master said: "The noble-minded worry about their lack of ability,
not about people's failure to recognize their ability."

Confucius, The Analects, XV, 19

> [snip]

>> It's those that have made the switch that are most interesting to a
>> person evaluating Ruby. Who is leaving Perl for Python? Who is
>> leaving Python for Ruby. Who has left Ruby for Perl or Python?
>
> I agree it's more interesting. But volume of mindshare, and growth of
> mindshare, is interesting to both industrialists and archivists. What
> is
> Ruby's future?

Standing beside a river, the Master said: "Everythin passes away like
this, day and night, never resting."

Confucius, The Analects, IX, 17

>
>> The people who code at work and are locked-in to some language and
>> don't enjoy programming enough to do it in their off-time are people
>> who, I think, will have little insight to offer. Their lack of input
> about
>> Ruby can be safely ignored. =)
>
> To be honest I find that a bizarre prejudice. People have to program
> both
> at work and in their leisure time to have relevant opinions? Surely

> not. [snip]

I think you have missed his point. If someone code's at work only in a
language other than Ruby and doesn't program in their off-time, they
cannot possibly have an informed view.


Regards,

Mark

The Master said: " A person who can study for three years and never
worry about a salary - that is very difficult to find."

Confucius, The Analects, VIII, 12


Sean O'Dell

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 2:43:59 AM8/20/03
to
Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
> Sean O'Dell wrote:
>
>>A billion people could be programming in Perl right now, and that
>>wouldn't mean a thing because the pressure to produce code might have
>>them locked in and unable to make a switch to another script language.
>
> Actually, it would prove something. It would prove that Perl has industrial
> incumbency. Then the question would be, is Ruby denting that incumbency?
> Why or why not? We discuss questions like this on the marketing-python
> mailing list. And no, I'm not a Pythonista. My interest in the language is
> exploratory, I'm uncommitted.

I'm really not interested in the discussion in another context. I
suggested, as one weight to throw on the scale, that the original poster
check to see how many people have left Ruby for another language. In
that context, it doesn't matter how many people are locked into
Perl/Python/etc. If they're locked in, by default their opinion on
switching away from Ruby to something else is void.

>>It's those that have made the switch that are most interesting to a
>>person evaluating Ruby. Who is leaving Perl for Python? Who is
>>leaving Python for Ruby. Who has left Ruby for Perl or Python?
>
> I agree it's more interesting. But volume of mindshare, and growth of
> mindshare, is interesting to both industrialists and archivists. What is
> Ruby's future?

This is out of the context of my suggestion. That's another property to
consider, and a valid one, but it has nothing to do with finding people
who have switched away from Ruby.

>>The people who code at work and are locked-in to some language and
>>don't enjoy programming enough to do it in their off-time are people
>>who, I think, will have little insight to offer. Their lack of input
> about
>>Ruby can be safely ignored. =)
>
>
> To be honest I find that a bizarre prejudice. People have to program both
> at work and in their leisure time to have relevant opinions? Surely not. I
> for one have life pursuits other than programming! I'm not interested in
> languages that I have to relegate to a hobby, I'm interested in languages
> that allow me to get prime time work done more quickly. Part of that means,
> I think, convincing the suits who might otherwise force you to keep using
> Perl. Again, we talk about these kinds of issues on marketing-python.

If you're interested in knowing why people have left Ruby for another
language, as a consideration to help you evaluate it, I would ignore the
opinions of people who have no opportunity to even try Ruby in the first
place. If you really want the insights of people who have come and
gone, you have to first group out the people who at least have a choice
to do so. How can you factor in the opinion of a person on the subject
of switching to/from Ruby when they are locked into another language at
work and don't bother to try Ruby in their off-time?

Sean O'Dell

Sean O'Dell

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 2:51:23 AM8/20/03
to
Actually, Michael's post sounded like a bit of irritation-driven
sarcasm. Yours sounds like a downright troll. I think you can weigh
the pros and cons for yourself; Ruby is available with loads of
documentation and full source code. There are a gazillion other things
to discuss in this newsgroup than "the pros and cons of Ruby."
Suggesting it comes across as provocative and argumentative. I think
that sort of posture undermines the structure of this community. It is
IMMENSELY helpful and quite welcoming. Don't take a touch of sarcasm
here and there as evidence of something deeply ugly.

