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Open Source Languages Rumble At OSCON

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the fairest-of-them-all dept.

Programming 197

blackbearnh writes "Everybody knows what the best programming language is, it's whatever one you like the most. But is there a best language overall? Or even a best language for a given purpose? This question has been debated since the first time there were two languages to choose from. The argument is still going on, of course, but maybe a little light will be shed on the issue this week at OSCON. On Wednesday night at 7PM Pacific, representatives of the 5 major open source languages (perl, PHP, Python, Java and Ruby), as arbitrarily decided by O'Reilly, will meet to debate the merits of their various languages. If you're not going to be at OSCON, you can watch it live on a webcast and pose questions or comments to the participants. The representatives are: Python: Alex Martelli, Google; Ruby: Brian Ford, Engine Yard; PHP: Laura Thomson, Mozilla; Perl: Jim Brandt, Perl Foundation; Java: Rod Johnson, SpringSource."

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Open Sores (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774123)

My God - it's full of puss!

Mod -1 bad timing (0, Offtopic)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#28774153)

The article about the planet with the giant red spot near Uranus was earlier this week. Get with the program.

The language of fists, knives, and guns? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#28774141)

Just reading the title that's the only obvious conclusion!

Re:The language of fists, knives, and guns? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774763)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the answer is Malbolge. [wikipedia.org]

Re:The language of fists, knives, and guns? (1, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 5 years ago | (#28775011)

I have said it before and I'll say it again, the one true language is....VB6! After all, what other language is there that you can not only write programs in, but also cause wonderful facial ticks in "real programmers" and fill their hearts with dread? Hey, real programmers? How would you like to debug a VB6 app, with no comments and lots and lots of GOTOs? BWA Ha Ha Ha Ha!

See? Only VB6 can give you a functional app with the added bonus of nightmares for the snooty real programmers. And when joined with the power of Microsoft Access, especially the really old ones like Access 2k, it helps to break their spirit, which keeps costs down due to the fact the programmers are too broken and depressed to ask for raises. It is the gift that keeps on giving!

So do your part to destroy a programmers will to live, deploy a VB6 app today! Its good for America!

Mod parent... uh... (2, Insightful)

HiggsBison (678319) | about 5 years ago | (#28775121)

So do your part to destroy a programmers will to live, deploy a VB6 app today!

What we need is a "Scary" mod.

debate rules (5, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 5 years ago | (#28774161)

OSCON organizers have stated that the language debate won't be considered finished until at least one of the languages is compared to Hitler and/or the Nazis.

Re:debate rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774207)

Also, participants are advised to bring their flamethrowers and an extra can of napalm.

Re:debate rules (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28775417)

Well, of course, you would need the flame to kill all of the TROLLS...
(or maybe bring some acid?)

Re:debate rules (1)

Djupblue (780563) | about 5 years ago | (#28775363)

Considering the only people motivated enough to participate in such an apparent flame-fest are going to the people who lives in the illusion that their favorite language really is the best. Therefore if they can only come up with good enough arguments the others will finally understand and be enlightened. Of course they will be frustrated when the others don't listen properly and instead tries to argue for their painfully sub-standard choice. So in more and more desperate attempts to break through they will use increasingly more provocative arguments quickly deteriorating the whole mess in minutes. They wont last an hour.

Re:debate rules (3, Funny)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 5 years ago | (#28775487)

Every time an online discussion resorts to a Hitler analogy, God wins!

what does open mean? (4, Insightful)

at10u8 (179705) | about 5 years ago | (#28774165)

When did C lose its status as an open source language? or do we mean languages for web apps?

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 5 years ago | (#28774195)

When did it get that status?

Re:what does open mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774727)

Probably when every other language used it to implement that language?

When we all use Python/Perl/Ruby/Java/whatever-the-other-one-was to implement the next 'best' language, and regate C to being some bastard child of Assembly, and C++ to being the spawn of satan's Assembler, then we can talk about them being the best language.

