Friday, March 02, 2007

Python Will Rule the World

Before I tell you why, how about a story first?

When I was a kid, my parents bought a KayPro II so that they could use the spreadsheet program for financials and my dad could write a medical text book. I, of course, discovered the BSD games (BASIC clones) that came with it almost immediately. All of my friends had TSR-80s and C-64s, and it seemed that we all discovered BASIC and the hackability of games simultaneously. We would gather around the school computer and take turns making changes to the available games and then playing each others' variants. It was a time of bliss that was only surpassed 15 years later when I discovered Linux and began contributing to and writing open source software.

Most programmers I talk to in my generation have similar stories to share: we got completely hooked on the industry (long before we knew there was an industry) solely on the merits of editable source code. My parents hated when I played "too much" and they never really "got" that I was actually only playing a fraction of the time. They thought I was getting wound up on high scores and grue evasion... but they were missing the bigger picture. I spent far more than half the time changing the games, adding levels, extending star fields... enriching my gameplay. The high that I had discovered and was totally addicted to was the mutability of my universe.

Enter OLPC. The One Laptop Per Child project is absolutely phenomenal, far more so than I had ever anticipated. After Ivan Krstić's keynote at PyCon this year, everyone I talked to had the same impression that I had: Python Will Rule the World. And here's why:

Thousands, hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of children around the world will be using these innovative little machines. Children are amazing, curious, and fantastically brilliant sentient beings. Highly sentient. And into these little genius hands will be placed laptops that connect them to their friends, their teachers, and the rest of the world. Their interface to these laptops will be written in python. There is even a button on the laptops to "show source." Just as a small portion of my generation became addicted to the mutability of our universe, an insanely larger number of kids will have this same experience thanks to OLPC and python.

Look at what we've done so far. It's been amazing. And look how few of us it took. But what's going to happen when thousands and thousands of eager, curious, children from all over the world discover that, through the power of changing software, they can make changes to their world?

They will learn python. And with that, they will make this world theirs.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

1 comment:

  1. dude.

    it's very simple. the OLPC motherboard, in the form of the computer, is available NOW.