My 2 cents. I would prefer the "pros and cons" discussion was dropped.
Someone asked for insight, people are providing it, let's not devolve
this into verbal combat.

Sean O'Dell

Kurt M. Dresner

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 3:08:14 AM8/20/03
to
> To be fair, I know of two people (Ada fans) who stopped using Ruby and
> switched to Python because they had problems with threads and Pgsql
> connections.

I actually had to give up on a Ruby project because I couldn't get the Pgsql
connection to work right... *Sigh*. Oh well.

-Kurt

Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 3:59:32 AM8/20/03
to
Sean O'Dell wrote:
> Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
>>
>> I agree it's more interesting. But volume of mindshare, and growth
>> of mindshare, is interesting to both industrialists and archivists.
>> What is Ruby's future?
>
> This is out of the context of my suggestion. That's another property
> to consider, and a valid one, but it has nothing to do with finding
> people who have switched away from Ruby.

Huh? If they switched out of Ruby because they didn't perceive it as having
a strong growth potential, that's certainly relevant. Be careful not to
define everyone's language priorities as identical to your own. People in
mainstream industry don't decide things solely on narrow technical merits,
they also look at "size of the bandwagon," because it tends to imply how the
GUI, tools, skilled labor markets, and enterprise support are going to go.

> If you're interested in knowing why people have left Ruby for another
> language, as a consideration to help you evaluate it, I would ignore
> the opinions of people who have no opportunity to even try Ruby in
> the first place.

But how much do they have to try before they abandon?

Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:07:14 AM8/20/03
to
Mark Wilson wrote:
>
>> Could you tag any future /(Abandon|Switch)
>>> (to|from) (Ruby|Python)/ threads you feel compelled to start with
>>> '[DROSS]' in the subject or something so I can killfile them more
>>> easily? =;)
>>
>> Whether I can or not, I won't.
>
> The symbol '=;)' means that it's a joke.

'A sense of humor' means being able to receive a joke, and knowing when and
how to give one. Saying, "I don't like what you post, I think it should all
be labeled [DROSS], will you please make it easier for me to killfile your
posts?" <smiley smiley> is not an act of good humor, it is hostile.

> I forget the details of your first post. What was your intent?

I suggest you read my first post if you're interested.

> Two questions in one post is tiring?

Yes it is, when it comes from people who aren't trying to be helpful. And
as I said, I just went through a whole pack of those in comp.lang.python.

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

20% of the world is real.

Martin DeMello

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:11:41 AM8/20/03
to
Brandon J. Van Every <vane...@3dprogrammer.com> wrote:
>
> Ok, good at scripting, not good at embedded. How about large systems
> programming?

http://www.rubygarden.org/ruby?RealWorldRuby

martin

Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:25:29 AM8/20/03
to
Hal E. Fulton wrote:
>
> But speaking as someone who has been on the mailing list
> nearly four years, I'm just bored with that stuff.

Intellectually, I understand your position. I'm bored with all kinds of
things in computers. It comes from having experience.

But there's a question you have to face as a community. Will you address
the concerns of newcomers who might want to use Ruby? Or will you give them
the cold shoulder because you find their questions boring? Or even try to
make them go away? Will you be expansive or provincial in your outlook?
Interested in mainstream mindshare, or an oasis that only "the priveledged"
can and should find? Patient with newcomers, or crusty with them if they
ask "the wrong" questions?

comp.lang.python has already drawn battle lines about this, and that's what
makes it a nasty place. Until you've killfiled the irritants, of course.

> Instead I like to discuss Ruby's features and interesting new
> ways to use them.

Nothing stops you. Nothing stops you from ignoring the threads you don't
care to participate in. I, for instance, am certainly not reading or
commenting about Ruby syntax details right now, because they're of no
interest or value to me personally at present.

Now, are you going to go out of your way to greet newcomers by saying, "I'm
sorry, your questions and concerns about one language or platform vs.
another simply bore me to tears." ? Then you are not welcoming. Newcomers
don't need to know how bored you are with them.

