Neco pro priznivce C++ (OFFTOPIC? Dlouhe)

Martin Brachtl brachtlm na
Středa Červen 3 15:44:38 CEST 1998


nasledujici textik jsem potkal na webu, nevim jestli se mu da verit, ale
kazdopadne se dost pobavite. Nedejte se odradit, ze je to trochu delsi...

>Subject: Stroustrup's interview leaked...
>On the 1st of January, 1998, Bjarne Stroustrup gave an interview to the
>IEEE's 'Computer' magazine.
>naturally, the editors thought he would be giving a retrospective view of
>seven years of object-oriented design, using the language he created.
>By the end of the interview, the interviewer got more than he had bargained
>for and, subsequently, the editor decided to suppress its contents,
>'for the good of the industry' but, as with many of these things, there was
>Here is a complete transcript of what was was said,unedited, and
>unrehearsed, so it isn't as neat as planned interviews.
>You will find it interesting...
>Interviewer:  Well, it's been a few years since you changed the world of
>software design, how does it feel, looking back?
>Stroustrup:  Actually, I was thinking about those days, just before you
>arrived. Do you remember?  Everyone was writing 'C' and, the trouble was,
>they were pretty damn good at it. Universities got pretty good at teaching
>it, too. They were turning out competent - I stress the word 'competent' -
>graduates at a phenomenal rate. That's what caused the problem.
>Interviewer:  problem?
>Stroustrup:  Yes, problem. Remember when everyone wrote Cobol?
>Interviewer:  Of course, I did too
>Stroustrup:  Well, in the beginning, these guys were like demi-gods.  Their
>salaries were high, and they were treated like royalty.
>Interviewer:  Those were the days, eh?
>Stroustrup:  Right. So what happened?  IBM got sick of it, and invested
>millions in training programmers, till they were a dime a dozen.
>Interviewer:  That's why I got out. Salaries dropped within a year, to the
>point where being a journalist actually paid better.
>Stroustrup:  Exactly. Well, the same happened with 'C' programmers.
>Interviewer:  I see, but what's the point?
>Stroustrup:  Well, one day, when I was sitting in my office, I thought of
>this little scheme, which would redress the balance a little. I thought 'I
>wonder what would happen, if there were a language so complicated, so
>difficult to learn, that nobody would ever be able to swamp the market with
>programmers?  Actually, I got some of the ideas from X10, you know, X
>windows. That was such a bitch of a graphics system, that it only just ran
>on those Sun 3/60 things. They had all the ingredients for what I wanted.
>A really ridiculously complex syntax, obscure functions, and pseudo-OO
>structure. Even now, nobody writes raw X-windows
>code. Motif is the only way to go if you want to retain your sanity.
>[NJW Comment: That explains everything. Most of my thesis work was in raw
>X-windows. :)]
>Interviewer:  You're kidding...?
>Stroustrup:  Not a bit of it. In fact, there was another problem. Unix was
>written in 'C', which meant that any 'C' programmer could very easily
>a systems programmer. Remember what a mainframe systems programmer used
>to earn?
>Interviewer:  You bet I do, that's what I used to do.
>Stroustrup:  OK, so this new language had to divorce itself from Unix, by
>hiding all the system calls that bound the two together so nicely. This
>would enable guys who only knew about DOS to earn a decent living too.
>Interviewer:  I don't believe you said that...
>Stroustrup:  Well, it's been long enough, now, and I believe most people
>have figured out for themselves that C++ is a waste of time but, I must
>it's taken them a lot longer than I thought it would.
>Interviewer:  So how exactly did you do it?
>Stroustrup:  It was only supposed to be a joke, I never thought people
>take the book seriously. Anyone with half a brain can see that
>object-oriented programming is counter-intuitive, illogical and
>Interviewer:  What?
>Stroustrup:  And as for 're-useable code' - when did you ever hear of a
>company re-using its code?
>Interviewer:  Well, never, actually, but...
>Stroustrup:  There you are then. Mind you, a few tried, in the early days.
>There was this Oregon company - Mentor Graphics, I think they were called -
>really caught a cold trying to rewrite everything in C++ in about '90 or
>'91. I felt sorry for them really, but I thought people would learn from
>their mistakes.
>Interviewer:  Obviously, they didn't?
>Stroustrup:  Not in the slightest. Trouble is, most companies hush-up all
>their major blunders, and explaining a $30 million loss to the shareholders
>would have been difficult. Give them their due, though, they made it work
>in the end.
>Interviewer:  They did?  Well, there you are then, it proves O-O works.
>Stroustrup:  Well, almost. The executable was so huge, it took five minutes
>to load, on an HP workstation, with 128MB of RAM. Then it ran like treacle.
>Actually, I thought this would be a major stumbling-block, and I'd get
>out within a week, but nobody cared. Sun and HP were only too glad to sell
>enormously powerful boxes, with huge resources just to run trivial
>You know, when we had our first C++ compiler, at AT&T, I compiled 'Hello
>World', and couldn't believe the size of the executable. 2.1MB
>Interviewer:  What?  Well, compilers have come a long way, since then.
>Stroustrup:  They have?  Try it on the latest version of g++ - you won't
>much change out of half a megabyte. Also, there are several quite recent
>examples for you, from all over the world. British Telecom had a major
>disaster on their hands but, luckily, managed to scrap the whole thing
>and start again. They were luckier than Australian Telecom. Now I hear that
>Siemens is building a dinosaur, and getting more and more worried as the
