[Beowulf] g77 limits...

Gerry Creager N5JXS gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Tue Feb 28 06:19:29 PST 2006

I can't believe that, after this learned discourse, you've managed to 
avoid the classics like perl and php!


Robert G. Brown wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Feb 2006, Jeremy Baker wrote:
>> I've read the preceding posts and wonder what should be the first three
>> languages that I might study from a general perspective? Perhaps I should
>> approach three contrasting languages, and I surmise Fortran and C 
>> represent
>> contrast? What type of Fortran would be a good start? Reference was 
>> made to
>> many types of languages, I tried to glean what I could, but being a
>> greenhorn to CS I was not able to recognize which codes were derivatives.
>> Any advice or suggestions?
> Oh, I'm full of advice here...
> First a disclaimer.  You question has so many answers there is no
> answer.  All that any replies can do is help you make choices.
> Now that I've gotten that out of the way... let me tell you what to
> do and ignore all those others who will reply.  Hah!  What do THEY
> know...:-)
> Seriously -- I don't know what "a general perspective" means, so let me
> make a short list of languages to study depending on what you want to
> get out of them.
> If you are interested in operating systems or general purpose
> application development on linux boxes, learn C, C, C and C.  C was
> co-invented by the same people that invented Unix (sorta) and the two
> have co-developed ever since.  The kernel is in C (for any unix you
> could name, pretty much).  The basic unix toolset is in C.  Device
> drivers are in C.  At a guess, 90% of the application code base in e.g.
> Fedora Core or Centos is in C, with some honorable mention apps in LIST
> and C++ or scripting languages.  If you are feeling adventurous or long
> for structure and protection from the harshnesses of C, you can always
> tack C++ on top of C, but start with C or you'll never learn about
> pointers and raw structs as you get lost in classes and the "C++ way".
> If you are interested in doing numerical stuff, you will probably want
> to learn Fortran first (however revolting the idea as it SUCKS for doing
> "real application" development, I'm sorry, no real apologies to fortran
> enthusiasts out there).  However, as Greg has pointed out Fortran
> compilers are marginally more efficient than C compilers for numerical
> code, there is a HUGE numerical code base in fortran, lots of numerical
> libraries with a fortran interface, and honestly for certain classes of
> numerical application it is well suited.  C and/or C++ are also
> increasingly used for numerics though (the Gnu Scientific Library has a
> C interface), and unless you are serious about doing lots of scientific
> coding you're probably better off doing C or possibly C++ first instead.
> If you are less concerned about existing application code or operating
> systems, and just want a language that is well-structured and friendly
> to developing NEW applications, C++ is a good choice.  If you learn it
> first, you will be mystified by a lot of C code, but people who learn it
> first tend to be perfectly happy with it and often never bother to learn
> C.  It is well-suited for application development where the tool works
> with data structures that can be thought of as "objects" that can be
> created, destroyed, and manipulated according to certain rules.  It is
> somewhat less well-suited (in my opinion, mind you, others would argue)
> to writing "procedural" code where the data objects are simple and
> straightforward (e.g. numerics where Fortran rules with C/C++ coming in
> second).  Its rules also form something of a straightjacket -- your
> protection and structure come at a small price in creativity,
> unless/until you learn BOTH C and C++ and can use the embedded power of
> C in your C++ code, breaking the rules as it were.  I think it is
> much easier to learn C++ first, but probably better overall to really
> mastet C and then move on to C++.  But some people who reply (who
> generally followed this latter path) are better qualified to remark on
> this.
> These three are the only compilers I'd advise learning.  There are other
> interesting choices, sure, but very small code bases and much more
> specialized application spaces for any of them, and I'd honestly suggest
> that you start with just one based on what your needs are and the
> descriptions above.
> However, I'd strongly suggest that you learn at least one scripting
> language from the choice of perl and python.  The question of which one
> is best is an open invitation to Jihad, so I will avoid it.  perl is the
> more C-like of the two -- good for procedural programming, a LOT of the
> language syntax and library calls are thin wrappers on top of the C
> calls, but it has significant enhancements, e.g. inline regular
> expression parsing.  python is the more object-oriented of the two (and
> more structured) with somewhat fascist rules for writing the actual
> code (but much protection gained from following them).  There are tons
> or very useful applications written in both.  You can do web-apps (CGI)
> in both.
> java would be (in my opinion) a distant third choice because of the
> encumbrances and general PITA associated with putting the language
> interpreter on a machine -- java is only "pseudo"free code as Sun keeps
> it pretty strictly controlled and Microsoft is in a constant war with
> Sun to try to co-opt it or replace it.  There is plenty of code written
> in it, nonetheless, including a smattering of numerical code.  If you
> are interested in web-development it, or a perl-like OPEN SOURCE OPEN
> STANDARD language called PHP are not terrible choices, php WAY before
> java.
> bash programming is always useful if you're interested in doing sysadmin
> work or systems programming as opposed to numerical or application
> programming.
> So I'd recommend some pattern like:
> [Fortran,perl,bash]  (numerical focus, unstructured, some systems)
> [C,perl,bash] (general purpose, unstructured, lots of systems work)
> [C++,python,] (general purpose, structured, no systems work)
> or the like...  Don't try to tackle too compilers at once -- you'll go
> mad.  Learn one well, THEN tackle number two..., and you can leverage
> what you learn from the one in the other(s).
>    rgb
>> -- 
>> Jeremy Baker
>> SBN 634
>> 337 College Hill
>> Johnson, VT
>> 05656

Gerry Creager -- gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Texas Mesonet -- AATLT, Texas A&M University	
Cell: 979.229.5301 Office: 979.458.4020 FAX: 979.862.3983
Office: 1700 Research Parkway Ste 160, TAMU, College Station, TX 77843

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