Re:what does open mean? (3, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 5 years ago | (#28776463)

I'll consider C a 'bastard child of assembly' as soon as I can reliably emit arbitrary opcodes (rotate through carry instructions, for instance) without using proprietary extensions.

The popularity of C is interresting (thank you K&R), the reason for its development is interresting (thank you AT&T), but it is not a low level language. Its a mid to high level language whos programmers incorrectly label as low level, in what I guess is some desparate attempt to make themselves feel superior.

Its low level only in terms of the abstract machine it targets, which barely touches the surface of any actual instruction sets. This abstract machine is sufficient enough to design and implement rudimentary operating systems (with proper machine-specific extensions), but that just aint low level. The low level bits *are* the machine-specific extensions, and that just aint C.

Re:what does open mean? (2, Informative)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 5 years ago | (#28774275)

It looks to me like they mean "high level" languages... the sort that allow you to deal with arbitrarily complex datastructures without burdening the programmer with the manual management of memory allocation and pointers.

Perl barely qualifies for this category (no pointers, but "references"), yet it was one of the first high level languages, so it should get some respect.

Re:what does open mean? (3, Informative)

hardburn (141468) | about 5 years ago | (#28774383)

. . . yet it was one of the first high level languages . . .

Missed it by a few decades. LISP was arguably the first high level language. You could also make a case for COBOL.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 5 years ago | (#28775219)

I don't know too much about LISP. Why do you think it failed to catch on the way these other languages did? If it has modern data structure capabilities, it must be lacking in some other way...

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Phantom of the Opera (1867) | about 5 years ago | (#28775309)

I don't know too much about LISP. Why do you think it failed to catch on the way these other languages did? If it has modern data structure capabilities, it must be lacking in some other way...

Thinking in doubly recursive execution paths is a rare skill/ability.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28775447)

Personally I think people just got tired of counting parentheses...

Re:what does open mean? (1)

hardburn (141468) | about 5 years ago | (#28776101)

I'm not convinced of that. It's just that most programmers start with a language the lends itself to iteration rather than recursion. Since most languages in common use also prefer iteration, any given programmer rarely has an incentive to learn to think in terms of recursion.

I don't think that's necessarily intellectually lazy, either. Almost any major language has enough little niches that you can spend a lifetime learning them all. It just depends on if you want to be generalist or a specialist.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

hardburn (141468) | about 5 years ago | (#28776061)

Partially because it was too early for its time (particularly the speed for convenience tradeoff), partially because of infighting between different LISP camps, and finally because once those two issues were resolved, other languages had emerged that took the same ideas further (like OCaml and Haskell).

Re:what does open mean? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 years ago | (#28776075)

For almost sixty years it has been driving computer science and language design. There have been literally dozen of Lisps ranging from the Lisp machines of the 70s, to the major software of the 80's: Autolisp, Emacs. Logo is still taught to millions. Many of the idea of LISP are in Ruby, Haskell which is arguably the big "next idea" is a ML / Lisp half breed.

I'd say it has been successful.

Re:what does open mean? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28776387)

I don't know too much about LISP. Why do you think it failed to catch on the way these other languages did? If it has modern data structure capabilities, it must be lacking in some other way...

Lisp was much slower and more memory-hungry than Fortran and C, back when that made a ton of difference. Also, according to a famous essay, development of Lisp was very slow because its developers wanted it to be "right" (i.e., "perfect"), whereas the developers of C were mostly concerned with getting something that was "good enough for now," never mind the ugly warts. This lead to a proliferation of C programmers who tended to be biased in favor of C's syntax (Perl, C++, Java).

These days, Lisp's biggest drawback, at least for Windows development, is that there's no good, free Lisp compiler for Windows. They're either toys, free but you have to use Cygwin or similar, or commercial. Contrast with Java, Perl, Python, and (I assume) Ruby, which all have free interpreters/compilers for Windows. Java even has a couple of really good, free IDEs. (Even C has some good, free Windows-based compilers, like Open Watcom.)

