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Why I hate (programming language) advocacy [2000] (perl.com)
38 points by j_baker on Feb 5, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

Money quote:

> Apparently it was inconceivable that there might be two right ways to do something.

And he's speaking to a Perl audience.

I think that tribalism is a pretty good term to describe the phenomenon. When you start taking something as part of your identity (be it programming languages or sports teams or bands), you wrap your ego up in it. The result is that every statement about your tribe, or another tribe, becomes a value statement, regardless of how objective it should be.

To make matters worse, us nerds have been confusing value and identity ever since we were shown objects. Bah-dom-bom.

I remember first reading this not long after it was originally written. This article made a significant impact on me, and contributed significantly to my maturation as a programmer.

I thought then (and still believe today) that the basic gist of this piece applies to a broad range of topics. People can get tribalistic and territorial about just about anything, software and sports don't even scratch the surface.

Also, Perl sucks.

I'm guessing from the down-votes that folks have taken my "Perl sucks" comment at face value. (Or maybe they just don't think I'm funny, which puts them in good company; my girlfriend doesn't think I'm very funny either.)

I suppose the joke would have been more obvious if I had added something along the lines of Python FTW SUCKAS! ;) :D ;).

They're modding you down because they're perl advocates. :)

Implying that Python FTW SUCKAS! ;) :D ;) would have been upvoted more than what you posted is IMHO quite insulting to HN posters.

It has its up and downs, but overall HN is a bit more serious than Reddit & friends. Humour will only get voted up if it's somewhat original/clever.

(I realize--hope?--that everyone else has moved on from this thread.)

"what you posted is IMHO quite insulting to HN posters"

If it is insulting even with my comment just above that praising an article that itself criticizes the very kind of tribalistic behavior I was ironically exhibiting, then maybe more of those voting should have read the article itself and taken its message to heart.

This is a nice article. I've felt like there's been too much language advocacy and (inevitably) bashing on HN recently. And it's direct, too, not just incorrectly inferred. (As the Perl guy in the beginning of the article did when the author spoke about ML.)

>I don't want to be stuck with Perl 5.6.0 for the next ten years either.

Golden quote :)

Very nice article by the way. Sums up a lot of things in a concise and reasonable way. It truely applies to lots of people

One interesting point: it talks about Perl 6. And it was written in 2000....

I didn't realize it's been in the works for that long.

The original Perl 6 announcement occurred a few months after the Python 3000 announcement.

Yup. It's changed design pretty drastically in that time, though. Now it takes a lot more from Haskell than it used to, for instance.

It also includes support for computations on quantum superpositions of multiple values! Truly, it is ahead of its time.

As a long-time Rubyist, I find this kind of stuff... well, stupid. Python has some bits that I really wish we had in Rubyland, things like sane namespaces and the massive pile of libraries. Being able to pluck from SciPy for doing numerical analysis is an amazing boon, and outside of Python, I can't think of a single language that provides the same set of mathematical tools that you get from SciPy.

At the same time, I don't like syntactic whitespace, or the 'only one way to do things' philosophy, and I prefer Ruby's more functionally-oriented approach (e.g., blocks) to Python's more procedural feel. But these are just personal preferences, not objective reasons to choose Ruby over Python.

Trying to ask 'which is better' is pointless; they're both very good dynamic languages, and you should use whichever you prefer.

Ahem...that's a humor web site...

I downvoted it as well. Not because it's trolling or anything like that. I downvoted it because, well, it just isn't very funny. This is the third page like that I've seen this week.

Downvoting a humor site because it isn't funny...that makes sense. :) Here's an upvote. :)

The Python and Ruby communities deserve better.

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