Re: OT: Why is C so popular?
On Wed, 2003-08-27 at 01:54, Loren M Lang wrote:
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> On Wed, 27 Aug 2003, Alex Malinovich wrote:
> > The recent COBOL discussion has gotten me to thinking. Some languages
> > seem to be very popular in some situations. C is easily the dominant
> > language for most things Linux. So therein lies the question. Why,
> > exactly, is C so popular? Especially in comparison to C++. I can't think
> > of a single reason to use C instead of C++ for most of the coding that I
> > would do. I generally only write user applications. I don't get anywhere
> > near the kernel which is where I'd imagine most of the reason for using
> > C comes in. Yet I see people writing 'modern' GUI applications and using
> > C when I would think C++ would be a much better choice. Is there
> > something that I'm missing? Something that C actually does better than
> > C++ in regards to higher-level functions?
> I can think of a few reasons myself:
> 1) Compatibility
> 2) Speed
> 3) Portability
It's only compatible and portable on similar platforms. Any C
code that chock full of Linux system calls won't portable to any
other platform unless a (gasp) compatibility layer is written 1st.
Same thing happens with glibc. There are functions in it which
are non-portable to Solaris, AIX & HP-UX, not to mention non-Unix
Bottom line: I can write user-level C code that is *highly* de-
pendant on a given OS and libc implementation.
COBOL and FORTRAN are probably the 2 most portable languages, since
they are so highly specified, and there are always compiler options
to flag implementation extensions.
Python is *very* portable, but even it has platform-specific
functions. It's relatively easy, though, to compensate with run-
time conditional execution.
Given that the app programmer is adequately skilled and uses the
proper algorithms, speed is dependent upon the compiler writer's
skill, nothing more.
Ron Johnson, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jefferson, LA USA
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