Talk by Herb Sutter: Bridge to NewThingia

Russel Winder russel at
Fri Jul 3 18:45:57 UTC 2020

On Thu, 2020-07-02 at 18:22 +0000, Dibyendu Majumdar via Digitalmars-d-
announce wrote:
> So why was Java successful? It was not compatible with an 
> existing language.

Java has a weird history compared to other languages. It switched from white
goods programming language to browser programming language just at the moment
a large number of academics world wide were getting dissatisfied with
Pascal/C/C++/Scheme/Miranda/OCaml as the set of languages to choose from to
teach first year programming. It very rapidly failed as a browser language,
but switched wonderfully quickly to be a virtual machine based general
programming language. Timing is everything here… a large number of academic
jumped on the Java bandwagon, so a large number of undergraduates were forced
to learn it. There was a period in late 1990s and early 2000s when every CS
graduate knew Java, and, to the eternal shame of academics, no other
programming language.

The second part of the success, at least in London, was the dissatisfaction of
many in the finance industry with Smalltalk. They saw Java, and the number of
Java programmers being produced by academic and switched to Java. The rest, as
they say, is history.

> Neither Rust nor Go are compatible with C++.
> Rust, D and Go are all compatible with C in some sense.

C is the portable assembly language of computing, any high level programming
language that cannot use C APIs is a dead language.

> Basically Herb is claiming to succeed a language must be able to 
> be a drop in replacement for C++ in a mix-match way. I think it 
> is a fallacy.

Herb does have a (not exactly) hidden agenda that C++ is the one true
programming language.

> There is no single recipe that will make a language successful.

Very true.

Dr Russel Winder      t: +44 20 7585 2200
41 Buckmaster Road    m: +44 7770 465 077
London SW11 1EN, UK   w:

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