[TUHS] Happy birthday, John Backus!
robpike at gmail.com
Mon Dec 3 14:27:20 AEST 2018
To the author of the first message, the one who called Fortran an
On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 3:11 PM Toby Thain <toby at telegraphics.com.au> wrote:
> On 2018-12-02 8:32 PM, Rob Pike wrote:
> > Fortran was a marvel. Don't judge it by today's ideas about language
> The 1977 lecture was by John Backus, not me, so I'm confused who that's
> directed at.
> > -rob
> > On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 9:34 AM Toby Thain <toby at telegraphics.com.au
> > <mailto:toby at telegraphics.com.au>> wrote:
> > On 2018-12-02 5:17 PM, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> > > As every computer programmer should know, John Backus was emitted
> > > 1924; he gave us the BNF syntax (he is the "B"), but he also gave
> > > that FORTRAN obscenity... Yeah, it was a nice language at the
> > time; the
> > > engineers loved it, but tthe computer scientists hated it (have
> > you ever
> > > tried to debug a FORTRAN program that somebody else wrote?).
> > He made amends by being early to recognise that problem, and propose
> > solutions, in his 1977 ACM Turing Award lecture (still perfectly
> > relevant today):
> > --Toby
> > >
> > > Trivia: there is no way that FORTRAN can be described in any
> > syntax; it
> > > is completely ad-hoc.
> > >
> > > -- Dave
> > >
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