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Dennis Ritchie -- An Appreciation

 
 
sadsailor
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      10-21-2011

> Dann Corbit wrote:
>
>> C is the mother of the modern OO languages like C++


There is some truth in that, but you have to parse out the tidbit that is
true:

C is a mutha!



 
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Malcolm McLean
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      10-22-2011
On Oct 21, 7:17*pm, Kaz Kylheku <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> The core dictinctive C++ features are very similar to Simula, even
> in the terminology. Virtual functions, access specifiers like protected,
> etc.
>
> ``Simula 67 introduced objects, classes, subclasses, virtual methods,
> coroutines, discrete event simulation and features garbage collection.''
> [Wikipedia]
>
> With no coroutines or garbage collection, C++ looks like a step backwards..
>

A language is a compromise between theoretical purity, efficiency, and
compatibility.

C++ could be learnt in a day by anyone who knew C. It only added five
of six keywords. You also very easily call routines written in C, or
fiddle about with them to turn them into C++. It had a very catchy
name. It could be implemented without too much fuss as a front end to
C, and it was about as efficient as C. Coroutines and garbage
collection were presumably rejected for this reason.

It's very easy to propose a new language, and it's moderately easy to
implement one. What's hard is to get a substantial number of users.
Dennis Ritchie and Bjarne Strousup succeeded brilliantly, but Strousup
wouldn't have succeeded without leveraging Ritchie's achievement,
arguably unfairly (if C had been a brand of soda then doubtless
Ritchie would have sued for billions, but the computer industry
doesn't work like that).

 
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Bradley K. Sherman
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      10-22-2011
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Malcolm McLean <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> ...
>It's very easy to propose a new language, and it's moderately easy to
>implement one. What's hard is to get a substantial number of users.
>Dennis Ritchie and Bjarne Strousup succeeded brilliantly, but Strousup
>wouldn't have succeeded without leveraging Ritchie's achievement,
>arguably unfairly (if C had been a brand of soda then doubtless
>Ritchie would have sued for billions, but the computer industry
>doesn't work like that).
>


Correction: the computer industry *didn't* work like that.

--bks

 
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Kaz Kylheku
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      10-22-2011
On 2011-10-22, Malcolm McLean <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> It's very easy to propose a new language, and it's moderately easy to
> implement one. What's hard is to get a substantial number of users.


Getting users is a matter of historic accident, or of appealing to the masses
using factors which are either nontechnical, or in fact are technical
negatives.

The programming language with the most users is most probably Basic. Most
programmers can hardly name two other languages besides the one they (think
they) know; they did not make a decision that could be called informed.

MS-DOS had a substantial number of users. Q.E.D.

Eat ****; a billion flies can't be wrong?
 
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Ian Collins
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      10-22-2011
On 10/23/11 07:19 AM, Kaz Kylheku wrote:
> On 2011-10-22, Malcolm McLean<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> It's very easy to propose a new language, and it's moderately easy to
>> implement one. What's hard is to get a substantial number of users.

>
> Getting users is a matter of historic accident, or of appealing to the masses
> using factors which are either nontechnical, or in fact are technical
> negatives.


Languages gain users either through necessity to use a platform or
technology (.NET and JavaScript[1] for example), utility (C, C++ and
popular scripting languages) and specialised niches (Lisp and friends).
The ones that live on are in the latter two categories. How many
people will still be using .NET once its owners get board and move on?

Languages that live on are those whose evolution isn't driven by one vendor.

> The programming language with the most users is most probably Basic. Most
> programmers can hardly name two other languages besides the one they (think
> they) know; they did not make a decision that could be called informed.
>
> MS-DOS had a substantial number of users. Q.E.D.


How many people us it now its owners are board and move on?

[1] JavaScript should probably bi in the third category.

--
Ian Collins
 
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Nick Keighley
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      10-23-2011
On Oct 22, 3:57*pm, Malcolm McLean <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
> On Oct 21, 7:17*pm, Kaz Kylheku <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > The core dictinctive C++ features are very similar to Simula, even
> > in the terminology. Virtual functions, access specifiers like protected,
> > etc.

