Freedom Languages — a seminal essay

Kevin Barnes has reframed the static vs. dynamic language debate in terms of their essential philosophical approaches: freedom vs. safety. This is the best analysis and exposition I have ever read. It definitely qualifies as a seminal work on this subject.

He has not only reframed the debate (correctly, in my opinion) but he has also distilled the essential ramifications of each side’s point of view.

Safety isn’t safe and freedom isn’t free

Both sets of languages are making tradeoffs about what they view as the most important features of a language. The freedom languages are choosing powerful feature sets and the safety languages favor clearer contracts and commonly readable syntax. These are choices about how best to achieve the goals of programming.

Many thanks to for bringing this excellent essay to my attention.


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