Unix and C

Andrew Lentvorski bsder at allcaps.org
Fri May 3 20:22:59 PDT 2013


On 5/3/13 3:00 PM, Franklin Johnston wrote:

> That is, has C proven to be the best language for systems-level
> development, or is there anything else, such as one of the object-oriented
> languages, that have shown any promise in this area? Or is it just the case
> that C has been good enough, and there is no reason to consider
> alternatives?

Genera was done in Lisp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genera_%28operating_system%29

The original versions of Smalltalk probably qualify:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smalltalk

I think VMS was done in Bliss:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BLISS

I'm sure some folks did operating systems in Basic, Pascal, Fortan and
Cobol given how popular they are.

And who knows what languages IBM operating systems were done in ...


The real issue is that operating systems became pretty close to a
monoculture--Windows and Unix and ... nothing else.  And those were
implemented in C so basically no other systems implementation language
survived.

> And on the subject of OOP languages, are they best kept confined to
> applications development?

OOP languages are best kept confined to the garbage can.  :)

> I know there are definitely issues with such
> things as garbage collection, but is there any other reason that OOP
> wouldn't be desirable inside an O/S?

OOP has nothing to do with garbage collection.

And, besides, I have no idea why people whine so about garbage
collection in operating systems.  Modern operating systems actually act
like really shitty garbage collectors ... you fill memory and processes
start getting terminated to reclaim memory.

-a

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