I can still remember reading one Lisper's rant on Usenet many years ago about the lack of free Windows Lisp options. His argument was basically that, since Windows itself isn't free, no one should expect that any software written for it should be free. He was really nasty about it, but his opinion seems to be shared by much of the Lisp community.

On the other hand, some guy is building a Lisp dialect on top of the Java VM. It's called Clojure, and looks pretty promising: A Lisp-alike that gives easy access to Java's gigantic library could be just the thing to rekindle interest in the language.

Re:what does open mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28776409)

It's lacking in popularity. Popularity means better libraries, more job opportunities, easier filling of positions. Catch-22; but LISP is one of the finest languages ever invented.

"Lisp [...] is the only computer language that is beautiful" -- Neal Stephenson

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Hythlodaeus (411441) | about 5 years ago | (#28774893)

It looks to me like they mean "high level" languages... the sort that allow you to deal with arbitrarily complex datastructures without burdening the programmer with the manual management of memory allocation and pointers.

Okay, I'll grant you that criticism against C, but then why wasn't C++/Boost invited to the table? Only interpreted/VM languages? Then why wasn't C++/Boost/LLVM invited? Almost any paradigm you care to program can be realized in C++, the only difference is the bookeeping is hidden in the libraries instead of in the interpreter. It can be hidden, though with syntactic sugar as easy as anything else in the wild. The only thing missing is perfect function forwarding, which is expected in the next major spec.

Re:what does open mean? (2, Informative)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28775401)

I'm assuming that they meant "dynamic languages", which is relatively difficult to define as well. Is Java technically "dynamic"? (I honestly don't know how to answer that, BTW)

Java is definitely the exception, however: static-typing, and the requirement to compile to bytecode. Also, Java is the only language here that's suitable for math-oriented programming, the rest of the languages are primarily used to handle text and/or manage data-structures that contain strings as their edge(leaf?) nodes.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about 5 years ago | (#28774947)

It looks to me like they mean "high level" languages... the sort that allow you to deal with arbitrarily complex datastructures without burdening the programmer with the manual management of memory allocation and pointers.

Like awk, for example. Since gawk implemented direct socket I/O a few years ago it's been one of the best high level languages around.

Perl barely qualifies for this category (no pointers, but "references"), yet it was one of the first high level languages, so it should get some respect.

I think you left out the words "thousand or so" between first and high level. ;)

Re:what does open mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774331)

In the embedded world (which is getting increasingly open source), C is best and only real option. C is never going away. C is what powers your anti-lock breaks and keeps your planes flying.

And embedded is the best to program for ...none of those damn users that make normal programming suck.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 5 years ago | (#28774851)

Uhm, in non-trivial slice of your examples that would be not C, but Ada.

Re:what does open mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28775749)

Ada was a requirement in several defense applications for a long time. It was never adopted to any significant degree in the commercial sector.
No new development ever starts with Ada anymore. Even man-rated DO-178B compliant systems are done in C and C++ now.

Further, unlike the 250 billion lines of cobol running in the world, embedded systems tend to be small and it is often easier to migrate away from ada than to try and still find programmers than are competent at the language. Especially because the hardware and software are so closely tied together and the hardware becomes obsolete pretty quickly.

Working in software in the aerospace and safety critical software area, I have yet to see any new project start using Ada. The only Ada development I have seen is to support older programs (80's and early 90's).

Interesting side note:
This is ironic because Ada was chosen by the military because it would be easier to validate the code was bug free and was forced on the prime contractors. The prime contractors do not have any liability for their military contracts, so if an F16 crashes, the military does not sue the contractor. That is not true for commercial contracts. Despite significantly increased liability for creating software bugs, the prime contractors still mostly chose to use C and C++ rather than Ada

Re:what does open mean? (0, Offtopic)

bertoelcon (1557907) | about 5 years ago | (#28775475)

C is what powers your anti-lock breaks.

