Most popular programming languages 1965-2019 (visualised)

Chris wendlec at
Fri Oct 11 11:08:55 UTC 2019

On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 10:40:13 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad 
> On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 08:06:02 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad 
> wrote:
>> Keep in mind that 1986 was the heyday of 8-bit computers, low 
>> on memory and diskette for storage in a blooming small business
> Expanding on this so younger people understand the difference 
> between the 80s and now.
> 1981-1986 were a period where personal computing became 
> available and small businesses were able to purchase computers 
> (with or without a tiny hard drive). This is kinda the 8/16 bit 
> computing era. Many of these computers shipped with BASIC 
> available. In the beginning when there was little software 
> available people could write applications in BASIC and sell 
> them as commercial products. As the market matured competition 
> got harder and BASIC was no longer an option for commercial 
> products. In the mid 80s there were already thousands software 
> packages available for the IBM PC, and an unknown large number 
> of similar magnitude for 8-bit home computers. Low memory 
> footprint meant that programs were short and  focused on a 
> limited task and that developers could ship new applications 
> after only a few months of work. On 8-bit home computers, many 
> of the early applications were written in BASIC, then a mix of 
> BASIC and machine language and as the competition got harder 
> the best apps/games were written in pure machine language to 
> get most out of very limited hardware. Embedded programming was 
> also typically done in machine language.
> The threshold for starting up a small software company was now 
> much lower than for the big mainframes... So a lot of programs 
> were written, on cheap computers, using very crude tools. Some 
> small developers would consider a macro assembler a luxury 
> item...
> The old computing manufactures completely missed this boat 
> (most of them) and that left them in the dust. They relied on 
> expensive hardware, expensive software, expensive manpower, 
> high margins, small volume, large profits. So they viewed the 
> low margin, high volume, small computer market as something 
> completely separate and somewhat insignificant, and thus 
> "surveys" prior to 1990 are likely to see this as the serious 
> computing market that is completely separate from the personal 
> computer market.
> This didn't go well, IBM evaporated, SUN died, SGI died, DEC 
> evaporated and so on.

Care to write a book? I think you, Paulo Pinto and Walter and 
others here could write a good book about it. I find it 
fascinating how companies like SUN etc. defeated themselves. The 
mechanisms are fascinating, and as I said it's a fascinating 
topic for economics. The history of technology is fascinating 
from the first time humans could control fire, over the wheel to 
the internet. However, software gives you the chance to study the 
development of technology in fast motion. Things have developed 
incredibly fast, but not as fast as they could. What are the 
factors? Marketing strategies, narrow-mindedness etc.

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