Why I won't use ANSI C

Donn Seeley donn at utah-cs.UUCP
Sun Jan 31 13:47:57 AEST 1988

Honest, I wrote my anti-ANSI C piece without having read a word of the
anti-ANSI Fortran flames in comp.lang.fortran recently...  I just
caught up with that newsgroup and there were some exceedingly familiar
remarks about how ANSI is treating another language standard:

	The following are selected ballot comments from some of the
	committee members who voted NO to forwarding the proposed
	standard for public review:

	IBM: "The difficulty with 8x lies not in the quality of the
	work that X3J3 has done but rather in the somewhat surprising
	observation that the result of X3J3's work is a new language,
	and not a revision of FORTRAN."

	DEC: "We believe that publishing this document may jeopardize
	the past successes of FORTRAN in its attempt to make several
	major changes to the language."

	Unisys: "We feel that the addition of the entire package of
	modern programming language features has warped the language
	nearly beyond recognition.  It is our opinion that the
	committee has spent too much time in language design at the
	expense of standardizing current practice.  We fear the
	proposed language will no longer serve the community for which
	it was originally designed.  The promoters of the modern
	language additions, on the other hand, contend that the
	language already fails to serve that community and that if the
	committee does not make drastic changes to the language, users
	will abandon it in favor of a modern language such as Ada.  Our
	reply is:  Let them use Ada.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, we
	believe the predicted demise of FORTRAN has been greatly

	BOEING: "The standard has deviated too far from FORTRAN 77."

	[From: 'Summary of the FORTRAN 8x Issues', Presley Smith and
	Bob Metzger, CONVEX Computer Corporation; <68000005 at convex>]

Of course the magnitude of the rape of Fortran makes C quite innocent
by comparison (Smith and Metzger report an IBM claim that by several
statistical measures, Fortran 8X is more complex than Ada), but I hope
y'all see that the principles (or lack thereof) are the same in both

Donn Seeley    University of Utah CS Dept    donn at cs.utah.edu
40 46' 6"N 111 50' 34"W    (801) 581-5668    utah-cs!donn

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