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Re: languages

From: Luis Araujo
Subject: Re: languages
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2006 20:23:48 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20060805)

Jonathan S. Shapiro wrote:
Ousterhout's talk is now a long time ago, and it is interesting to look
at how the landscape has changed since then. Consider:

Less than 10 years isn't a long time ago, and i doubt his basic ideas have changed during this time.

There are (at least) two classes of "scripting" languages:

  1. The ones where declaring types is optional or impossible
     (e.g. lua)
  2. The ones where even fields and variables are declared implicitly
     (e.g. python)

Both of which already existed when Ousterhout gave the talk. So, i think it isn't fair to try to discredit the guy with this argument. [1]

And then, in Ousterhout's comparison, there are statically typed
languages like C. Osterhout's objections to C are largely incorrect. On
the one hand, C does *not* provide strong typing. On the other,
Ousterhout seems to miss the elements of "convenience" and
"abstraction" (which is essential for reuse), both of which are very
important to the success of scripting languages.

Miss it?, but he even keeps talking about it. [1]

I was never convinced by Ousterhout's argument -- at the time I was
working in the language tools group at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and our
observation was that no program *ever* ends up staying 10-20 lines over
its lifetime, and if you don't plain to maintain from the start you are
doomed. But even if you *do* accept his argument, it's worthwhile to
notice that the programming landscape has changed, and the argument may
no longer be true today.

Though i never meant to bring a language polemic here with my comments, but better to use them as an analogy for our current OS state, i still doubt his (Ousterhout) arguments in the programming languages field are less valid (and it might actually sound ironic) than those arguments (usually more deprecated and obsoletes) present in the operating system community nowadays.



[1] http://www.tcl.tk/doc/scripting.html

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