> Now, to address your original question a little: What compelling
> reason is there to choose Ruby over Python? (I'm paraphrasing;
> forgive me if I distorted your meaning.)

You have distorted the meaning. I asked, "Why would you abandon Ruby?" Has
nothing to do with Python. I don't assume that Python is why anyone would
abandon Ruby. In fact, I rather expect it wouldn't be.

I forgive you, seeing as how my original question was about people who
switched from Python to Ruby, and someone else cross-posted a Ruby vs.
Python thread. I actually started that thread, once upon a time, but I did
not crosspost it. It was a different audience, a different discussion.
Someone else decided they wanted to share the love.

Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:39:23 AM8/20/03
to
Mark Wilson wrote:
> On Wednesday, August 20, 2003, at 02:07 AM, Brandon J. Van Every
> wrote:
>>
>> Actually, it would prove something. It would prove that Perl has
>> industrial
>> incumbency. Then the question would be, is Ruby denting that
>> incumbency? Why or why not?
>
> The Master said: "The noble-minded worry about their lack of ability,
> not about people's failure to recognize their ability."
>
> Confucius, The Analects, XV, 19

Then IIUYC, you think using Ruby is about "nobility." Personally, I'm not
shopping for a noble language, I'm shopping for a useful one. In my world
view, and that of a lot of other people, deployment is part of utility.

>> What is Ruby's future?
>
> Standing beside a river, the Master said: "Everythin passes away like
> this, day and night, never resting."
>
> Confucius, The Analects, IX, 17

IIUYC, you use Ruby as a temporary expedient? You aren't interested in
whether it lasts 1 year or 5 years or 20 years, you'll just do something
else when it's time to move on? And by corollary, you don't care if
investments in worker training or IP are not leveraged over a sufficient
number of years? You figure, eh, write it over, write something else?

>>> The people who code at work and are locked-in to some language and
>>> don't enjoy programming enough to do it in their off-time are people
>>> who, I think, will have little insight to offer. Their lack of
>>> input about Ruby can be safely ignored. =)
>>
>> To be honest I find that a bizarre prejudice. People have to program
>> both
>> at work and in their leisure time to have relevant opinions? Surely
>> not. [snip]
>
> I think you have missed his point. If someone code's at work only in a
> language other than Ruby and doesn't program in their off-time, they
> cannot possibly have an informed view.

I think you define "informed view" according to your own prejudices. It
sounds like you're saying, "Well, if you front all this labor to get into
Ruby, well of course by then you're gonna love it!" What about people who
start down that road, but abandon it? Why are they not "informed?" Maybe
they abandon it because they discover some roadblock right away, that
obviates any need for further inquiry? Maybe they're not unintelligent or
lazy or insufficiently dedicated to programming as a lifestyle. Maybe
they're just really good at doing language product evaluations to meet their
industrial needs.

Dan Doel

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 4:58:30 AM8/20/03
to

Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

>>But speaking as someone who has been on the mailing list
>>nearly four years, I'm just bored with that stuff.
>>
>>
>
>Intellectually, I understand your position. I'm bored with all kinds of
>things in computers. It comes from having experience.
>
>But there's a question you have to face as a community. Will you address
>the concerns of newcomers who might want to use Ruby? Or will you give them
>the cold shoulder because you find their questions boring? Or even try to
>make them go away? Will you be expansive or provincial in your outlook?
>Interested in mainstream mindshare, or an oasis that only "the priveledged"
>can and should find? Patient with newcomers, or crusty with them if they
>ask "the wrong" questions?
>
>comp.lang.python has already drawn battle lines about this, and that's what
>makes it a nasty place. Until you've killfiled the irritants, of course.
>
>

The main problem is that these types of threads happen too often. I've
only been subscribed to the
list for two weeks, and I see 4 threads specifically dealing with,
"Python vs. Ruby, which is better?" and I'm
sure if I looked harder, I could find other threads that converted to
similar topics because of later posts
(and I'm not counting the "Guido says Ruby strings suck" thread, and
others that may be out there).

