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Re: Question regarding choice of python

On Thu, 28 Oct 2004 14:33:03 -0400, Brent Fox <bfox redhat com> wrote:
> On Thu, 2004-10-28 at 14:13 -0400, Amitabha Roy wrote:
> > I am curious as to why redhat chose python as the language to code
> > the user interfaces to many of the system tools. I am assuming
> > that system-config-network etc, all were written by redhat people
> > and most of them were written in python (with gtk).
> >
> > Was there any discussion as to the benefits of python over other alternatives
> > (tcl-tk, perl etc) ?
> Sure, there were discussions, but Python was a natural choice for a
> number of reasons.  A big one was that anaconda already existed and it
> was a Python/GTK program, so there was already a lot of in-house

My memory of things.. names are probably all wrong.

Long long ago when coders were beginning to walk upright, there was a
large discussion about Python versus TCL and Perl for writing tools
and such. During the days of 4.x, many of the tools had been written
by Donnie Barnes and in TCL. People did not like keeping that code up
to date because it had been Donnie's first coding projects.. but most
thought it was TCL at its core. Around 5.x, it was decided to rewrite
the installer that Michael Fulbright(and others) had been maintaining
and it was decided it too was crufty mostly because of tons of
exceptions as changes were made at the last moment to fix this or
that. At this point RH had hired Matt Wilson and he and Eric Troan,
Michael Johnson, and some others went over what the possible
alternatives were. Perl was not liked because the code was not
'elegant' to their minds, and Ruby was not at a stage they could use.
Scheme and TCL were out because of other technical and asthetic
reasons. Python was chosen because people liked how it worked.. and it
was thought that they could make enough reusable libraries to replace
all the TCL/perl/C programs that had been written. It was also chosen
because everything at Red Hat has to have been written 4 days before
it was thought of and they figured the time savings of a scripting
language over the memory savings of a Clike language was in their

They were also too stubborn to give it up after the 3400th time a
subroutine broke because the spacing in vi was wrong. Then lo, emacs
and vim spacing were discovered and all was well..

At this point an effort 

Stephen J Smoogen.
CSIRT/Linux System Administrator

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