[CLUG-chat] Intro into programming.

marc marc at welz.org.za
Thu Aug 3 10:41:16 SAST 2006


> 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?

Well said Paul. Somehow people have managed to think
that Java is somehow part of the opensource/free software
way of doing things. They are wrong. It is *not*. Because
two, not one, very important reasons

- The license isn't free. See also
  http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/java-trap.html

- The virtual machine/managed code approach
  makes it difficult to access real hardware,
  which means

  - most people don't learn how to work with
    real hardware

  - people who want to access the hardware may
    be prevented from doing so

  This helps the DRM crowd, and leads to situations
  where you have to pay R2.50 for the privilege of
  getting a desktop background. Do note that Java
  (oak ?) was originally designed to run on set-top boxes.
  Also note the (otherwise) illogical inclusion of monster java
  runtimes on highly resource constrained cell phones.
  These are both environments where hardware resources are
  made to work against you.

In the same vein I don't understand why people would
want to write Pascal on Unix systems. Go read
http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/bwk_on_pascal.html,
it is written by one of the people who was part of
the creation of unix and C. Or search the hacker's
dictionary for bondage-and-discipline-language.

Look at http://freshmeat.net/browse/160/ - note
that most free programs are written
in C. If you want to make a useful contribution
to the free software world, you will make the
biggest difference if you learn C. If you really
think that C is too scary (and it is not) then
go for something like python. But don't fall
for the line that error handling and memory management
is somehow better there, see -
http://www.nongnu.org/failmalloc/#example

regards

marc


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