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Re: [OFFTOPIC] Re: Invoking a function from a list of functions

From: James K. Lowden
Subject: Re: [OFFTOPIC] Re: Invoking a function from a list of functions
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2018 11:40:11 -0500

On Thu, 15 Nov 2018 18:48:53 -0800 (PST)
Rusi <> wrote:

> > See for example
> >
> Interesting!
> | The array-computational model pioneered by 
> | Iverson?s languages APL and J offers a simple 

Yes.  IMO array operators and orthogonal persistence are two very
underappreciated language design features.  

As for John Sowa, I have to agree and disagree: 

> Whenever a major organization develops a new system as an official
> standard for X, the primary result is the widespread adoption of some
> simpler system as a de facto standard for X. 

Yes, but his examples don't hold water

> The PL/I project by IBM and SHARE resulted in
> Fortran and COBOL 

PL/1 post-dates Cobol by at least 7 years.  By the time PL/1 was
available, Cobol was already commercially successful.  What use did the
Cobol programmer have for PL/1?  And what evidence that it's a simpler

> Algol 68 project by IFIPS resulted in Pascal

Algol and Pascal are contemporaries, but Pascal was expressly designed
as a pedagogical language.  That it succeeded in academia should be no
surprise, other than that it achieved Wirth's goals.  

> Ada project by the US DoD resulted in C 

Ada was developed concurrently with C, but C was in widespread use long
before the DoD idiotically standardized on Ada in ... 1991.  By that
time C had escaped Bell Labs and been ratified by ANSI, not to mention
had been used to write at least 4 operating systems.  Ada's impact on C
was nil.  

> The OS/2 project by IBM and Microsoft resulted in Windows 

Because Windows was simpler?  Debatable, to say the least.  There's a
lot of industrial intrigue in that story, and marketing savvy.  

And technical merit.   What IBM really missed was exploiting protected
mode while supporting real-mode DOS applications.  Window's was "good
enough" for most people: it ran faster and had 10x the application that
OS/2 ever had. Windows NT was a game changer: protected memory and full
multitasking for a couple thousand bucks.  It cost 1/10 of the
competition, and had at least 10x the application suite.  OS/2 had
neither the technical competency nor the application support.  


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