I'd also imagine that these two weeks aren't particularly unique in
this, so you can imagine that people get
tired of it. I imagine that it would be much better received if people
would search the archives for threads
such as this (or even threads in general), and then ask questions
relating to things that are unclear, or that
the older threads left out. That way the same things wouldn't have to
be rehashed all the time (see, for
example, all the posts on the Gentoo forums where the response is,
"Searching the forums, I found this...").

Perhaps his humor was in bad taste, but I'm sure you can imagine that
while discussion of other languages
and their strengths and weaknesses compared to ruby is not frowned upon
by any means, Python is a
frequently mentioned example, and there is little chance that many new
insights will come from the same
people discussing the same topics about the same languages (at least
until the next major revision of
Python is fleshed out and any radical new features are announced).

- Dan


Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 5:11:50 AM8/20/03
to
Sean O'Dell wrote:
> Actually, Michael's post sounded like a bit of irritation-driven
> sarcasm. Yours sounds like a downright troll.

I've been all over Usenet, for many many years, and outside of politics
groups I've rarely seen a genuine troll. What I have seen, is people who
shut down discussion with accusations of "Troll! Troll!" A troll is
anything they don't like. And on Usenet, an awful lot of people don't like
an awful lot of things. ;-)

Let me point out what you don't like. You don't like that some people have
criteria for languages beyond their expressive excellence.

You have proven that comp.lang.ruby is no better than the Usenet average as
far as welcomingness. It sure didn't take me long, it sure didn't take much
of a question, and I wasn't even the slightest bit rude this time. Which
confirms what I told others in comp.lang.python: it doesn't matter how
nicely I say things. Someone will always have a problem with it.

> I think you can weigh
> the pros and cons for yourself; Ruby is available with loads of
> documentation and full source code.

Right, we should never ask for anyone else's input on anything. Especially
on pre-decided issues. We should dutifully RTFM and never get opinions on
the ground.

> There are a gazillion other things
> to discuss in this newsgroup than "the pros and cons of Ruby."
> Suggesting it comes across as provocative and argumentative.

Right, you can speak for how everyone reacts to everything. Couldn't
possibly be a matter of your personal taste or subjectivity.

> I think that sort of posture undermines the structure of this community.

Beware the outsider! STAY SMALL! Community structure *must* remain
uniform! Don't incorporate dangerous outside ideas!

> It
> is IMMENSELY helpful and quite welcoming. Don't take a touch of
> sarcasm here and there as evidence of something deeply ugly.

Your attitudes are deeply ugly. I've refrained from killfiling you only
because you said my post *sounded* like a troll, not that I actually am one.

> My 2 cents. I would prefer the "pros and cons" discussion was dropped.

Well, this is Usenet, and it ain't your show.

> Someone asked for insight, people are providing it, let's
> not devolve this into verbal combat.

You've taken what I consider to be a disingenous approach to calming the
waters. Thus, I don't really feel like helping that agenda just yet.
Instead, I've addressed your points. I know you that you know I'm not a
troll. That's why we're still communicating. Given this, why do you
presume to tell me what my posts sound like, the harm I'm doing, how you'd
like discussion to cease for your benefit, etc.? I reply: your best bet is
to ignore the posts. Killfile me if you must.

Martin DeMello

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 5:12:59 AM8/20/03
to
Brandon J. Van Every <vane...@3dprogrammer.com> wrote:
>
> You have proven that comp.lang.ruby is no better than the Usenet average as
> far as welcomingness. It sure didn't take me long, it sure didn't take much

[...]

> Right, you can speak for how everyone reacts to everything. Couldn't
> possibly be a matter of your personal taste or subjectivity.

Pick any one :)

And speaking of personal taste and subjectivity, that *is* a large part
of choosing a programming language. A lot of people have gathered around
ruby not just because of its power, cleanness and expressivity, but
because it fits naturally with their subjective notions of what
constitute an elegant language.

And, most damning of all, the resulting code was ugly--this matters.
Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more
liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans
(especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to
our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that
makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code.

-- Eric S. Raymond, "Why Python?"

martin



Dan Doel

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 5:15:51 AM8/20/03
to

Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

>>The Master said: "The noble-minded worry about their lack of ability,
>>not about people's failure to recognize their ability."
>>
>>Confucius, The Analects, XV, 19
>>
>>
>
>Then IIUYC, you think using Ruby is about "nobility." Personally, I'm not
>shopping for a noble language, I'm shopping for a useful one. In my world
>view, and that of a lot of other people, deployment is part of utility.
>

I think more correctly: Use Ruby (or don't) because it's a good
language (or isn't). Don't worry about
whether other people use it. But maybe I'm misinterpreting.

