Code Vigorous

Dustin J. Mitchell

Perl vs. Python

19 Oct 2007

Oops. I inadvertently started a small skirmish in the ongoing language wars. It began when I suggested rewriting the bulk of Amanda in a scripting language.

The denizens of this list are mostly seasoned UNIX admins and open source programmers with an sysadmin background. To my understanding, this is also the “core constituency” of Perl’s popularity – it’s a language that lets admins Get Stuff Done. Parts of Amanda are already written in Perl, so I thought Perl was a shoo-in for Amanda’s new scripting language.

Well, the discussion isn’t over yet, but I was very surprised to see that Python, my BFFL among scripting languages, was strongly suggested by a number of participants, while only one person offered a solid vote for Perl.

I wonder: have I been out of touch, or are tides starting to shift? It’s interesting that allegiances would shift for languages which have been around for so long (Python was first released in 1991, Perl-1.0 arrived in 1987).