[Fsf Education] Programming Languages

Ramakrishnan M gnu@vsnl.net
30 Oct 2002 23:26:16 -0500

 || On Wed, 30 Oct 2002 20:16:31 +0530
 || Raju Mathur <raju@linux-delhi.org> wrote: 

 rm> I'd say Python.  Even though I personally prefer Perl for my own
 rm> programming, I appreciate that it takes some getting used to.  Python

The original topic was "Which language should students on Kerala learn" ? 

Arun, hope you did not miss out any other word from this, which can quite
alter the topic. The word is "first". :-) 

First of all, I don't think learning (one) "language" as a recipe for every
programming problem is a nice idea. People program computers (which itself has
a vague definition now a days) for different purposes. I do signal processing
using computers (which does not include any form of input from humans). Using
Perl or Python or Lisp for that purpose is ridiculous. We are talking about
micro-seconds of processing times. The average amount of "high level language"
(which sadly include C and only C most of the time) in the sort of programs
we do is roughly 5% (in terms of program memory, and number of instructions
..yes we talk of program memory and *not* number of lines).

Yes, school students of Kerala do not to Signal Processing, but I was just
trying to give an example that learning and using "one programming language"
as a recipe for all problems is a plain bad idea.

So may be you might want to re-phrase the original post.

 rm> is easy to learn and brings out OO concepts in a nice fashion.  It
 rm> still uses whitespace as syntax, but one can't have everything :-)

OO concepts ?? For school students of Kerala (assuming students implies school
students) ?? What more are they supposed to learn ?

Let's first list the requirements first and then debate the rest. Again, the 
phrase in the original post is a bit vague... 

I believe, one should use different language for different purposes. There is
no one stop programming language for any given problem. That's the reason
why we have so many languages + some cracks decided to remove brackets and 
decided to use white spaces instead and thus enforce the use of an intelligent

 rm> The students can move to Perl once they have some experience under
 rm> their belts and are ready for a language that Takes Off Its Shirt and
 rm> Gets To Work ;-)

And make everyone's life difficult by writing write-only programs, use same
variables in all possible name spaces and do all sort of funky stuff.

They will all end up as bad programmers in their later life... :-)

    Ramakrishnan M         (http://www.hackGNU.org/)
    Use Free Software          (http://www.gnu.org/)