What are anti-lock breaks?

Code breaks that don't stop the code from running?

Or is it like breaking into an unlocked car?

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 5 years ago | (#28774525)

When you CLOSED the last parenthesis of your C code and realized that no one could follow your programming but you, even when you formatted it perfectly.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

TypoNAM (695420) | about 5 years ago | (#28775003)

When you CLOSED the last parenthesis of your C code and realized that no one could follow your programming but you, even when you formatted it perfectly.

It sounds like you've confused C with Lisp. Not to mention it isn't limited to just C that it can get difficult to follow along in source code and I'm not sure why you've singled it out since Java and C# are heavily biased in design by C (and C++ on top of that) and aren't any easier to understand, nor is Ruby, Python, Visual Basic (the original, not the .NET variant), Pascal, etc..

Re:what does open mean? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28775569)

When you say "easier to understand", do you mean "easier to read" or "easier to learn"? I guess that readability is in the "eye of the beholder", but really when you get to Python and Ruby they're almost *objectively* easier to read. With Python, you almost don't have to know the language to understand a program, it practically looks like pseudo-code (being loosely based on ABC, which is as pseudo as you can get).

Re:what does open mean? (1)

chromatic (9471) | about 5 years ago | (#28775771)

With Python, you almost don't have to know the language to understand a program....

I hope you intended that as satire.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28775981)

I hope you intended that as satire.

You can *force* any language to appear unreadable. I'm talking about a program that was written by a competent programmer. Compare a random Python script with a random Perl script. Are you actually saying there's no difference in readability?

Re:what does open mean? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 5 years ago | (#28776597)

By "read" do you mean read aloud?

Beyond that, I think the most you can say is that Python seems more approachable due to its relatively simplistic syntax. That doesn't translate to "readability" in terms of understanding the code though. Picking up on syntactical conventions is a fairly superficial aspect of learning to read code.

Re:what does open mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28775103)

If you don't think bizarre unreadable code doesn't get written in Python, Ruby or [insert trendy language of the month here] then you have not seen a lot of code written in those languages. The true sign of an incompetent programmer is one that blames the language. Here's a clue: if you cannot write working, readable code in C, then you are not going to be able to write working, readable code in Ruby or Python because you are a poor programmer. Modern languages save a good programmer's time, but they do NOTHING for bad programmers except give them another check mark for their bullshit resume.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

cube135 (1231528) | about 5 years ago | (#28775491)

What about Perl?

Re:what does open mean? (1)

lolwhat (1282234) | about 5 years ago | (#28775769)

He is obviously a perl programmer, since his post is the standard perl defense when people complain about its syntax.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

cube135 (1231528) | about 5 years ago | (#28775871)

That's why I asked about Perl. I was expecting it. And was confused when I didn't see it mentioned.

Re:what does open mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28776269)

And your response is the standard defence of shitty programmers who think maybe a new language will prevent them from having to learn how actual memory allocation works.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

DerWulf (782458) | about 5 years ago | (#28776591)

"How it works" ... that's lunacy ... I know full well HOW it works it's just that doing manual memory allocation is beneath me. Sort of like how I know how to clean the office yet it's not the best use of my time. C guys always acting like malloc() is rocket science when in actuality it's the sort of mindless book keeping that any programmer worth a damn (and any human being with a shred of self worth, actually) will avoid like the plague.

Re:what does open mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28775661)

I f you can't read C code, you basically suck as a programmer and ought to change your major to music or something. It's not like it's hard or anything.

Re:what does open mean? (1, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 5 years ago | (#28774569)

Maybe they meant languages where the whole stack is Open Source. All the standard software and libraries for those languages is Open Source. There is no standard C compiler, runtime, or library -- only a specification (which is not Open Source or Free) with which to build your own implementation of them.

