Utility of C

Martin Minow minow at decvax.UUCP
Tue Aug 16 10:46:11 AEST 1983

In a note on pointers and arrays, cbosgd!mark wrote:

"The fact that so many people are using C for applications shows
not that C is well suited for applications, but that it's usable
for applications and nothing else is supported as well on UNIX."

Why stop at Unix?  C is becoming very popular on a large number
of operating systems, even where a very wide range of applications
languages are available.  For example, on VMS, you can write in
Pascal, PL/I, Cobol, Basic-Plus, or Fortran.

C's main advantages, as I see them, are its efficiency and
transportability.  Also, the I/O model makes most programs
exceedingly simple to develop and support.  The work I'm
doing, DECtalk, runs on four architectures (DEC10, PDP-11,
Vax, and 68000) and a half-dozen operating systems without
source code edits.  (There is a slight amount of conditional
compilation, however.)  I know of no other language where this
could be done compatibly without severe loss of efficiency.

Martin Minow

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