I just viewed an intro video by Jim Hugunin about IronPython, Microsoft's rendition of Python on the .NET platform, and I am stunned.
I predict that this is going to have a huge impact in several ways.
First, Python is interesting in that it is quickly becoming the only language that can actually deliver on the "run anywhere" promise of Java (and the C language before it). Java does not run anywhere and neither did C, however, Python can run on pretty much any platform, right out of the box, PLUS (thanks to Jim), it can run inside Java (as Jython) and now by being integrated into .NET is can run anywhere .NET is. To me, that is very impressive. As a programmer it is now possible to take my favorite language with me no matter what project I am working on.
Second, the fact that IronPython is a .NET language means that it runs seamlessly inside Visual Studio. Whether or not you see that as a plus, I think it is definately a plus for those people who use Visual Studio and like it. It also makes them much more likely to give IronPython a try.
Third, .NET gives Python a fighting chance of being accepted in the most restrictive pro-proprietary corporate and government IT shops. A lot of apps that are being written with the .NET moniker are actually Visual Basic apps (ugh!). Now, IronPython as a real .NET language offers a really viable choice to developers, and let's face it, if it's OK to write in Visual Basic then it's got to be OK to write in Python. Right?
I know there are many other benefits, but those are the ones that are coming to mind right now, and frankly I have to go now because I need to play around with IronPython. Very cool.