>>>What is Ruby's future?
>>>
>>>
>>Standing beside a river, the Master said: "Everythin passes away like
>>this, day and night, never resting."
>>
>>Confucius, The Analects, IX, 17
>>
>>
>
>IIUYC, you use Ruby as a temporary expedient? You aren't interested in
>whether it lasts 1 year or 5 years or 20 years, you'll just do something
>else when it's time to move on? And by corollary, you don't care if
>investments in worker training or IP are not leveraged over a sufficient
>number of years? You figure, eh, write it over, write something else?
>
>

Maybe: Use Ruby now because it's good now. If something better comes
along and supplants it, use that.
It's hard to tell what will happen very far in the future. If you get
some big marketing behind stuff like with,
say, Java, you get some stability, but who's to say that Java will be
around in 1, 5 or 20 years.

And, learning a new language is always beneficial. Different languages
do certain things in different ways,
and learning the quirks of an individual language can help you apply
those techniques to other languages
in which they aren't exactly standard (like, say, writing C in a more
object oriented style, or using
functional paradigms in Ruby). The benefits aren't always simply, "Will
my coders be able to code in this
in 5 years?"

> I think you define "informed view" according to your own prejudices. It
>
>sounds like you're saying, "Well, if you front all this labor to get into
>Ruby, well of course by then you're gonna love it!" What about people who
>start down that road, but abandon it? Why are they not "informed?" Maybe
>they abandon it because they discover some roadblock right away, that
>obviates any need for further inquiry? Maybe they're not unintelligent or
>lazy or insufficiently dedicated to programming as a lifestyle. Maybe
>they're just really good at doing language product evaluations to meet their
>industrial needs.
>

I think what he means is, if you can't use it at work, and you don't use
it at home, how can you really
know anything about the language? Sure, you can read through a basic
syntax description of ruby
in an afternoon maybe, but it takes longer to get the feel for a language.

When I was first learning Java, it was difficult to figure out why OO
principles are useful. It takes more
than reading, "This is how you do this. You must do these things,
because they're OO," to understand
object oriented programming. It takes working with and
building/designing object oriented systems to
understand _why_ you would want to do such a thing. The same thing
applies to learning a language.
Each language has a unique way of doing certain things, and it takes
time to understand why you might
want to do them that way. Simply saying, "Because that's how you do
them." isn't enough.

And since you're asking "Why use Ruby?" how can someone who hasn't
really used the language in
any depth answer that question?

- Dan


Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 5:37:22 AM8/20/03
to
I can't quite match the subject line in practice, because inevitably I'm
only going to ask questions of subjective interest to me.

Martin DeMello wrote:
> Brandon J. Van Every <vane...@3dprogrammer.com> wrote:
>

>> I'll turn the question back to you. Are you personally willing to
>> assess the pros and cons of Ruby objectively? Although you may have
>> already answered, since you said you're tired of the talking.
>

> Here's an idea - why not post a series of "how do I do #{foo} in
> ruby?" questions, and let the answers show you if it's a language
> you'd enjoy working in?

It's a good suggestion, in general. Truthfully though, I am not the kind of
person who makes language decisions on this basis. I don't "enjoy"
languages or "play" with them. I consider all languages to be In The Way
[TM]. With the possible exception of English, which I'm pretty fluent and
verbose with. For the most part I dislike programming, it is the results of
programming that I value. Even then, I do not value any old program, they
need to achieve certain things. Like Art. Or Entertainment.

From what I've read, and what people have said, I suspect that the Ruby
community has a huge contingent of people who simply enjoy tinkering with
Ruby. They are awash in its expressive power. This is probably great for
them, but I'm not at all convinced it's relevant to me. I've never
programmed anything "truly exotic" in my life. Everything I've ever done
has been pretty low level ASM grunge. Even if it hasn't been ASM, it's been
over-optimized. I'm tired of it, that's why I'm looking around for a
different paradigm. But I think it's probably going to be awhile before I
know or care what the difference between dynamism in Python and Ruby is.
Maybe I'll figure out how C# is deficient sooner, but even there I have my
doubts.

