Future of Python programming language on a Linux platform
Don’t believe the naysayer’s hype about Python! With increasing popularity among Linux communities and used by major corporations such as Google, Python is here to stay!
Some sceptics have published articles and blogs over the last few years that have doubted the future of Python. However, Python has been around since 1991 and the growth in popularity of this stable and comprehensive high level programming language, especially in the Linux user domain, would indicate that it is here to stay.
Python is an open source language which supports the main programming models currently in vogue. A Python programmer can produce code that could be classified object-oriented, imperative or functional in design.
Python is a high-level programming language that was designed with code readability and platform independence specifically in mind. Two unique features that were born of this design philosophy are the use of indentation for block delimiters, visually presenting the code in a more logical and easier to understand way, and the fact that Python runs the same source code on each of the various platforms on which it operates, unlike all other popular programming languages on the market today.
Many devotees of Python would echo the following description from the official Python Website, hailing it a well organised, standardised language that is a dream to use: “Python combines remarkable power with very clear syntax. It has interfaces to many system calls and libraries, as well as to various window systems, and is extensible in C or C++. It is also usable as an extension language for applications that need a programmable interface.”
Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python, commented in an interview that “Object orientation was one of the techniques I used to make Python platform independent. I think the real key to Python's platform independence is that it was conceived right from the start as only very loosely tied to Unix.” Python is truly portable across a multitude of platforms. Again, from the official Python site: “it runs on many Unix variants, on the Mac and on PCs under MS-DOS, Windows, Windows NT, and OS/2.”
1. Is Python necessary for a Linux admin?
Whether or not Python is considered a must have in the tool kit of a Linux Systems Administrator remains to be seen. We put the question to the test looking at the jobs listed on LinuxCareer. Approximately 20 percent of listed jobs on LinuxCareer.com specify Python as a criterion for being considered. So at this stage, for a Linux Admin, it is not a deal breaker if Python is not listed as a key strength on your CV. Python can be used for scripting and this is the major draw card for Sys Admins, but looking at the market today, it is not a mandatory skill.
For a developer, Python is an asset to have on the CV, and Python developers definitely benefit from having an understanding of the Linux platform, since a Linux distribution may actually bundle Python as a standard feature.
2. What does the Linux Community think of Python?
Apparently the Linux community loves their Python! In a recent online survey conducted by Linux Journal ( Sep 2011 issue ), 24 percent of the approximately 8,600 subscribers voted Python as their favourite programming language. Python beat its closes competitor C by a significant margin.
If we look at the employment market, approximately 33 percent of all the jobs listed on the official Python website (python.org) list Linux expertise as an essential criterion for being considered for the job.
Approximately 20 percent of listed jobs on LinuxCareer.com specify Python as an essential requirement for being considered for the Linux jobs. So there is ample space for some mutual respect between the Python and Linux world! Both hail from the open source mindset and there seems to be a great deal of synergy between the two.
3. Will learning Python make you more competitive for employment?
Should you nab it up as a skill? Why not! It’s always impressive to learn new skills and in the ever-changing world that is Information Technology, it certainly couldn’t hurt! There are loads of free resources out there that can get you started in the right direction in gaining expertise in Python and joining the ranks of the devoted!
4. Who is using Python?
Python is utilised in a diverse range of environments from educational settings to corporate use. Being an object-oriented programming language like C and C++ it has been used in many reputable schools, colleges and universities to teach programming to students at both an entry and advanced level.
Python is used by the Google machine and in fact, the Google Code University has a comprehensive number of online resources that teach Python free of charge.
As it is open source, no sales statistics exist to infer market share. However being open source, Python is available for free download and is available from many different sites and even packaged with many Linux distributions. This means there are many outlets for a prospective user to download and start programming.
The TIOBE Programming Community index is a reputable indicator used to determine the popularity of programming languages in use in major projects within a specific time frame. According to the TIOBE index many projects are using Python because it recently came in at number 8 on the 10 programming languages in use list in August 2011:
The Python website has a bragging list of “celebrity users” to check out. Giants such as Yahoo and Google are well entrenched users of this programming language. To name a few of the other high-profile Python projects besides those already named:
- Red Hat
- The mailman mailing list manager
- The zope application server.
5. What is the prognosis: Python – Spin or Bin?
We say SPIN! Python is versatile; it is a robust and comprehensive language which is in the top 10 most popular programming language being used in the industry today. It is usable across so many production platforms, it is extensible, programmers love it, it has so much going for it - it would be foolish to think it will fade any time soon.
And as for the Linux/Python connection – it can be seen that LOTS of Linux users prefer to program using Python and Python jobs value Linux experience, so it’s a match made in heaven!