Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003 08:18:41 -0800 (PST)
From: Raj Shekhar
Subject: Re: [LG 86] 02c Tips#3
To: The Answer Gang

> What is my best approach for learning a program language?

Jack, as you are new to programming, you can start by learning Python. The Python compiler is available for free (free as in free ice cream ). It comes with an extensive manual and lots of refrence material online.

However, it would be better to use some introductory books rather than using the refrence manual directly. I would suggest "How to Think Like a Computer Scientist - Learning with Python" as a good start. It is freely available from If you are unable to locate this book there use google to search for it. If you can invest some money I would also suggest "Core Python Programming by Wesley Chun" for more advanced study.

Most distributions come with the Python compiler and install it by default. If you do not have it installed see to get it. It is the official site for Python and it also has tons of other goodies. Read the FAQ available there for more on Python.

In the end, I would like to say that programming is an aesthetic experience much like composing poetry or music. So it is something which cannot be spoon fed at schools and colleges (much to the dismay to the teacher's pets, I may add ;-))

*Note for TAG members*
If you respond to this mail please cc to lunatech3007 at as I am not on TAG mailing list.

Raj Shekhar
lunatech3007 at

Introductions to Python are listed at Also possibly useful:

Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 00:55:37 -0800
From: Nick Moffitt <>
Subject: Re: [linux-elitists] 32 essential computer books?

begin Karsten M. Self quotation:

A pity most Python books are so terrible. The O'Reilly ones were miserable, and Programming Python's only saving grace was Appendix E. Rip that out and re-bind it. It's a better book without all those hideous chapters in the way.

The New Riders Python Reference is great, but I direct most new Python programmers to and let them work the rest out from there.

[RM note, Oct. 2010: Since that page is now gone, consider the two "Introductions to Python" pages mentioned just above Nick's note. Grateful thanks to Tonya Silver for calling the broken link to my attention.]