So what do I need to know about Ruby that I haven't learned already? Well,
I'd like to know how appropriate people think it is as a systems programming
language. Someone else said, scripting is good, embedded is bad. What
about huge honking piles of code? What happens as you scale up?

I'd also like to know, how much Ruby aficionados care about growth and
promulgating the language. Do you have, for instance, any working groups
dedicated to the marketing of Ruby? Or is your community not that
specialized yet, or even interested in that yet?

Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 5:38:28 AM8/20/03
to

Thanks!

Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:03:53 AM8/20/03
to
Dan Doel wrote:
>
> I'd also imagine that these two weeks aren't particularly unique in
> this, so you can imagine that people get tired of it. [...]

> I imagine that it would be much better received if
> people would search the archives for threads such as this

Well, you have some social engineering choices to make here.

1) start a moderated newsgroup, which proscribes certain discussion.
2) accept that this is an ummoderated newsgroup
a) just ignore what you don't want to participate in
b) exhort people that they shouldn't participate in such-and-such, for
"the community good"

(2) (b) never gets you want you want, always generates heat rather than
light, and always makes people dislike each other. It's a dysfunction: it's
people saying over and over again "I WANT CONTROL!" when the reality is they
don't have control. It's identical to most political debates about "moral"
issues, or bad parenting. People fixate on what they want to have happen,
rather than what's going to happen. So they implement dysfunctional
policies that don't get them what they want. They iterate in endless loops
because they lack imagination.

(2) (b) also has a really bad effect on community growth. Some people think
their favorite language communities should not grow. Personally, I think
such people are The Enemy Of Progress [TM]. That's my politics. Why?
Because I think progress requires relevance, and relevance cannot be
achieved without growth. If, over the years, only a tiny number of people
use a language, then that language really isn't that good. Languages have
to survive and prove themselves in the free marketplace. Languages, to me,
are an utterly pragmatic proposition, and the strong ones survive and
thrive.

Personally I'm a huge fan of (1). I co-moderate a game design mailing list,
and I've attempted to bring comp.games.development.design.moderated into
existence. Moderation is the best way to enforce particular mores, such as
civility or topicality. The problem is, it's often prohibitively difficult
to get people on Usenet to agree to the mores. I certainly failed to get
c.g.d.d.m going! I couldn't handle it politically, and my partner couldn't
handle the technical side of things, it was prohibitive to set up. Fair
warning to you: if you think you ever want a moderated newsgroup, create it
*now* while your community is still cohesive. Once you've got a polyglot
society, it's pouring blood on the table to get it done.

> Perhaps his humor was in bad taste, but I'm sure you can imagine that
> while discussion of other languages
> and their strengths and weaknesses compared to ruby is not frowned
> upon by any means, Python is a
> frequently mentioned example, and there is little chance that many new
> insights will come from the same
> people discussing the same topics about the same languages (at least
> until the next major revision of
> Python is fleshed out and any radical new features are announced).

Well frankly, the Ruby FAQ is out of date on several points of comparison as
far as Python people are concerned. Don't bother to ask me which ones, I
can't remember. The important point that I recalled from discussion, is
Python isn't as backwards as the Ruby FAQ would have you believe. It keeps
improving and a lot of the issues go away over time. So I'm not inclined to
trust anyone's archival information. Archives go stale too quickly. I
believe in getting some impressions from people on the ground.

Robert Feldt

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:17:42 AM8/20/03
to
Brandon J. Van Every <vane...@3DProgrammer.com> skrev den Wed, 20 Aug 2003
18:47:50 +0900:

> So what do I need to know about Ruby that I haven't learned already?
> Well,
> I'd like to know how appropriate people think it is as a systems
> programming
> language. Someone else said, scripting is good, embedded is bad. What
> about huge honking piles of code? What happens as you scale up?
>

I don't really have experience from scaling up much but to 5-10k
projects my experience is positive. No real surprises or changes from
scripts/
100-1k projects. But I guess you mean in the 100k+ range and I doubt you
will find much experience there when it comes to Ruby. I'm a bit at a loss
as to what kind
of real differences you expect to find compared to Python or even Java for
that
matter. IMHO, as things grow the design (independent of implementation
language) and your process (lots of executable tests etc) is likely to be
more important
than the language (even though Ruby tends to help me design better and have
lots
of tests compared to other languages I've used).

