Programming Languages













Many of the nearly 150,000 current free, open-source software projects listed on could be classified as utility and programming-related applications. Among the most widely used programs in this category are EMACS, Perl, PHP, and Python. There are programming lanuages designed specifically for teaching programming concepts. See logo, scratch, squeak, and alice, for examples.

As Eric Raymond has described, the impetus for many free, open-source software project is a programmer's personal need for a tool - what Raymond called "scratching an itch." Consequently, many of the projects aim to produce technical tools that help programmers. The first such tool was Emacs, written by Richard Stallman. The next tool was the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Now, there are over 5,300 software titles, many or which are utilities and programming languages, in the GNU directory. In addition to programming tools, free, open-source software developers have also produced systems that help in the testing and bug-tracking process. View a list of sample projects here: Open Source Help Desk List.

A few of the most popular programming languages for open source software are those in the GCC Compiler Collection, as well as perl, python, php, and languages intended to help kids learn about programming: logo, scratch, squeak, and alice.

Suggested Activities:

  1. Visit several of the websites for the programming languages listed previously.
  2. Download and install one of the programming languages.
  3. Search for an introductory online guide to the programming language and work through the first several modules.