ProgrammingThis forum is for all programming questions.
The question does not have to be directly related to Linux and any language is fair game.
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Each language has its pros and cons which results in them being more or less suited for various programming tasks. It's "horses for courses" meaning there is no best horse -- it depends which course they are running on.
For learning ? Well, I'd vote for python, it's easy to learn. Ruby is ok too. PHP is mostly for web sites, are you planning on making web sites ?
I would agree about python being easier to learn. Once you learn it, some of the fundamental concepts of programming will cross over to the other languages. It is also more of a general purpose language (From websites to graphical programs to computer administration), where PHP, for example, is specific to the web. Python has a python interpreter, which you may use to explore commands. When learning a language learn about IDEs or Integrated Development Environments. Most have syntax highlighting, which helps you understand how the code works, and helps you catch errors.
One of the things I did when trying to choose a language was googling: "ruby vs python" or "PHP vs Perl" You will get people who feel strongly for one language over anther, (horses for courses ~katkin) but you will get a feeling for why people prefer one over the others. It will help you build your own perception of the computer languages.
The one piece of advice I would offer is "Choose carefully, and learn completely", then move on to other languages if you are curious about them.