Dave Thomas reported some positive experience with something like
(not really sure if it was that large) a 20k project he developed in a
summer.
I'm sure you can google for a link...

> I'd also like to know, how much Ruby aficionados care about growth and
> promulgating the language. Do you have, for instance, any working groups
> dedicated to the marketing of Ruby? Or is your community not that
> specialized yet, or even interested in that yet?
>

I'd say we're generally the build-it-and-they-will-come, i-like-it-and-
thats-enough or a-mans-skills-with-his-swords-is-his-own-responsibility
camps. ;)

Regards,

Robert Feldt

Gawnsoft

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:33:46 AM8/20/03
to
On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 23:04:03 -0700, "Brandon J. Van Every"
<vane...@3DProgrammer.com> wrote (more or less):

>Sean O'Dell wrote:
[snip]

>> The people who code at work and are locked-in to some language and
>> don't enjoy programming enough to do it in their off-time are people
>> who, I think, will have little insight to offer. Their lack of input
>> about Ruby can be safely ignored. =)
>
>To be honest I find that a bizarre prejudice. People have to program both
>at work and in their leisure time to have relevant opinions?

Re-read Sean's post and I expect you'll find that is a poor summary of
what he said.

I think you'll find he meant that if they programme only in X at work,
and do not programme at home, then their viewpoint on Y 'can be safely
ignored'


Cheers,
Euan
Gawnsoft: http://www.gawnsoft.co.sr
Symbian/Epoc wiki: http://html.dnsalias.net:1122
Smalltalk links (harvested from comp.lang.smalltalk) http://html.dnsalias.net/gawnsoft/smalltalk

Brandon J. Van Every

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:34:51 AM8/20/03
to
Dan Doel wrote:
> Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
>
>>> The Master said: "The noble-minded worry about their lack of
>>> ability, not about people's failure to recognize their ability."
>>>
>>> Confucius, The Analects, XV, 19
>>>
>>
>> Then IIUYC, you think using Ruby is about "nobility." Personally,
>> I'm not shopping for a noble language, I'm shopping for a useful
>> one. In my world view, and that of a lot of other people,
>> deployment is part of utility.
>>
> I think more correctly: Use Ruby (or don't) because it's a good
> language (or isn't). Don't worry about
> whether other people use it. But maybe I'm misinterpreting.

Of course, my view is, you *should* worry about whether other people use a
language. It affects the monetary value of your skills, the amount of your
life you spend retraining, the amount of industrial support you get for your
programming efforts, the availability and cost of good tools, etc. To a lot
of us, disappearing into your own corner to program is not real world.

> Maybe: Use Ruby now because it's good now. If something better comes
> along and supplants it, use that.
> It's hard to tell what will happen very far in the future. If you get
> some big marketing behind stuff like with,
> say, Java, you get some stability, but who's to say that Java will be
> around in 1, 5 or 20 years.

Pointedly: does Ruby have enough critical mass to survive? By way of
comparision, the survival of Python is assured. But in the face of Java and
C# mindshare, vitality is not assured. Survival, but stagnantion, is an all
too realistic scenario. The problem is, when the rest of the world thinks
it should be programming in something else, the talent goes there.

> And, learning a new language is always beneficial.

No it is not. Learning a new language is a time sink, and time sinks are
*never* a priori beneficial. They have to be justified somehow.

> I think what he means is, if you can't use it at work, and you don't
> use it at home, how can you really know anything about the language?

You can know some things about its user base. What the advantages are
perceived to be. What problems they tend to tackle and have tackled
successfully. What jobs the language is acknowledged to be bad at. What
tools and libraries they have available. What the job market is. And above
all, the degree to which the language has survived baptism by fire. I know
an awful lot about the industrial trajectory of Python, for someone who
still hasn't coded a line of it.

