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Type Checking and Techie Control
A Conversation with Bruce Eckel, Part III
by Bill Venners
July 7, 2003

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Marketing and the Techies

Bill Venners: The fourth reason you gave in your "Why I Love Python" keynote was, "Marketing people are not involved."

Bruce Eckel: The Python venture is basically controlled by the techies. We make decisions based on what's going to make the life of the programmer easier. Even with C++, which was a standards committee, I remember early decisions being based on worries about the existence of a body of code which was a drop in the bucket relative to what we have now. But they were saying, "We can't make this change in the language because we would break all that existing code," which was basically trivial. We should have made those changes at the time. That was sort of a marketing decision because many of the people on the committee were representing companies who had vested interests in C++ in some way or another.

Certainly people that come to the Python conferences often use Python within companies. But I guess it's rarer that Python is the flagship programming environment of any sizable company. They always end up using something else. Because of that, the people who are coming, even if they are coming from a company that's using Python actively, are typically more Python enthusiasts than people worried about how Python will affect the bottom line. Although now there is the Python Software Foundation, and basically that's a way for companies to contribute to the continuing development of Python and at least have the ear of the core Python team. So in XP terms they would be customer representatives, I suppose, although they don't have that much leverage. They have the ability to communicate that much easier.

Next Week

Come back Monday, July 14 for Part IV of a conversation with Elliotte Rusty Harold. I am now staggering the publication of several interviews at once, to give the reader variety. The next installment of this interview with Bruce Eckel will appear in the near future. If you'd like to receive a brief weekly email announcing new articles at, please subscribe to the Artima Newsletter.

Talk Back!

Have an opinion about type checking, finding errors, or techie versus marketing control of technologies? Discuss this article in the News & Ideas Forum topic, Type Checking and Techie Control.


Bruce Eckel's Mindview, Inc.:

Bruce Eckel's essay on checked exceptions: Does Java Need Checked Exceptions?:

Bruce Eckel's Public and In-House Seminars:

Bruce Eckel's Weblog:, the Python Language Website:

Introductory Material on Python:

Python Tutorial:

Python FAQ Wizard:

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