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

Perry E. Metzger perry at piermont.com
Tue Aug 26 11:51:50 PDT 2008

"Peter St. John" <peter.st.john at gmail.com> writes:
> Just for the sake of historicity for those less -- chronologically
> enhanced-- than RGB or myself, the joke is attributed to Stroustroup, not
> Thompson.
> 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)

Linus wrote a new POSIX kernel. He did not "port" any form of the
existing Unix kernel. (There were already real Unixes (that is,
descendants of the v7 codebase) that were ported to the x86 when Linux
was born.)

> 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.

It started in the early or mid-1980s (I forget which) as "C with
Classes" and then evolved (or some might say metastasized). Originally
it was implemented with a preprocessor in front of C (appropriately
enough called "cfront" IIRC), though the first direct implementations
showed up by the early 1990s.

> As of C89 (I think) the // comment delimiter is in C;

No. C89 (the first ANSI C) did not have // as a comment character.

> 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,

I'm not a fan of C++. Many other old Unix hands are also not fans. C++
is sometimes a necessary evil, but it is rarely a pleasure.

Perry E. Metzger		perry at piermont.com

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