Python Compared to Other Languages

Python is often compared to other languages. Here's a sampling of what's been written, by people biased in various directions.


New: Lutz Prechelt wrote "An Empirical Comparison of C, C++, Java, Perl, Python, Rexx, and Tcl for a Search/String-Processing Program in which he compares productivity and program performance for 80 different implementations of the same requirements, in 7 languages.

John Ousterhout's white paper Scripting: Higher Level Programming for the 21st Century explains why scripting languages are so successful. it is biased towards Tcl, but the argument works for Python just as well.

Guido van Rossum wrote an essay on Comparing Python to Other Languages.

Keith Waclena has produced an evaluation of various free programming languages. It conveys the practical considerations in making such a comparison, as well as discussing the relative merits of the various languages.

Wayne Christopher maintains an extensive discussion on language comparisons focused around Tcl.

Aaron Watters' excellent Python tutorial contains comparisons of Python with Tcl, Perl and Scheme.

Dan Connolly includes Python in a list of potential languages for distributed hypermedia applications, and also for mobile code.

A Language Collector Comments On: Java, Perl & Python, by David Rook, in the Oct, '97 issue of a Navy computing publication, Chips. (As the Chips website appears to be down, here's a copy of the article saved from Google's cache.)

Tcl vs. Perl vs. Python - it's all in the vowels (on the "Python humor" page).


The book Perl to Python Migration helps Perl programmers wishing to explore Python. (The book offers a lot of valuable conversion advice, but there is some incorrect information about Python. Be careful.)

Why Python? Eric Raymond describes how he discovered Python, how it compares to Perl, and why he was impressed.

Sitemap: from Perl to Python Tom Bryan shows how to translate Eric Raymond's Sitemap program from Perl to Python.

Tom Christiansen's Perl versus Python news article. (See also Perl versus ....)

Lars Marius Garshol writes about the vital things which pursuade him away from perl to python, in What's Wrong With Perl.

Jak Kirman has composed an extensive Python/Perl phrasebook from which you can derive your own conclusions...

Python anyone?
by Robert Richardson highlights the different application areas of Python vs. Perl and generally sells Python well.

Python vs. Perl according to Yoda (on the "Python humor" page).


Glyph Lefkowitz wrote a comparison between Python and Java that has some surprising results about performance. Mike Connell ( updated this benchmark in 4/2002: "Python vs. Java vs. C++ Runtimes" (

Roger Masse's paper comparing Python with Java in a number of different application areas. Here are the slides presenting the paper from the Fifth Python Workshop held at the Washington D.C. Convention Center.

Alex Nicolau's term paper on distributed languages comparing Python, Java and Phantom.

Ariel Partners 's comparison of Python and Java, circa 2002.

You could also try searching for "Java" in the Python search engines. (Don your asbestos suit :-)


Frank Stajano's paper, Implementing the SMS server, or why I switched from Tcl to Python, was presented at the Seventh Internation Python Conference. (Also available in PDF.)

See also the General section above, for a few items which include comparison to Tcl, along with other languages.


There's a piece comparing Ruby to Python in the Ruby FAQ.

Lisp, Scheme etc.

Peter Norvig wrote Python for Lisp Programmers which includes a feature-by-feature comparison.

Moshe Zadka has written this brief outline of the differences between Python and Scheme.

See also the General section above.