> When I was first learning Java, it was difficult to figure out why OO
> principles are useful.

Well I cut teeth on C++ so OO was no big whoop to me. I read OO books, did
OO things, even though I was always working on low-level problems.

Java never interested me as a language. It was a "web thing." It didn't
have anything to say about 3D graphics. It promised the moon on
portability. I decided to sit back and wait, until someone could show me
why I should care. That day never came. Recently, I've realized that
languages without garbage collection are a complete waste of time. (*That's*
the point where the Ruby FAQ is wrong about Python, now I remember.
IIRTFAQC.) Plus modern computers can handle it from a performance
standpoint, if you're not stupid. So I'm moving on from C++. I'm going to
be more productive and less efficient. But friends I trust tell me Java is
boring. They like Python. Game developers use Python for real stuff, not
Java. And people who know about Python know about Ruby. That's why I'm
here. Meanwhile, there's C# and .NET, which seem awfully pragmatic coming
from a C++ background. Java made its pitch for my mindshare and will likely
never get me.

Lothar Scholz

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:25:52 AM8/20/03
to
>Pythonistas go to Ruby Heaven when they die. :-) Where do Rubicons go?

They go to Mynamar (former called Burma). This is the true heavon for
Rubies and Dictators. But the hell for all other life forms.

---
P.S.: maybe you don't now but Mynamar is the worlds largest ruby
exporting country and the one from where you can get the finest and
most expensive rubys in the world.

Dan Doel

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:32:31 AM8/20/03
to
This line of discussion is getting a little off-topic from the main
thread, so we should probably
stop soon, but:

I wasn't complaining for myself, merely pointing out a (perhaps the)
reason for his reaction.
I don't think you can legitimately take it as the general mood for this
mailing-list. It is very
accepting and open in general, even as far as discussions of other
langauges go. It's merely
that this topic is debated quite often (probably more often than any
other topic), as well as
prone to devolving into holy wars of sorts, so it's little surprise that
some are unhappy when
it comes up yet again.

I agree that you can just ignore the thread entirely. I personally feel
bad doing that because
then I don't know if I can contribute or learn anything from it.

As for archival information, I'm not suggesting the Ruby FAQ, as I'm
sure you're correct
that it's out of date (especially since Python just came out with a new
version a month ago,
and updating the Python information on the Ruby site probably isn't a
high priority :)). I
was suggesting more along the lines of going to ruby-talk.org and
scanning through the
posts from the past couple months. The new features of Python were
known quite a bit
before they actually came out, so I'm sure there's lots of discussions
on those new
features as they relate to Ruby. I'm also sure you'll find information
relating to your
original questions as well, whether you're looking for questions of
language elegance
(which in ruby, practical terms often translates to speed of
development), or
performance. I doubt whether such information has become totally out of
date in two
months (although ruby 1.8.0 might change the performance question, since
it got faster,
but I doubt that will matter in the end).

- Dan


Mauricio Fernández

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 6:54:10 AM8/20/03
to
On Wed, Aug 20, 2003 at 07:28:09PM +0900, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
> > And, learning a new language is always beneficial.
>
> No it is not. Learning a new language is a time sink, and time sinks are
> *never* a priori beneficial. They have to be justified somehow.

Pragmatic side:

Unless the language is total crap, you will normally find new concepts
and ideas there that can change the way you work, and make you more
productive even if you stay with the tools at hand. This is one common
justification.

Fun side:

Learning languages is fun, I'd do it even if it were useless.


--
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| |_) | (_| | |_\__ \ | | | | | (_| | | | |
|_.__/ \__,_|\__|___/_| |_| |_|\__,_|_| |_|
Running Debian GNU/Linux Sid (unstable)
batsman dot geo at yahoo dot com

The only other people who might benefit from Linux8086 would be owners
of PDP/11's and other roomsized computers from the same era.
-- Alan Cox

Hugh Sasse Staff Elec Eng

unread,
Aug 20, 2003, 8:09:53 AM8/20/03
to
On Wed, 20 Aug 2003, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

>
> Of course, my view is, you *should* worry about whether other people use a
> language. It affects the monetary value of your skills, the amount of your

More languages improves that monetary value.

> life you spend retrai