C, please die, and take Go with you - Re: Fwd: is there any word processing software for the pdp11?

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Thu Dec 4 12:59:33 CST 2014

On 12/04/2014 09:52 AM, Fred Cisin wrote:

> Is C more dangerous than Assembly?

No, it isn't--it does, however, lack a good macro facility.  Sadly, good 
macro facilities for assemblers have been going out of style.  Witness 
the assemblers for modern MCUs.  It's pretty much assumed that these 
will be programmed in C--that's what the tool suite is written in and 
it's expected that this is what people will use.  An assembler is done 
because it's customary.

Viewed as a low-level implementation language a step above assembly, 
run-time error checking is ridiculous.  What do you do in an OS kernel 
when an exception is thrown because of a coding error?  You die--maybe 
with some diagnostic information.  Very often, there's no way forward.

What a OS kernel programmer worries about is unexpected behavior of 
physical devices.  What do you do if a device dies in the middle of an 
operation? What if a device simply misbehaves?   Easy--you detect it and 

BSODs, DEADBEEF errors, you name it.

You try to be as careful as you can be, coding correctly.  If you can 
get a buffer overrun, you should be checking for it.  If you try to page 
out the resident pager code, you did something wrong and no runtime 
error checking is going to fix that.

C is a chainsaw, as others have said.  So is assembly.  Trying to change 
it into a screwdriver is a hopeless task.  Just the idea of unrestricted 
pointers makes good run-time diagnosis hopeless and is the bane of 
automatic compile-time optimization.

I am in favor of very good compile-time diagnostics, no matter the 
language, however.   Getting 150 error messages because you forgot to 
close a brace somewhere is just stupid.


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