"A Shell Script wants your job", Original image by jm3 / John Manoogian III http://www.flickr.com/photos/jm3/4814208649/

There’s been some crowing recently about how wonderful it is, that a scripting language is no longer a dependency for an OS build.

My opinion is that this is a shame on many levels: it’s a shame because the time spent rewriting all of this code could have been better spent elsewhere, it’s a shame because this new code presumably has integrated a heap of new bugs and it’s a shame because the bar was raised for potential contributors to their codebase: if you don’t know C, you can’t write code for them.

Most importantly though, I believe that scripting languages have a better place in /usr/bin and as helper components for core OS functionality than some folks seem to believe.

I’ve been writing in Python for a few years now, first as part of our Xen port, now on IPS, and I think that the sorts of things most OS commands do is far easier to express, code and debug in Python than it is in C.

Perhaps it’s me, but I’m much more comfortable firing up an editor and debugging a script I can see, than I would be having to download and setup a complex build environment, compile sources (if that source is even available :-/ ) and drop binaries in place.

Excising Python from an operating system is like chopping off your arm. Sure, you’ve fewer dependencies now (the original reason cited for removing the code in question) – no need for wrist watches, and you won’t get worn patches on your jumpers at the elbow, etc. but I’m not convinced it was the right move.

Still, each to their own – this is merely my opinion.