Re: Stroustrup's Confession (bogus?)

Erik Moeller (
Sun, 22 Mar 1998 16:39:40 +0100

>- Basic: billge's beloved language

If this was true, we should have a decent, *compiling* BASIC by now.
BASIC is very important for computers, because it allows semi-programmers to
write little programs for everyday work without having to dig into tons of
manuals. I learned BASIC at the age of 8 without any handbook or
introduction, just by looking at examples. That doesn't mean that I'm an
especially bright guy, but that BASIC is suitable for anyone, even kids can
learn it. Actually, we'd need a more simplified, natural-language-like and
object-oriented compilable version of BASIC bundled with every PC. Visual
Basic is absolute crap [TM] -- needs runtimes, is incredibly slow and you
can't even write a Breakout Clone with it.

There need to be two main program languages for any system: One for the very
beginners, but still very powerful and performant. Just a reduced
instruction set and a more human-oriented way of semantic representation.
Another one for the bigger projects, but even this language should be easy
to learn and to handle. I know of no language suitable for either purpose on
today's operating systems. The BASICs we have are ridiculous -- I can do far
more with DOS' Power Basic -- and C++ is hardly readable and hard to learn.
Anyway, BASIC certainly does not deserve it to be treated with three words.
It *is* useful, only Bill's version of it isn't.

>- Java: the ucsd-p of the 90's

Besides the P-Machine I do not see many parallels here. Java is, AFAIK, more
object-oriented, gives more possibilities to program UIs and has now decent
database support, too.

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

Don't forget Tcl/TK for developing simple graphical UIs.

>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.

It's the most popular language, but that doesn't make it the ideal one. I
don't know enough about Esperanto to like it, but as I dig into Japanese, I
find that it offers many advantages to other languages, with the drawback of
unnecessary politeness verbs. (It is, in many aspects, more simple than
English, you don't have to worry about pronouns so much.) It would be nice
to have a language which also represents a more liberal worldview towards
things. For example, I actually see little purpose in diferring between man
and woman. Some Newspeak, anyone?

Erik Moeller