Re: Bliss (Charles Simmons)
25 Jul 87 01:13:38 GMT

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From: (Charles Simmons)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 25 Jul 87 01:13:38 GMT
References: <331@hubcap.UUCP>
Organization: Amdahl Corp, Sunnyvale CA

In article <331@hubcap.UUCP> (Steve (D.E.) Stevenson) writes:
>Question: What are the causes of [Bliss'] demise and what are the causes of

What makes a programming language popular (in the sense of widely used)?
Well, FORTRAN is probably popular because it was essentially the first
programming language developed and it was being pushed by IBM which
made it widely available. COBOL is widely used because it was standarized
by the government and sold by IBM which made it widely available. PL1
was widely used (though not nearly as much as COBOL or FORTRAN) because
it was pushed by IBM and thus widely available. (Notice that IBM is
no longer strongly pushing PL1. When IBM talks about SAA, they mention
COBOL, FORTRAN, and C, but not PL1 as standard languages that will
be supported in a standard fashion on a variety of machines.)

Basic is/was widely used in the world of micro computers because it
is easy to implement and hence widely available. Similar comments
apply to Pascal.

C is widely used because it is strongly associated with Unix. Since
Unix is written in a high-level language, it is far more portable than
most operating systems. Hence, Unix, and thus C, is widely available
and hence widely used.

To summarize, a language becomes popular by being widely available.
Wide availability implies that either the language is being pushed
by IBM and/or the government, or the language is easy to implement,
or the language is highly portable.

Do any of these criteria apply to Bliss?

-- Chuck Simmons
[For a while it looked like Bliss was going to be DEC's system language, and
they even write some Fortran compilers in it. Evidently that wasn't enough.
I contend that an important part of the success of Fortran, Cobol, and C is
that each makes it possible to kludge around various limitations. Compare
that to, say, pre-ANSI Pascal or APL. -John]

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