My apologies. I do not for a minute mean to say that Python is irrelevant in the wider world of I.T. I do however think that it is irrelevant as a learning language on the RPi...why on earth would you do that when you can just learn python on any one of the hundreds of redundant PCs that litter our schools.
Python is very relevant, but not here on this hardware and in this discussion thread IMO
OK but that wasn't what you said yesterday. You were far more against Python saying that it had no relevance to the wider world of IT.
You previously stated that interpreted languages are not very good at using libraries. That is not true either. Modern interpreted languages (and some not so modern) makes it easy to create and use libraries and to interface with C/C++. That is a solved problem (and wasn't really a problem to begin with apart from a few implementations of a few languages).
Are there 100s of redundant PCs in schools? I don't think so. I don't think my nephews have much access to spend time on them learning to program. Even if they were, would the authorities let the little oiks loose on them or would they be hesitant in case they messed something up? With the Pi it is cheap, the SD card can be easily re-imaged, it doesn't take a PC out of a different use. My nephews can't also take the school's PCs home to continue programming in their bedrooms in the evenings and weekend.
From your later message it becomes clear that you are coming at it from a restricted POV when you start talking about "the electronics industry". the Pi isn't a solution to help the electronics industry, or even the general programming industry (although I believe it will). I think the foundation believes that teaching children more about how programs work, and how to program will benefit them generally, in problem solving, and as a secondary result help industry.
I also don't understand your point about "not understanding the link between this piece of hardware and learning Python or Pascal or BASIC". Considering that nearly any language you care to mention has an implementation for a PC (either Windows or Linux), I'm not sure what language choice you would see as reasonable.
I think what I previously said is on the previous page, so there isn't any need to add a different interpretation. What I have said about Python is in the context of this discussion and I have nothing against Python nor the many times I have seen it used effectively. It isn't a great first language on this project for educational purposes. I stand by that and I'm unlikely to elevate it even into the top 5.
My comments about interpreted languages and libraries are separate. Print in BASIC, running through an interpreter is, of course, a call into a library, just like printf, echo, cout, etc. complex functions, the details of which are hidden behind an API.
Yes there are hundreds of redundant PCs, too old and too slow to be of any use to the majority of ICT needs within a school. Put Linux on them for the purposes of programming and they are perfect (I am a governor of a secondary school, responsible for working with the ICT and Mathematics departments)
Picture the day your nephews take their RPi to school and want to program it. What keyboard would they use? What display would they plug in? Would they need a mouse?
I don't by any means have a restricted POV, I clearly have a broader POV than your own, which includes everything that you describe, plus what I describe. I want kids to learn programming, all of it, top to bottom...not just the small part that is already easily accessible to them. The RPi does not bring some new wonderful platform on which to learn Python
I don't claim for a single minute that the RPi saves the electronics industry, we are still talking education here aren't we? This isn't even about the UK or any particular industry, it is about providing a platform on which people can learn to program. This platform excites me because it gets closer to the hardware, not further away. It is raw.
The language choice that I would see as the most reasonable, or for that matter the most educational, would be a compiled language that produced code that ran on the processor, rather than an interpreted language that ran in a run-time machine that then ran on the processor. Interpreted code will just perpetuate the disjoint between processor and programming and that skill will be lost.
I have to add that when I say 'lost', I come back to being from the UK and the feeling that this skill will be lost to other countries and I would prefer that the UK remained one of the best in this type of programming rather than other countries gainign that skill and taking yet another industry away from us.