Python by XKCD

I used to be a Perl hacker. I confess I’ve forgotten a lot of the zen since, and nowadays I’m more a PHP guy (or MATLAB). But I’ve been hearing a lot about Python (ever since the infamous Parrot April Fool’s joke). The XKCD comic excerpted below got me thinking though that maybe I should get familiar with it in a more formal sense. Anyone out there use Python regularly? How does it compare, as a scripting language, to Perl? How does it compare, as a web application language, to PHP?


I did a two-year stint at Lincoln Lab after college, and that was probably where I really learned how to code and surf *nix. One command I learned back then, that lives on to this day in every .alias file I ever keep handy in ~, was:

alias wax "rm -fR"

For those of you who know *nix, you will immediately recognize this as a Very Dangerous Tool. I have learned to wield wax very, very carefully – through (painful) experience.

I relate this anecdote to explain why the following sort of thing gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies:

Free, open source application Remove Empty Directories (RED) searches your computer for empty folders and deletes the ones you don’t want around anymore. Just point RED at the drive or directory you want to scan and it lists every empty folder in that directory. You can then either delete every empty folder or selectively protect the empty folders you don’t want to lose.

Sure, sure, it lists every folder first – but this is the kind of thing you never want to entrust to a script. File this under “hell no”-ware.