strangest systems I've sent email from

Tor Arntsen kspt.tor at
Fri Apr 29 09:33:43 CDT 2016

On 29 April 2016 at 15:09, Noel Chiappa <jnc at> wrote:

>     > From: Liam Proven
>    > C is popular because C is popular.
> Yes, but that had to start somewhere.
> I think it _became_ popular for two reasons: i) it was 'the' language of
> Unix, and Unix was so much better than 99% of the alternatives _at the time_
> that it grew like crazy, and ii) C was a lot better than many of the
> alternatives _at the time it first appeared_ (for a number of reasons, which
> I won't expand on unless there is interest).

Unix was designed in a way which demanded that nearly every function
(except for a few built-in ones in the shell) was implemented as a
program. So to build a Unix system you built the kernel, that one's
written in C, but that's not the important part - you also built the
hundreds, and soon thousands of applications, all written in C. To be
able to compile those "Unix tools" (usr/src/*) every C compiler had to
confirm to a defacto standard in a way other language compilers didn't
have to. Usually somebody defines a standard, and then everybody else
will decide that it's not *that* important to follow the standard -
let's improve it a bit here and there. That wouldn't work for C. To
this day C is more standard than nearly everything else. Including
C++, which doesn't have the same must-compile-all-old-source pressure.
So, the way I see it is that C became incredibly popular not just
because it's usable for a wide range of purposes,  but even more
because "C is C is C".


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