I really don’t think I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth, but you can decide for yourself.
I recently blogged about my fear that Microsoft could harm Python by promoting it as merely a scripting and dynamic language. I stick by what I said. But let’s look at the flip side and see what good IronPython can bring to Python in spite of what I consider misguided marketing.
1) It is open. Anyone interested can poke around and see how it was put together. And knowledge is power. And failing that, I’m sure it’ll be a positive mental exercise.
2) It is a re-implementation of Python. I don’t know if there has been much communication between the CPython folks and the IronPython folks, but anyone can look and see how the IronPyton folks did it. And, the CPython folks can build upon the ideas used in the creation of FePy…as long as they’re careful and don’t violate any licenses.
3) It could enlarge the userbase of Python. Granted, it may only be in the form of folks needing to create extended macros in Word. But on the upside again, Python does have a viral effect on people. Meaning, folks who would never have programmed before may find themselves writing simple little programs to do simple little things and then find themselves wanting to take things to the next level.
4) Some in the geek community will invariabley use IronPython to its full benefit. While we’re not totally impervious to bad marketing, some geeks will always use products in excellent ways regardless of how they were marketed. And again, the viral effect of Python will (hopefully) kick in and spread.
To sum up, I’m concerned that Microsoft’s marketing may have ill effects on Python, but I think that IronPython itself will benefit the Python community.