Re: Stroustrup's Confession (bogus?)

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 22 Mar 1998 15:17:22 +0300 (MSK)

On Sat, 21 Mar 1998, Geoff Smith wrote:

> [...]
> wondered about the merits of C++ myself), and they are very important in
> determining whether the software industry may be burdened by entropic
> languages.

Hey, the mainstream software industry _thrives_ on entropic languages. The
choices are entirely irrational, as we didn't use:

- Lisp/Scheme: yeah, Real Men get scared of parentheses. TI Explorer:
Lisp machines' Waterloo
- Forth: a very extropic (expressive/protean) language/OS -- write-only
only for weenies
- Oberon 2: very quiche, but also very small, safe and powerful
- Smalltalk: requires no intro

but instead we got stuck with:

- Fortran: Real Men do it with arrays
- Cobol: the anti-hacker language par excellence; y2k
- PL/I: <shudder>
- Ada: Star Wars, indeed
- Basic: billge's beloved language
- C/UNIX: which only looks good if compared to the others in this list. Oh
yes, Real Programmer's code never bombs, and is perfectly portable.
- C++: C-derived PL/I clone.
- Java: the ucsd-p of the 90's

Ok, we've got Python and Perl -- but these are not mainstream software
developer's languages.

> I know there are lots of programmers on this list-- what do you think of
> the idea of a language putting a burden on expression? (maybe this

A language puts indeed a very tight reign on expressivity. Forth, one of
the most expressive languages I am aware of, routinely modifies the
compiler (can you do it with gcc?) and language syntax -- having a very
steep abstraction gradient it lets you define an application language.

> question is also a linguistic/philsophical one... if everyone switched
> to Esperanto, would this increase the efficiency of communication?)

Most people can't learn second languages very well. Besides, we _have_ a
lingua franca already. While I never understood why they dropped Latin for
frogspeak -- let's stick to English, it is a simple enough language.