What is Python?

python, (Gr. Myth. An enormous serpent that lurked in the cave of Mount Parnassus and was slain by Apollo) 1. any of a genus of large, non-poisonous snakes of Asia, Africa and Australia that suffocate their prey to death. 2. popularly, any large snake that crushes its prey. 3. totally awesome, bitchin' language that will someday crush the $'s out of certain other so-called VHLL's ;-)

Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language. It is often compared to Tcl, Perl, Scheme or Java.

Python combines remarkable power with very clear syntax. It has modules, classes, exceptions, very high level dynamic data types, and dynamic typing. There are interfaces to many system calls and libraries, as well as to various windowing systems (X11, Motif, Tk, Mac, MFC). New built-in modules are easily written in C or C++. Python is also usable as an extension language for applications that need a programmable interface.

The Python implementation is portable: it runs on many brands of UNIX, on Windows, DOS, OS/2, Mac, Amiga... If your favorite system isn't listed here, it may still be supported, if there's a C compiler for it. Ask around on comp.lang.python -- or just try compiling Python yourself.

The Python implementation is copyrighted but freely usable and distributable, even for commercial use.

Want to know more?

See the links in the sidebar, or read a longer introduction.

"Python - why settle for snake oil when you can have the whole snake?"
(From Usenet posting by Mark Jackson, June 1998)