[Beowulf] Re: Beowulf Digest, Vol 54, Issue 46

Peter St. John peter.st.john at gmail.com
Tue Aug 26 11:08:51 PDT 2008

Just for the sake of historicity for those less -- chronologically
enhanced-- than RGB or myself, the joke is attributed to Stroustroup, not

1. Ken Thompson wrote B (late 60's). Really minimal. Based largely on BCPL,
but minimal, ergo "B".
2. Ken wrote Unix, in assembler.
3. Dennis Ritchie wrote C (sucessor to "B") to be usably featurefull (you
can read the entire definition of B in a few minutes, at
http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/kbman.html, which has been scanned and
cleaned up since I last saw it).
4. Ken and Dennis rewrote unix together in C. (Torvalds ported the kernel to
the x86 architecture, with an open license, unlike earlier ports; Pavel
Curtis ported X, lots of people subsequently did too many too wonderful
helpful things, etc)
5. Stroustrup wrote C++ (which in C means, "the sucessor of C", that is, the
increment operator; so continues the joking naming convention). The name
"C++" is something of a joke, and it's sorta funny that it's not "++C" (give
you the value after incrementing, instead of before) and it is way more
featureful than Ritchie's usablility requirement.

As of C89 (I think) the // comment delimiter is in C; for awhile that whas
the only thing in C++  we all gladly adopted when writing K&R C for a C++
compiler :-) Ritchie apologizes for omimtting //. Similarly, THompson
apologizes for "creat" nomenclature. ("create").

I myself am glad to have functions (methods) associated with structures
(classes), it's great organizationally. However, I have never writeen:
cout << foo << '\n'
and I never will, other than to illustrate what I don't do. I have no idea
how that looks wholesome in Stoustrup's world view, definitely he has huge
amounts of language-designer wisdom which I myself do not, but it's not
necessary. stdio and stdlib are still there and they still work.  Sometimes
it takes me awhile to read someone else's C++, but sometimes it takes me
awhile to read someone else's C, and sometimes it takes me a while to read
my own :-) Neither language (or, neither subset) obliges clarity, and
neither prevents it.


On 8/26/08, Robert G. Brown <rgb at phy.duke.edu> wrote:
> On Tue, 26 Aug 2008, Kyle Spaans wrote:
>  On Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 09:22:39PM +0100, Alcides Simao wrote:
>>> Isn't C++ a hoax? I mean, Ken Thompson admitted it was just a joke...
>>> In paralell computing, it must be quite a BIG joke!
>> I sure hope not! The ``Parallel & Concurrent Programming'' class[1] at my
>> school
>> uses a language called uC++ to teach us concepts. I'll be taking the class
>> in
>> another year or so.
>> [1] http://www.student.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~cs343/<http://www.student.cs.uwaterloo.ca/%7Ecs343/>
> But wait, there is this:
>  http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Beowulf/c++_interview/c++_interview.html<http://www.phy.duke.edu/%7Ergb/Beowulf/c++_interview/c++_interview.html>
> which says it all, far better than I could ever say it...;-)
>   rgb
> --
> Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
> Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
> Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
> Web: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb <http://www.phy.duke.edu/%7Ergb>
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