On the language wars

Disclamer: I don’t want to provoke another instance of something I’d be writing about, so I’m going to refer to languages as to meals.

We all like eating. Some of us prefer only one or two kinds of food, but most of us have experiences with many types, yet there are this few ones which we prefer. But more often than I’d like, we yell at each other that our types of food are better, instead of serving our favorite meals with happiness on our faces. Or we insult each other because of the type of food someone else prefers.

Isn’t it sick?

I’m not a professional cook, but I tend to wander there and around in the cooking community. Let me tell you a few stories I experienced in the recent time.

So there’s a cooking convention, and a two cooks are showing some stuff they cooked using Mushrooms. At the beginning, they start to exaplain, why Mushrooms? “Oh you know, we like Mushrooms, and would any of you like to cook these using Pasta? Are you willing to punch yourself in the face after cooking Pasta? And if you enjoy using the cookbooks about Pasta, you must be masochists!”. I’m glad I was watching it recorded rather than live, as I might have looked stupid standing up and leaving the room. But really, this were some serious cooks, why do they yell at other types of food instead of showing why their are nice? Seems not very professional, and shows Mushroom lovers in a bad light.

But the sad thing is, many of them are like this. On the cooking reddit (sometimes written as “cookit”), in every article or news headling about a new meal with Pasta, dozens of Mushroom lovers appear yelling how madly they hate Pasta. Really, comments are filled with this cretinism. They shout at how Pasta is old-fashioned, difficult to eat and how it looks bad. Then why do they need to tell this to everyone, while they see how they keep being downvoted? I asked one of the redditors, why so much hate against Pasta? “It’s not hate, it’s disgust”, he replied. Hey, stupid! No need to spoil somebody else’s taste, why don’t you cook something good with your beloved Mushrooms instead of shouting at how madly you hate Pasta? Sadly, they seem to attack Tomato lovers too, everytime telling everyone how Mushrooms are better for everything and everyone should quit cooking Pasta and Tomatoes and move to Mushrooms instead. I once even saw something horrifying on the Mushrooms mailing list, although I don’t usually read those. There was a quote: “and what defines a Mushroom activist anyway? Blowing up Pasta meals worldwide?” What on earth is wrong with you people?

Luckily, not everyone is like this. I tend to see friendly Mushroom lovers, which sometimes cook Pasta too, although I usually see them on Pasta related IRC channels. Good to know there are good people in this community. Good to know they’re cooperating with us, there are so many wonderful things we can cook together. For example, do you even know the awesome things you can cook with exotic animals, like Parrots?


Now, you may have alredy guessed what kind of food is which language in this story. But there’s a reason I didn’t write a cheatsheet anywhere. It could be related to any of you, probably to me also. Just try to think about from a wider perspective. Hating other people’s food does not make you a better cook. It’s not nice either, when someone jugdes you basing on the type of food you cook, or eat? Shoving your opinions down peoples’ throats is always bad.

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3 Comments on “On the language wars”

  1. Paul Keeble says:

    I think programming languages are more analogous to carpentry tools than they are to food types. We gain proficiency in a particular tool and thus we can make it do all sorts of magic things the inexperienced can’t.

    But when a new tool comes out that makes that job easier and making it more likely to produce the correct result then the shouting starts. All the other carpenters want the first one to adopt the new tool so that they can have it too. Because if they all use their own specialist tools they can’t all work on the same project together.

    We wish we were working with Carpenters on our projects that used these great tools as we do so that the job was done with higher quality and cheaper. Its only when a Carpenter refuses to move off his outdated tool that everyone around him has to desperately plead with him, and eventually when he’s the only hold out causing pain and suffering to everyone else in his team, then he becomes the idiot.

    Programming languages aren’t just flavours of food, they take substantial time to master and some tools really are just better than others.

  2. Steven Haryanto says:

    Entertaining read. On with the analogies! :)

    Programming languages as relationships: http://maradydd.livejournal.com/293666.html

    As women: http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/rainbow/prog.lang.html

    As cars: http://www.thatwasfunny.com/programming-languages-are-like-cars/1509

  3. jhuni says:

    This is a very bad analogy IMO.

    Much better is the analogy that compares programming languages to cars.


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