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[OT] reminiscing about RISC OS...

On Sun, 2005-01-09 at 03:47 +1100, Sam Watkins wrote:
> I think we would end up with much better software if all developers
> were forced to use old, slow computers :)  I remember how good and
> fast the software was on my old RISC OS Acorn with 4MB RAM
> (Impression, Sibelius, Artworks).  Something is seriously wrong with
> the way people write software these days!

On Sat, Jan 08, 2005 at 04:12:14PM -0600, Ron Johnson wrote:
> I have to somewhat disagree.  Much modern software just *does 
> more*(1) than, and is more integrated with the DE, than old(2)
> software.  

The RISC OS software I mentioned is better than similar modern software,
I have not seen any equivalent modern software which I would prefer.

Sibelius, for example, is an absolutely top-notch music scorewriting
program.  Artworks is a vector-drawing program which is better than
anything else I have seen.  Impression was a very good, easy to use
desktop-publishing / word-processing program.  All of these programs
used good quality anti-aliasing and ran quickly on an 8Mhz CPU.

Similar "modern" software runs very slowly on my 200Mhz PC, because it
is poorly written in inadequate programming languages.

As for the "DE", anyone who has used RISC OS can only feel contempt for
modern desktop environments.  For example, RISC OS uses drag-and-drop to
save files, which means you can keep filer windows for the relevant
working directories open, and simply drag an icon to them to save, and
drag icons between applications to transfer them.  Much unnecessary
browsing was avoided.  This is the feature of RISC OS I miss most.

The quality of the RISC OS GUI in general, and the user-interfaces of
the applications, was very very high, much better than anything else I
have seen.  All KDE and Gnome developers should be compelled to acquire
and play with an old RISC OS box, so they can stop imitating microsoft
and playing creeping-featuretris, and learn the right way to do it!

> And don't forget that s/w written in C++ is larger and slower
> than C programs.

All of that software I mentioned was written in ARM code, not C.
Kind of sucks if you want to port it to a different CPU,
but the ARM is the best CPU anyway, who needs the others ;)

Better stop reminiscing about the good old days...

> But yes, VM can make people sloppy.  OTOH, it can allow them to
> write easier-to-read s/w, because of the lack of need to write
> dense, hard to debug, code that wrings the last bit of speed out 
> of the box.

True, but contemporary code is next to unreadable anyway, due to poor
languages and libraries.

C, C++, java, perl are definitely not "easy to read".  I would say they
are gratuitously difficult to read, especially perl.  Python can be
almost easy to read.  I understand pliant and haskell are pretty good,
but I don't know them very well.  ARM code isn't all that readable ;)

I'm working on an "easy to read" language, similar to C / C++
(it translates into C / C++).  Currently I'm implementing macros and
efficient co-routines, which latter are fairly hairy to implement in C,
so no one uses them.  Co-routines are the best :)

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