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

Diane Bruce db at
Sat Apr 30 08:39:11 CDT 2016

On Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 03:55:35PM -0700, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> Those who claim that there's not much difference between C and assembly
> language have never run into a true CISC machine--or perhaps they rely
> only on libraries someone else has written.

Now wait a minute here. C is a very old language. When it was first written
as a recursive descent compiler, compiler technology was very primitive.
K&R style code with primitive compilers pretty much resulted in high level
assembler. Look at the keyword 'register' and the rationale given for it.

> Writing a true global optimizing compiler that generates code as good as
> assembly is a nearly impossible task.  When you are dealing with a
> target machine with a large CISC set, it's really tough.

Now on that we furiously agree. One problem has been getting that through
to people who insist that C is still a high level assembler and has
not changed from the time when it was a hand crafted recursive descent
LR to the modern compiler with all the lovely optimisations we can do.

The best way of viewing it is to acknowledge that modern C is effectively
a new language compared to old K&R C that had no prototypes. 

> Speaking from experience, again.


> --Chuck

- db at db at

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