>
> > ``Simula 67 introduced objects, classes, subclasses, virtual methods,
> > coroutines, discrete event simulation and features garbage collection.''
> > [Wikipedia]

>
> > With no coroutines or garbage collection, C++ looks like a step backwards.

>
> A language is a compromise between theoretical purity, efficiency, and
> compatibility.
>
> C++ could be learnt in a day by anyone who knew C.


when! Stroustrup e1? I've been at it a decade or so and I don't
consider myself completly familiar with C++. Template meta-programming
anyone!

> It only added five of six keywords.


a damn sight more than that!

this, public, private, protected, class, virtual, template, exception,
catch, try, operator...

> You also very easily call routines written in C, or
> fiddle about with them to turn them into C++. It had a very catchy
> name. It could be implemented without too much fuss as a front end to
> C, and it was about as efficient as C. Coroutines and garbage
> collection were presumably rejected for this reason.
>
> It's very easy to propose a new language, and it's moderately easy to
> implement one. What's hard is to get a substantial number of users.
> Dennis Ritchie and Bjarne Strousup succeeded brilliantly, but Strousup
> wouldn't have succeeded without leveraging Ritchie's achievement,
> arguably unfairly (if C had been a brand of soda then doubtless
> Ritchie would have sued for billions, but the computer industry
> doesn't work like that).


thank <deity>

imagine if mathematicians could sue... The Greeks would own the world.

 
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Nick Keighley
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      10-23-2011
On Oct 23, 9:32*am, "io_x" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> "Charles Richmond" <(E-Mail Removed)> ha scritto nel messaggionews:j7qmph$evt$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> > "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive;
> > but it is lightning that does the work."

>
> L'ape piccola tra gli esseri alati,
> ma il suo prodotto ha il primato fra i dolci sapori.
> * * * * * * * * * * * * Sir {11: 3}


<google translate>

"The bee is small among flying creatures,
but its product has primacy among the sweet flavors."

cute
 
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James Kuyper
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      10-23-2011
On 10/22/2011 10:57 AM, Malcolm McLean wrote:
....
> C++ could be learnt in a day by anyone who knew C. ...


Perhaps it could, under the right circumstances - science fictional
concepts like machines or drugs that implant information directly in
your head come to mind. I doubt, however, that such speed learning is
the norm in the real world.

I was already very familiar with C when I first learned C++. I
immediately recognized the value of many of the new features offered by
C++. I have a long history of rapidly acquiring new computer languages,
and the amount of time it took me to learn C++ is an example of that -
but the amount of time was a lot longer than a single day. It took
longer than that for me just to finish reading a detailed description of
the new features.

> ... It only added five
> of six keywords.


I'm curious: which of the following C++ keywords are the "five or six"
you were thinking of? When did you first learn of the keyword status of
any of the other 26 keywords in this list? I've heard that 'const',
'volatile' and 'inline' were only added to C after borrowing them from
C++, though I can't personally vouch for the truth of that assertion.
None of the other items on this list has ever been a C keyword (though
the asm keyword is marked in Annex J as a common C extension.

asm
bool
catch
class
const
const_cast
dynamic_cast
explicit
export
false
friend
inline
mutable
namespace
new
operator
private
protected
public
reinterpret_cast
static_assert
static_cast
template
this
throw
true
try
typeid
typename
using
virtual
volatile
wchar_t
--
James Kuyper
 
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Frederick Williams
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      10-23-2011
Kaz Kylheku wrote:

> The programming language with the most users is most probably Basic.


Which of its one hundred mutually incompatible varieties?

--
When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by
this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift: Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting
 
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Malcolm McLean
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      10-23-2011
On Oct 23, 4:28*pm, James Kuyper <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 10/22/2011 10:57 AM, Malcolm McLean wrote:
> ...
>
> > C++ could be learnt in a day by anyone who knew C. ...

>
> Perhaps it could, under the right circumstances.
>

I learnt it in a day. I bought a little book describing C++ for C
programmers, and read it on the bus. By the time the bus journey had
ended, I'd read the book and knew C++.

However that was when it was still quite new, before it had ballooned
into what it is now.




 
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