The Economics of Programming Languages

Next time a user tries to asks “How do we get that Google money?” I think we can just skip the 900 posts and all rewatch this video by the maker of Elm.

Edit: Tl;Dr (updating now that it isn’t so late here) – Swift, Dart, C#, and their corporate ilk have buckets of developer time and a whole infrastructure for doing marketing and support for users. Javascript has a consortium of internet landlords (Chrome and friends) who push forward development so they can keep extracting rent.

Independent languages have a few avenues to get the funding they need to try to keep pace, but at the end of the day, Independent language developers need to spend 50% of their time writing code and 50% of their time “selling” the language, maintaining infrastructure, etc. So all a Jeff Bezo needs to do is pay someone for 60% of their time on language dev to outpace you, steal your ideas, and turn a profit off your insights. And getting Jeff’ed sucks.

How do independent languages keep pace? Well, except for unicorns like Python, Evan Czaplicki says… :person_shrugging:


I like the video, but from what I can tell his answer is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ or, at best, “Make friends with someone really rich before you get Jeff’d.”

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My point is that maybe, instead of pontificating about what WhatJuliaNeeds™, we (I) would benefit from the humility of recognizing that if Evan Czaplicki’s best answer is ¯_(ツ)_/¯, then mine certainly is too.

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That’s fair. I think most of these arguments have had an assumption that good programming languages get adopted and bad ones don’t, while Evan’s argument is more or less “not really.”