[TUHS] History of popularity of C

Brantley Coile brantley at coraid.com
Sun Jun 7 20:02:23 AEST 2020

This might register low on the useful information index, but I decided a few years back as VC Coraid was coming apart and New Coraid was being resurrected under the auspices of SouthSuite Inc., that I would have a C mono-culture and use the language for everything. Specifically no JavaScript and no Python.

Our website is written in C. Webpages generated on the server side using C. Our evolving ERP is written in C. Our subscription system is written in C. Our test systems are written in it. All work quite well.

The focus on C was for three main reasons. First, our products are infrastructure products and are meant to be simple, fast, and affordable. Forty-two years of experience plus C gives us the ability to squeeze all the performance possible from any hardware platform. We "see" the instructions our code will generate. C is a great choice for that. (As would have been Oberon, but that's another discussion.)

Second, if instead of having a set of complex languages, each with its own adherents, using a single language removes all the distracting and divisive language wars having multiple complex languages create. Little language like AWK and the shell script are fine. It's the more complex ones that divide people.

Lastly, a single, powerful, simple (on the other side of complexity) language that a single person can maintain is essential to our Software Atelier model of doing business. Like the workshops of the renaissance, we have to understand and work on all our own tools. I use Ken's C compiler under Plan 9. It weights in at a light, 20K lines of code.

As I said, I'm not sure how useful this data point is for you. Over the last thirty years I carefully chose my foot falls through the software swamp to avoid getting sucked under by one of the quagmires of complexity.


> On Jun 7, 2020, at 5:22 AM, Andy Kosela <akosela at andykosela.com> wrote:
> On 6/7/20, arnold at skeeve.com <arnold at skeeve.com> wrote:
>> Ed Carp <erc at pobox.com> wrote:
>>> "Arnold once told that there is more demand for C developers
>>> in Israel. I envy you"
>> The market in Israel for software developers is VERY hot.
>> Based entirely on the emails I get from Linked-In about jobs that may
>> interest me, there's some C, but a lot more C++, both Windows and Linux.
>> Also a lot of Python.
> Seriously, is anyone still doing any real development in C besides
> kernel programming and embedded world??  Maybe I was living under a
> rock, but I always had an impression that the industry moved to C++ in
> the late 90s and stayed with it ever since.
> The last bastion of C was open source Linux/*BSD programming but I
> remember the time when C was a truly universal programming language
> used for _everything_ including games (e.g. Doom).  Maybe I just miss
> the 90s.
> --Andy

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