[CLUG-chat] Intro into programming.

Dewet Diener clug-chat at dewet.org
Thu Aug 3 10:20:49 SAST 2006

On Thursday 03 August 2006 9:28 am, Paul Scott wrote:
> I find it surprising that a FOSS list tolerates the indiscriminate
> punting of a non-free language. If there are new recruits to the Free
> programming world, why start them off on a non-free language?

Depends on your goal.  

If your goal is to be pragmatic and/or evangelising people, yes, stay away 
from Java and look at other options.

If your goal is to *learn* (which is what the original question was), java 
with netbeans/eclipse is a *great* way to start;  it helped me immensely in 
my second year, never having coded in Java before to quickly get up to speed 
with its conventions, syntax, etc.  Code completion hints, syntax colouring, 
integrated compiling, introspection, etc. are very powerful learning tools, 
and not all of those features are as widely available in other IDEs / 
languages -- ruby being a prime example of a dynamically typed language which 
makes introspection (and therefore code completion) problematic (although 
this year's Google SoC is trying to address this in RDT).

I'd even venture so far as to say that, if that's your only choice, you can 
even use the freely-downloadable version of Visual Studio to get to know 
C# -- it also has a lot of features to make learning easier.  The bonus is 
that you can then later easily transition to mono and keep on coding in C# 
for linux, which is much "free-er" than Java in itself.


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