It has largely replaced shell as the scripting language of choice for system administrators, thanks partly to its comprehensive set of UNIX library and system calls, and partly to the huge collection of Perl modules built by a very active Perl community.The language is commonly estimated to be the CGI language behind about 85% of the “live” content on the Net.Most hackers aren't these days, but somehow our culture seems to have retained a pretty accurate folk memory of how nasty those old-style fixed-field languages were.Indeed, the term “free format”, used back then to describe the newer style of token-oriented syntax in Pascal and C, has almost been forgotten; languages have been designed that way for decades now. It's hard to blame anyone, on seeing this Python feature, for initially reacting as though they had unexpectedly stepped in a steaming pile of dinosaur dung. I skimmed through the rest of the language description without much interest.I didn't see much else to recommend Python, except maybe that the syntax seemed rather cleaner than Perl's and the facilities for doing basic GUI elements like buttons and menus looked fairly good.I put the book back on the shelf, making a mental note that I should code some kind of small GUI-centered project in Python sometime, just to make sure I really understood the language.
By mid-1997, I was thinking “there has to be a better way” and began casting about for a more elegant scripting language.
But I didn't believe what I'd seen would ever compete effectively with Perl.