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Re: Var-free programming (slightly off-topic)

   Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 09:07:11 -0800 (PST)
   From: Morgan McGuire <morgan3d@yahoo.com>

		 Java is a humongous download 

The SDK is about 30MB these days.  They come out with a new one every
half-year or so, and then I download it.  I guess it depends on
whether you have a fast Internet connection.  For me this hasn't
been a problem.

					      and then you get to fight
   with the installation since many OS's ship with their own broken/old

Wow, I've never had the slightest problem installing a JVM.  I must
have a dozen JVM's on my hard disk, since I have a bunch of B2B
products that ship with a JVM, but they don't get in each other's way
at all.

   1. I can download, install, and learn this language in 2 days

Unfortuantely, it's very hard to define what constitutes learning the
language, since there's really such a continuum between core language
semantics, less-than-core language semantics, core libraries,
not-so-core libraries, etc.  Learning how to write "hello, world"?
Leaning enough about the libraries so that you know about "glob.glob"
and how to open a TCP socket?  Learning how to grasp the possibilities
of call/cc?

In fact, how would one go about measuring how long it takes to learn
one language versus another, since you'd have to measure how long it
takes to attain a certain level of proficiency, and defining the level
of proficiency in a language-independent way is clearly difficult?

   2. No fussing over the installer or finding out my platform is not
   fully supported

(Obviously this is an implementation issue rather than a language issue.)

   3. No makefiles, compilers, or wierd external library stuff to write
   simple applications

   In my recent experience, Python admirably fulfilled this.  I haven't
   yet played with Perl.  MzScheme was pretty close (better searching in
   the help system and some sample programs would fix the learning curve).
    Various unix shell scripts, Windows .BAT and .CMD, OS/2 REXX, awk,
   sed, JavaScript, VB Script all fit the bill. Java/C++ are clearly not

It seems to me that there are a lot of people on this list who are
very eager to criticize Java.  (Java is heavyweight, and thus Java is
bad.)  Perhaps it is largely because Java has gotten so widespread and
popular that it invites so much resentment.  In my mail wth Mike Salib
before the workshop, I was talking about some of these issues, and he
implied (probably inadvertently) that one of the problems with Java
was that it doesn't check array bounds!  (Admittedly this is an
extreme case.)

You seem to be implying that "installing" Java is time-consuming and
difficult, that Java isn't ported to a lot of platforms, that you need
makefiles to use Java, that you need "weird external library stuff" to
write simple applicationsm, none of which is the case.

-- Dan