Where I differ from Russ is really on a matter of taste more than anything else. He says "If I need to go to an IRC channel or search through mailing lists or newsgroups to find solutions to simple problems, I get annoyed."
Well, for me, the Python community is certainly one of Python's greatest assets, with c.l.py at its heart. I've asked questions there many times, and people have always helped me. When I was a Python newbie, I'd regularly ask questions there, only to have Python Demi-gods provide answers within minutes. You simply cannot buy support like that - and you get it for nothing from the Python Community.
Russ had a quite a bit of trouble getting stuff going. I suspect that someone on c.l.py would have been able to help him out with most of it.
In the Java world, I've not found anything quite like c.l.py. Recently, the Java blogsphere has started to take shape. Just yesterday, Marc Logemann helped me out with something that I'd not been able to get working for ages. (Thanks, Marc!) But before blogging, I would have had nowhere to go.
He's right about the fact that documentation for 3rd party libraries for Python can be, uh, inconsistent in quality. (Core Pythons documentation is superb.) But that's an open source issue in general, I think, not particular to Python.
Russ suggests that Python needs a 'Corporate Angel'. That would be great, I can't deny. But I think that it's the PR that Python would benefit from more than anything else. For me, Python is usually the best language for getting the job done, but not for getting the job. It doesn't boost your CV. That's where Java and J2EE come in. ;-)
One last, FYI point. Python is growing JAR file equivalents in Python 2.3. No reason Russ should have known that, though.
Anyway, thanks, Russ, for an interesting, blinkers-off, rant free view of Python from a Java fan's perspective.
Update 28th July. See also V. Satheesh Babu's Java, Python and Russ.Posted to Python by Simon Brunning at July 25, 2003 04:26 PM