I looked at it in my field of work, which is film and pretty much every software we use comes with python as a scripting language: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Python_software That made me assume it's the most popular.

How did Python become popular as a scripting language? Especially as an embedded language into standalone applications.

What's the reason for this? There are others like Lua, Ruby, etc. but yet it looks like Python came on top.

If it's because of a particular thing or just a matter of getting out there at the right time?

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    I could see this becoming a flame war Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 3:57
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    I seriously doubt that Python is more popular than ECMAScript, Perl, PHP and Bash. Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 4:10
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    I would try to answer this, but who's to say that Python is the most popular scripting language? What about Ruby, PHP, Perl, Smalltalk, R, etc.? This is a very subjective question. Voted to close.
    – Dynamic
    Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 4:51
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    "Python came on top" where did you get that? I thought MS DOS bat files are most "popular" "language", given amount of those writing these
    – gnat
    Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 5:55
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    I only looked at it in my field of work, which is film and pretty much every software we use comes with python as a scripting language: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Python_software That's why I assumed it's the most popular.
    – Joan Venge
    Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 6:03

3 Answers 3


There's no way to say for certain, but in my experience most people I know who like python like it become of it's rich "batteries included" nature. It comes with an incredible number of modules that do many useful things, which means developers spend less time reinventing wheels and more time making interesting applications.


In most cases, behind a successful language is a powerful sponsor. AT&T gave us C and C++, Microsoft created the .NET family, Java came from Sun, and even though they didn't invent it, Apple is almost completely responsible for the recent popularity of Objective-C. (Though that's a borderline case, since pretty much nobody outside the OSX/iOS ecosystem is using Objective-C for anything.)

Python is the same way. It was around for a long time, but it was a fairly obscure language until it found institutional favor at Google. They decided they liked it so much that they ended up hiring Guido Van Rossum! And now Python's a really big language.

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    Python was already successful by 2000, when Google influence was about null. Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 9:17
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    You could also say that Google hired Guido because of the popularity of Python.
    – Sam
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 23:50

Popularity of any language is difficult to measure. There is not a clear indicator that makes one language better than the other. The reason is that there is no language that is the most suitable for everything.

Some languages are more specialized for certain tasks even though they may be used for other tasks (Perl excels in string processing, PHP is famous a web serverside language, Fortran was popular for number crunching, ...).

The age of the language also influences popularity. Say, Fortran would not be that popular for number crunching if it was not one of the oldest (usefull) programming languages.

I like Python, but I would not dare to do an ultimate comparison with other languages. Anyway, I like its clean syntax, readability, brevity, pragmatism, pseudo-code look.

In my opinion, the languages could be compared only in pairs -- i.e. one language vs. the other. And it should be done by people who have intimate knowledge of both.

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