Re: What makes a language popular?

Eugene Miya N. <!eugene@ames.UUCP>
Mon, 24 Aug 87 17:57:25 pdt

          From comp.compilers

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Re: What makes a language popular?!eugene@ames.UUCP (Eugene Miya N.) (1987-08-24)
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Date: Mon, 24 Aug 87 17:57:25 pdt
From: Eugene Miya N. <!eugene@ames.UUCP>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Organization: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
References: <331@hubcap.UUCP> <627@ima.ISC.COM> <638@ima.ISC.COM>

>>>Pascal: The universally recognized standard reference is Jensen and Wirth.
>> . . .
>>Since 1981, there has been an ANSI standard for Pascal ...

Apparently, John lost my note, so permit me to reconstruct my thoughts
on this. While "well designed, well intentioned, simple designs" are
neat, but I have never "felt" that this was why languages became popular.

I started attending ANSI Pascal meetings in 1978. I knew very little about
language/language design at the time, but I learned a lot from some people
I have a great deal of respect for all of them. They were some of the
sharpest technical people I have had the pleasure of meeting. [P.S.
they are all terrible (they would not make good) bureaucrats (most, probably
great compiler writers)]. Fun group of people.

While there is some truth to simple design, I would say the vast majority
of the reason for the popularity of languages is the availability of
cheap front-ends. The P4 Pascal front-end and the pcc, probably did more
for those languages than simple design [I preferred C even before
my ANSI experience]. The majority of Pascal compilers began with the P4
front-end. The same went for C and the pcc. There is alot to be said
for fast implementations. There is a lot to be said for getting
something out to the market place quickly, even if the quality is not

--eugene miya
    NASA Ames Research Center

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