Monday, November 07, 2011

Punk rock languages

I love Chris Adamson's description of Punk Rock Languages. His introduction should get your blood flowing:

That C has won the end-user practicality battle is obvious to everyone except developers.

The year is 1978, and the first wave of punk rock is reaching its nihilistic peak with infamous U.K. band the Sex Pistols touring the United States and promptly breaking up by the time they reach the West Coast. Elsewhere, Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie are putting the finishing touches on their book The C Programming Language, which will become the de facto standardization of the language for years. While totally unrelated, these two events share a common bond: the ethos of both punk rock and C have lasted for decades, longer than anyone in 1978 could possibly have imagined.

And in many important ways, C is the programmer’s punk rock: it’s fast, messy, dangerous, and perfectly willing to kick your ass, but it’s also an ideal antidote to the pretensions and vanities that plague so many new programming languages. In an era of virtual machines and managed environments, C is the original Punk Rock Language.

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