Re:what does open mean? (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 5 years ago | (#28775463)

Maybe they meant languages where the whole stack is Open Source. All the standard software and libraries for those languages is Open Source. There is no standard C compiler, runtime, or library -- only a specification (which is not Open Source or Free) with which to build your own implementation of them.

Seriously, what the fuck?

There are multiple open source C stacks all the way from the top to the bottom. Compilers: gcc, tcc and llvm. Gnu's libc, the various libc's in BSDs. Uclibc.

The main criticism that you're levelling at C is that it actually has a published standard! None of the other languages do. They have an "official" implementation, but nothing like the rather rigorously specified ISO C standard. And if you don't like the cost of paying for it, then you can download N1124, which was the last draft of the standard just before ratification. It's completely free and very accurate.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | about 5 years ago | (#28776295)

FLAME ON!

The java spec is SIGNIFICANTLY more mathematically sound than the C spec will ever be!

Re:what does open mean? (1)

geniusj (140174) | about 5 years ago | (#28776491)

I can't imagine writing anything in Java that I was thinking of writing in C. If I'm going to write it in C, it's because I want the program to do exactly what I tell it and not play games with me behind the scenes (garbage collection, VM segfaults, VM bugs, etc.) Of course, the kernel is backing it, but I've had far better luck with kernels than I've had with JVMs.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 5 years ago | (#28776515)

Did what I said really come off as criticism or antagonistic? It certainly wasn't meant that way. Is anything I said *wrong*?

I do nearly all my coding in C and C++. There are plenty of things to criticize them on, but having a standard is not one of them. Clearly there are Open Source stacks for C, and clearly Open Source development is possible in C. Nobody is debating that. My only point was that there is no "official" implementation of it.

I can understand them not including C++, because it is a complex beast that not many have the patience or time to get good with. But C is easy -- I doubt they would have had trouble finding someone competent to represent it. So there must be some other reason. That reason is all I was trying to think of.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

blackjackshellac (849713) | about 5 years ago | (#28774853)

Well, if we mean languages for web apps, then surely javascript deserves more focus than java. \

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Draek (916851) | about 5 years ago | (#28774881)

I believe it depends on the public's perception of them. If there's a new implementation of the language out there, is it instantly compared to:

- The language's standard? if so, its an "open language", or "standardized language". Examples are C, Common Lisp, and Javascript.
- A reference open-source implementation? if so, its an "open-source language". Examples are Python, Ruby and Perl.
- A reference closed-source implementation? if so, its a "propietary language" or "closed language". Examples are C#, Visual Basic and Delphi

Arbitrary, stupid, and it leads to unintuitive things such as C# being a "propietary" language despite having both a published, open standard and an open source implementation simply because everyone instantly compares it to the propietary .NET runtime, or Javascript going back and forth between "standardized" and "open-source" depending on the ratio between the "its a published standard" and the "the standard is irrelevant, how it works in Gecko and Webkit is what matters" camps, but thats how its defined, as far as I can see.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28775893)

Javascript going back and forth between "standardized" and "open-source" depending on the ratio between the "its a published standard" and the "the standard is irrelevant, how it works in Gecko and Webkit is what matters" camps

The difference in implementation of JavaScript in browsers is actually minimal. It's the DOM, events, and CSS-related issues that mess things up. If you stick to *just* JavaScript, the worst that could happen is that IE won't have all of the Array methods (which can be filled in using the language). When it comes to implementing ECMAScript, the different browsers conform quite well.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

six11 (579) | about 5 years ago | (#28775841)

When did C lose its status as an open source language? or do we mean languages for web apps?

O'Reilly picked the languages. My guess is it is because these langs are closely associated with their book sales and attendant web sites/blogs.

As for the contest itself... I am glad I don't actually have to endure it. It's just like those old Budweiser ads (tastes great/less filling) modulo the scantily clad women duking it out in a swimming pool.

Re:what does open mean? (2, Funny)

Deanalator (806515) | about 5 years ago | (#28776317)

C is not a major programming language.

