And Now for Something Completely Different...

by Marjorie Richardson

Linux Journal employees have been fans of Python for some time. Many of the scripts we use daily are written in Python. Our publisher, Phil Hughes, likes it so much he reads every Python book published. (He reviews three of them in this supplement.) Combining that fact with the exploding popularity of this clean, robust language, we decided it was time to provide our readers with a supplement dedicated to Python.

Wait, what's this? A bridge and its keeper wanting us to answer three questions before continuing. Well, I'll go first—how hard can they be? You follow.

  1. Wha-at! is your name? Marjorie of Richardson

  2. Whe-re! are you from? Seattle in Washington

  3. Wha-at! is your favorite programming language? FORTRAN—No! Python—Too late! Aaaaaaah!

Those easy ones get me every time, but I'm sure you will do better. Give it a try and if you miss any, consider yourself thrown into the ravine with me.

The answer to number three should, of course, be Python. If something else, you might not want to continue unless you are actually searching for that holiest of grails—the perfect scripting language. The worst and only complaint I've heard about Python is the required tabs, and everyone gets used to those in fairly short order. After all, most programmers use them anyway to ensure a readable format for their code. On the other hand, it's easy to learn, easy to write, easy to understand—in other words, perfect!

We have plenty for you to enjoy this month: programming articles, book reviews and articles by Guido van Rossum and Eric Raymond. Guido tells us how he envisions Python will be used in the future to teach programming in schools. Eric tells us why Python is now his favorite language (he made it across the bridge!) and why he uses it instead of Perl in much of his programming. And don't forget, the Linux Journal's focus this month is Programming, and there's a great article in the main issue about embedding Python in multi-threaded C/C++ programs—not to be missed. There are even two Python articles in “Strictly On-line” at

Just in case you're wondering about all the silliness, Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python, is a big fan of the Monty Python series and named the language after it. Thanks to Jason Schumaker for posing as a nude hacker for our Pythonesque cover. So, those of you who made it across the bridge can now proceed in learning more about this wonderful “Monty Python” of programming languages. That is, don't run away—stay and have fun (nudge nudge, wink wink). We promise not to make any dead parrot jokes...

--Marjorie Richardson, who expects to wield supreme executive power even though a watery tart didn't throw a sword at her.

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