Programming language failings [was Re: strangest systems I've sent email from]

Dave Wade dave.g4ugm at
Sat Apr 30 05:00:50 CDT 2016

Fortran has an EQUIVALENCE statement, COBOL has redefines. Both allows the
subversion of types at the drop of a hat. 


> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mouse
> Sent: 30 April 2016 02:56
> To: cctalk at
> Subject: Re: Programming language failings [was Re: strangest systems I've
> sent email from]
> >> The main thing C has that most other languages don't is *unsafe* data
> >> typing - the ability to subvert the type system at the drop of a
> >> cast, and the programming tradition to do this a lot.
> > {Sighs.}  You really seem to have it out for C.
> I didn't write that the double-quoted text, but it seems to me that you
> reading a pejorative attitude into it that I'm not sure belongs there.
That _is_
> one of the bigger things C has - and, like many language features, it's a
> edged sword.  It makes possible a lot of things, many useful, many
> and in some cases, even, both at once.
> It is possible to come fairly close to type-safe C.  But even in the most
> of my programs, I sometimes find a need to break the type safety for one
> reason or another - and C lets me do that without extreme gyrations.  (I
> remember the FORTRAN I used in my larval phase, back in the 1980s under
> VMS; IIRC doing the equivalent of following a pointer was rather difficult
> without the use of a helper routine and a language extension.)
> /~\ The ASCII				  Mouse
> \ / Ribbon Campaign
>  X  Against HTML		mouse at
> / \ Email!	     7D C8 61 52 5D E7 2D 39  4E F1 31 3E E8 B3 27 4B

More information about the cctalk mailing list