Nothing interesting has been done in C since the early 90's, when many of today's top programmers were just learning to walk.

Re:what does open mean? (1)

Jartan (219704) | about 5 years ago | (#28776619)

It's probably a mistake of the submitter. Calling those five "the 5 major" is most likely his own personal bias (ie he's wrong). For the panel it was probably excluded because it's too different than the others.

No C or C++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774185)

Isn't C and C++ open source now? Or at least as open source as Java is?

Re:No C or C++ (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | about 5 years ago | (#28774239)

Isn't C and C++ open source now? Or at least as open source as Java is?

Indeed they are, as a quite a lot of other languages. I suppose they are debating which kid's language is best, really ;)

Not that I care, in my view, *all* languages fall short. And I don't even think my list is unreasonable!

Re:No C or C++ (1)

SanguineV (1197225) | about 5 years ago | (#28774631)

So post your list and let the debate begin!

Re:No C or C++ (3, Interesting)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | about 5 years ago | (#28775117)

I really should write it down. I will forget some points. For each feature, I will list a language that actually implements this feature

  • Static typing, both duck and declared (Much like proposed in C++0x)
  • closures (like ruby, or C++0x). I'll even settle for just anonymous inline functions, but the C++0x standard shows how *easy* closures would be.
  • No "native types", everything an object, including nil, constants and whatever (much like ruby and lots of others)
  • Full range of memory techniques supported, including RAII, scoped, shared, weak, garbage collected. (Lots of examples for each point, but really none for them all)
  • Easy to parse grammar, so that the language is parsable with off-the-shelf parser (Java, ruby and many others). *Admittedly*, the parsers of today seems to be solving this problem even for perl and C++, so maybe it is not so important as it once was.
  • No dependency on a virtual machine, should be able to run on bare iron or not (c++)
  • No unneccessary overhead. Overhead introduced by features must only apply if the features are actually used (C++)
  • Full metaprogramming, including static reflection (e.g., the ability to enumerate over all members of a class. Sorry, I don't have an example for this one, but it does seem so *easy* to extend say C++ to do this.)
  • Sensible error messages (like NOT C++ currently and especially g++. "Expected primary-expression before ;" is just not very helpful, and the template errors are much much worse. Much tied to the aforementioned grammar)
  • C interfaces must be easily callable (e.g., NOT like Java) and for preference, easy export of interfaces to at least C)
  • Full dynamic reflection, perhaps optionally (mostly for test)

I probably forgot a lot, but it's a start, no?

Re:No C or C++ (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 5 years ago | (#28775555)

Sensible error messages (like NOT C++ currently and especially g++. "Expected primary-expression before ;" is just not very helpful, and the template errors are much much worse. Much tied to the aforementioned grammar)

The C++ template error messages aren't tied to the grammar. The template language is turing complete, and the error messages you get are a complete stack trace along with all the data on the entire stack.

Re:No C or C++ (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | about 5 years ago | (#28775557)

Because Intercal is the real winner.

Re:No C or C++ (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 5 years ago | (#28775731)

No, the clear winner is Unlambda. With Shakespeare as a close second (gives a whole new meaning to literate programming!)

My favorite (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 5 years ago | (#28774211)

My favorite language was Z80 ASM. That would be as useful now as a kick stand on a bass boat.

What is an open source language? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774217)

WTF is an open source language?

Are we talking language spec, implementations, libraries, usage in open source apps...

Why were those particular languages picked?

Re:What is an open source language? (3, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | about 5 years ago | (#28774419)

Why were those particular languages picked?

Probably because someone competent and authoritative enough was willing to speak on the languages listed.

Re:What is an open source language? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | about 5 years ago | (#28776555)

Hey! No debate forking!

No C#? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774235)

I guess it wouldn't be a fair competition if they included C#. The rest of them would just concede and go home.

