Re: official support for more scripting languages in gnome needed

On Sun, 18 Mar 2001, Ben Ford wrote:

> > I hate to tell you, but it is possible to write bad programs in almost any
> > language.  If a program written in python is going to be included in a
> > GNOME release, then it will have to meet the same quality standards as any
> > other program.
> >
> > I have seen some very good quality GNOME programs written in scripting
> > languages and some very bad quality (third party) GNOME programs written
> > in C.  Do you have any other problem with these languages other than them
> > being easy to use?
> >
> > James.
> I think we are all getting somewhat off the subject.  The post that I originally
> replied to proposed making perl, python and lisp *REQUIREMENTS* for gnome.  To me
> (and at least one other), that is not an option and if you do so, you will lose
> me as a user / developer / distributor / advocate.

As far as I could tell, he was advocating writing for gnome apps in these
languages.  Already we have apps written in C, C++ and a small number in
objc.  If you don't happen to have objc on your computer, then the
programs written in objc don't get built.  Same for C++.  It would be the
same for other languages.

> Scripting languages have their place.  I don't dispute that.  I use automake as
> much as the next guy.  But I don't (and won't) run perl applets.  Maybe one of
> them doesn't slow you down that much, but you get two or three of them and it
> will.  Already I can't run more than a few applets w/ my PII450 w/ 192 RAM
> without seeing a big speed drop.  So it's not the greatest box around, but it's
> no slouch.  Do you remember why Linus started coding Linux?  His 386 wasn't
> powerful enough to run Minix.  What are we, Microsoft?  What happened to the days
> when people were proud of how fast their code executed?  You guys ought to check
> out e17 if you want to see fast *and* pretty.
> I have an old laptop I am building into a webpad of sorts.  It is a Cyrix PR166
> (133Mhz) with 24MB of RAM.  It is dog slow.  But right now I can run Gnome on
> it.  I don't have perl installed and I don't have python installed.  Why should
> I?  It does two things.  Light web browsing and MP3 playing.  If you make perl
> and python requirements, then it will NOT run gnome.  That is all there is to it.

If you look at most GUI apps, most of the time they aren't doing anything.
For programs written in python or perl, the C code in GTK+ is still being
used for most of the redrawing.  Yes, I have run interpreted GUI programs
on slow hardware and not noticed much difference in comparison to compiled

You will probably find that a trimmed down runtime for a scripting
language (including gtk+ wrapper) is about the size of a trimmed down C++
runtime with gtk+ wrapper.  Do you remove the C++ runtime from these

> I also build set-top boxes for friends.  They use a Cysix Geode 233Mhz.
> Currently they run Gnome.  But no perl.  Why?  Same reason as before, I have no
> reason to.  They play MP3s, browse the web and email.  Nothing else.  Have you
> forgotten the mantra of secure programming?  Don't run or even install shit you
> don't need!  No wonder RedHat's in love with you all!

If none of the stuff you want to do on the box requires python or perl,
then I am not going to encourage you to install it.  However, if some task
you want to do requires them, it would make sense to have them on the

> What this whole discussion was over is whether or not to make perl, python, lisp
> and <insert favorite scripting language here> requirements for gnome.  My answer
> is no.  HELL NO.

I don't think the idea was to add artificial dependencies (that would be
stupid).  However, I don't see the problem with programs written in
interpreted languages.  If you don't want to install the language's
runtime, then you are free not to use programs written in that language
(or even rewrite them if you want)


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