Re: official support for more scripting languages in gnome needed

On Sun, 18 Mar 2001, Ben Ford wrote:

> James Henstridge wrote:
> > On Sun, 18 Mar 2001, Ben Ford wrote:
> >
> > > > Why should you care what language a useful tool is written in?  For many
> > > > tasks, there is no noticable speed or CPU usage problems when choosing a
> > > > scripting language.  Often these languages let the programmer write
> > > > shorter programs that are less likely to have bugs in them.  Why is this a
> > > > bad thing?
> > > >
> > > > Do you refuse to play AisleRiot because the game rules are written in
> > > > scheme?
> > > >
> > > > I am not sure I am in favour of rewriting existing applications in python
> > > > or perl just for the sake of using a scripting language though.
> > >
> > > You are making the argument for Visual Basic.  Do you remember the
> > > proliferation of *very* bad programs when VB hit?  What is the next step?
> > > Perl macros in email?
> >
> > 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.

 Yes, I was proposing to suggest programmers writing small utilities for gnome
to use scripting languages, that would be mean requiring user to install those
scripting languages for running these utilities.

 Currently gnome is shipped with 4 major packages that require scripting
* sawfish - it requires rep (a dialect of lisp) - all logic is written in lisp
* gnucash - uses guile internally for all logic
* sketch (vector editor) written in python
* gimp - most of plugins are written in guile and some  in perl

 Did you experienced any performance and memory issues with them that can be
attributed to the choice of language?
 I doubt very much..

 Also configuration utilities for some window managers are also written in
scripting languages (e.g. for IceWM) - do you have any problems with them?
> 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.
> 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!
> 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 think you didn't try software that was written in scripting languages (may
be you are deriving your attitude from running modperl or whatever for web).
 Using python-based floppy disk formatting tool that is *very* intelligent and
smart and bullet-proof won't hurt your resources at all.. That is what I was

 And also don't forget about Emacs and vi - both of them use scripting
languages to greatly extend functionality. Yes, they consume more resources
than notepad, but it's obvious which one is more advanced and feature-rich.

> </rant>
> -b

 Best regards,

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