Re:No C#? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28775201)

On Wednesday night at 7PM Pacific, representatives of the 5 major open source languages

If the criteria was "open source", whatever that exactly means in this context, C# definitely wouldn't make it. (No, mono doesn't count)

What the heck is an 'Open Source Language' ? (0, Flamebait)

ivan_w (1115485) | about 5 years ago | (#28774289)

And I'm not going to go into the Open Source vs Free Software debate !

Do they mean : Open specification ?
Or is it : With an Open Source/Free Software implementation ?
Or again : Used to write code that is Open Source/Free Software ?

Because for some or all of these, there are proprietary specifications, there are proprietary implementation and they are used to write proprietary code too..

And yeah.. Why only present those Web oriented languages (although Perl could probably be taken out)..

Looks like large scale trolling to me !

--Ivan

Re:What the heck is an 'Open Source Language' ? (0)

rwa2 (4391) | about 5 years ago | (#28774723)

And yeah.. Why only present those Web oriented languages (although Perl could probably be taken out)..

Not that I've RTFA, but I'll bite...

  • one, they're languages that people are using with corporate backing
  • two, the web and "service oriented architectures" are where a lot of programming is going to take place in the future. You won't have programs running on individual computer systems so much anymore, but rather networked programs talking to other networked programs to get stuff done.
  • PERL was pretty web-oriented, back in the day... Slashdot was all perl at some point. Also I suppose its inclusion might represent or at least bridge to a lot of systems administration scripting languages, like sh, tcsh, maybe even tcl/tk which people wouldn't exactly take seriously for application development nowadays.

Re:What the heck is an 'Open Source Language' ? (1)

jgrahn (181062) | about 5 years ago | (#28775529)

... the web and "service oriented architectures" are where a lot of programming is going to take place in the future. You won't have programs running on individual computer systems so much anymore, but rather networked programs talking to other networked programs to get stuff done.

Also, in the future we will commute to work in Jetsons-style flying cars. I realize it is "in" right now, but it serves no sensible purpose for most programs, (except to lock the user to his service provider).

Re:What the heck is an 'Open Source Language' ? (1)

ivan_w (1115485) | about 5 years ago | (#28776259)

And also.. how in the world can a computer "run" if no program is running ?

--Ivan

Everybody knows what the best programming language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774317)

PHP, of course.

Just do it already. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774325)

Back in college I was working the summer on a forest firefighting crew ("Hotshots") when one evening back at camp two
guys got into an argument over whether Stihl or Husquvarna chainsaws were best. Punches were thrown and the two had to be wrestled apart.

That's what these L1 vs L2 vs Ln arguments all remind me of. Use a for loop or a list comprehension, call free() or let the compiler do it for you,
use '{' or not, does it really matter? - your manager probably wanted the functionality implemented yesterday - just do it using the tool you know best.

Re:Just do it already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774437)

BTW, it's Stihl.

Re:Just do it already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774515)

There are degenerate cases, like Ook!, where you can prove Turing Completeness, but where it's also obvious that nobody should be touching this stuff for serious use. These languages are exceptions (and usually designed specifically to be exceptions), but demonstrate that there is value in choosing one language over another.

Re:Just do it already. (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | about 5 years ago | (#28775111)

Husky, 36" bar, skiptooth chain.

Re:Just do it already. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | about 5 years ago | (#28776583)

Back in college I was working the summer on a forest firefighting crew ("Hotshots") when one evening back at camp two
guys got into an argument over whether Stihl or Husquvarna chainsaws were best. Punches were thrown and the two had to be wrestled apart.

That's what these L1 vs L2 vs Ln arguments all remind me of.

If you worked so much with chainsaws, why don't you write L1 vs L2 vs Log?

That's easy... (1)

Theodore (13524) | about 5 years ago | (#28774389)

It's Fortran...
Except for when it's Cobol...
If it's neither of them, then it's C.
(every language after C is made to ameliorate one of the above three...)

little indeed. (3, Insightful)

N!NJA (1437175) | about 5 years ago | (#28774573)

from TFS (emphasis mine):

The argument is still going on, of course, but maybe a little light will be shed on the issue this week at OSCON. On Wednesday night at 7PM Pacific, representatives of the 5 major open source languages [...]

