[TUHS] History of popularity of C

Toby Thain toby at telegraphics.com.au
Wed May 27 01:19:19 AEST 2020

On 2020-05-26 12:21 AM, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> On Sat, 23 May 2020, Clem Cole wrote:
>> [...]  Pascal tries to be the answer, but I think it suffered from the
>> fact that it makes Pascal a production quality language, you had a
>> extend it and everybody's extensions were different.
> Perhaps I'm the only one here, but when I was taught Pascal (possibly by
> Dr. Lions himself) it was emphasised to us that it was not a production
> language bur a *teaching* language; you designed your algorithm,
> debugged it with the Pascal compiler, then hand-translated it into your
> favourite language (and debugged it again :-/).

Prof. Knuth came up with an interesting solution to that -- in the
process, inventing (or maturing) the concept of "literate programming".

Perhaps it's not well known that his most widely used programs (e.g.
TeX) were written in something VERY close to standard Pascal
(preprocessing aside). The translation to C (as required by certain
platforms) was mechanical.


> That damned "pre-fill read buffer" was always a swine with interactive
> sessions, though; I recall Andrew Hume threatening to insert a keyboard
> into the terminal's CRT if he saw that "?" prompt on the Cyber...
> -- Dave

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