It boils down to this: unless the damn thing includes strong AI, you need interoperability of sorts, at least with the mental models in the heads of programmers writing in that language. Learning a language means building such a mental implementation, just to be able to reason about the expected program behaviour. Without that people are reduced to cargo-culting their way through every problem and that's *not* a way to write well.
sh(1) sucked well before there had been other implementations (not that they had helped when they appeared) and in large part it had been caused by lack of predictability...
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