5 geeks.... 90 minutes.... that will be a very dim light to be shed on such unanimously-agreed subject.

Re:little indeed. (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 5 years ago | (#28775001)

See, I think, having worked with all of those languages, that they all suck, but each sucks in different ways and thus each has their uses. The mistake a lot of folks get into is "This is the language I'm most familiar with, so it's the best language ever".

Of course, the real contest will be the length of the language designers' beard:
http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/tamir/archive/2008/04/28/computer-languages-and-facial-hair-take-two.aspx [microsoft.co.il]

Rod Johnson (4, Funny)

hugerobot (634548) | about 5 years ago | (#28774741)

Rod Johnson?? Really?! Rod Johnson is easily one of the top 5 names of all time. Rod Johnson wins by name alone!!!! It's settled. Java is the best language. Suck it, other languages and your weakly named representatives! I'm a PHP programmer more than anything... but I must concede to Rod Johnson. You can't make that name any better! Maybe if his middle name was 'Motherf***ing'.

Re:Rod Johnson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28774861)

Really? I heard he was a real d!ck though..

Re:Rod Johnson (2, Funny)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 5 years ago | (#28774917)

Agree, except it seems like someone named Rod Johnson would be a Python kind of guy.

Odd... (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | about 5 years ago | (#28774845)

Why are people listed by where they work their day job, as if that has anything to do with it?

the title of this post is flawed (5, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | about 5 years ago | (#28774857)

Programming languages do not have source code, and thus cannot be "open source". Unless perhaps you're referring to languages whose specifications are updated by means of some community driven process, e.g. Sun's JCP. Interpreters, virtual machines and run-time environments do have source code and can be open source. They're just not the same thing as "the programming language" itself, which is essentially just a specification.

Re:the title of this post is flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28776477)

*ahem* Python is defined by it's C implementation. That implementation is the specification.

There can be only one! (2, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 5 years ago | (#28775057)

I love this "Highlander" attitude towards programming. That there will be one language that is the best and I guess will defeat all the other languages. If anything there might have a been a few best languages decades ago, but as time goes on there will just be more and more languages used for different purposes. Should we also debate what's the best tool. A hammer, a screwdriver, or a wrench?

Re:There can be only one! (2, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 5 years ago | (#28775319)

To be fair, the summary presents this as a debate of "the merits of their various languages", not an attempt to cast one as the "best".

Its kind of ironic that you are projecting this "Highlander" attitude that you deride.

Haskell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28775347)

One haskell to rule them all

Miller Lite (0, Flamebait)

Ponga (934481) | about 5 years ago | (#28775385)

php: " Tastes great! "
python: " Less filling! "
perl: " $_=_($_);$_+=$_; "

Re:Miller Lite (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28775691)

APL: (~RâSRâ.Ã--R)/Râ1â"âR

(so pretty much like Perl...)

Re:Miller Lite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28776059)

java: "My goodness"+System.getSeparator()+" my Guinness!"

The other members of "Team Java" (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 5 years ago | (#28775415)

For the Java team, the summary only mentions Rod Johnson - it should be noted that Rod will be joined by other veteran developers advocating Java: Long Wang, Peter Cox (and his wife Anita), and, of course, notable Java developer Dick Manmeat.

C++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28775419)

C++ is not in the debate because everyone already knows it's the best! (And you can't debate fact)

Too bad Scala pisses all over these languages (1)

melted (227442) | about 5 years ago | (#28776175)

Seriously, all of this stuff is really old and tired. All of the cool kids are elsewhere.

PHP: Laura Thomson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28776217)

Is having php represented by a woman saying something about the language?

Is it giving an unfair advantage to php?

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