>size of the hardware gets bigger, to accommodate the executables. Isn't
>multiple inheritance a joy?
>Interviewer:  Yes, but C++ is basically a sound language.
>Stroustrup:  You really believe that, don't you?  Have you ever sat down
>worked on a C++ project?  Here's what happens: First, I've put in enough
>pitfalls to make sure that only the most trivial projects will work first
>time. Take operator overloading. At the end of the project, almost every
>module has it, usually, because guys feel they really should do it, as it
>was in their training course. The same operator then means something
>different in every module. Try pulling that lot together, when you have a
>hundred or so modules. And as for data hiding. God, I sometimes can't help
>laughing when I hear about the problems companies have making their modules
>talk to each other. I think the word 'synergistic' was specially invented
>twist the knife in a project manager's ribs.
>Interviewer:  I have to say, I'm beginning to be quite appalled at all
>You say you did it to raise programmers' salaries?  That's obscene.
>Stroustrup:  Not really. Everyone has a choice. I didn't expect the thing
>get so much out of hand. Anyway, I basically succeeded. C++ is dying off
>now, but programmers still get high salaries - especially those poor devils
>who have to maintain all this crap. You do realise, it's impossible to
>maintain a large C++ software module if you didn't actually write it?
>Interviewer:  How come?
>Stroustrup:  You are out of touch, aren't you?  Remember the typedef?
>Interviewer:  Yes, of course.
>Stroustrup:  Remember how long it took to grope through the header files
>only to find that 'RoofRaised' was a double precision number?  Well,
>how long it takes to find all the implicit typedefs in all the Classes in a
>major project.
>Interviewer:  So how do you reckon you've succeeded?
>Stroustrup:  Remember the length of the average-sized 'C' project? About 6
>months. Not nearly long enough for a guy with a wife and kids to earn
>to have a decent standard of living. Take the same project, design it in
>and what do you get?  I'll tell you. One to two years. Isn't that great?
>All that job security, just through one mistake of judgement. And another
>thing. The universities haven't been teaching 'C' for such a long time,
>there's now a shortage of decent 'C' programmers. Especially those who know
>anything about Unix systems programming. How many guys would know what to
>with 'malloc', when they've used 'new' all these years - and never bothered
>to check the return code. In fact, most C++ programmers throw away their
>return codes. Whatever happened to good ol' '-1'?  At least you knew you
>an error, without bogging the thing down in all that 'throw' 'catch' 'try'
>Interviewer:  But, surely, inheritance does save a lot of time?
>Stroustrup:  does it?  Have you ever noticed the difference between a 'C'
>project plan, and a C++ project plan?  The planning stage for a C++ project
>is three times as long. Precisely to make sure that everything which should
>be inherited is, and what shouldn't isn't. Then, they still get it wrong.
>Whoever heard of memory leaks in a 'C' program?  Now finding them is a
>industry. Most companies give up, and send the product out, knowing it
>like a sieve, simply to avoid the expense of tracking them all down.
>Interviewer:  There are tools...
>Stroustrup:  Most of which were written in C++.
>Interviewer:  If we publish this, you'll probably get lynched, you do
>realise that?
>Stroustrup:  I doubt it. As I said, C++ is way past its peak now, and no
>company in its right mind would start a C++ project without a pilot trial.
>That should convince them that it's the road to disaster. If not, they
>deserve all they get. You know, I tried to convince Dennis Ritchie to
>rewrite Unix inC++.
>Interviewer:  Oh my God. What did he say?
>Stroustrup:  Well, luckily, he has a good sense of humor. I think both he
>and Brian figured out what I was doing, in the early days, but never let
>on.  He said he'd help me write a C++ version of DOS, if I was interested.
>Interviewer:  Were you?
>Stroustrup:  Actually, I did write DOS in C++, I'll give you a demo when
>we're through. I have it running on a Sparc 20 in the computer room.  Goes
>like a rocket on 4 CPU's, and only takes up 70 megs of disk.
>Interviewer:  What's it like on a PC?
>Stroustrup:  Now you're kidding. Haven't you ever seen Windows '95? I think
>of that as my biggest success. Nearly blew the game before I was ready,
>Interviewer:  You know, that idea of a Unix++ has really got me thinking.
>Somewhere out there, there's a guy going to try it.
>Stroustrup:  Not after they read this interview.
>Interviewer:  I'm sorry, but I don't see us being able to publish any of
>Stroustrup:  But it's the story of the century. I only want to be
>by my fellow programmers, for what I've done for them. You know how much a
>C++ guy can get these days?
>Interviewer:  Last I heard, a really top guy is worth $70 - $80 an
>Stroustrup:  See?  And I bet he earns it. Keeping track of all the gotchas
>put into C++ is no easy job. And, as I said before, every C++ programmer
>feels bound by some mystic promise to use every damn element of the
>on every project. Actually, that really annoys me sometimes, even though it
>serves my original purpose. I almost like the language after all this time.
>Interviewer:  You mean you didn't before?
>Stroustrup:  Hated it. It even looks clumsy, don't you agree?  But when the
>book royalties started to come in... well, you get the picture.
>Interviewer:  Just a minute. What about references?  You must admit, you
>improved on 'C' pointers.
>Stroustrup:  Hmm. I've always wondered about that. Originally, I thought I
>had. Then, one day I was discussing this with a guy who'd written C++ from
>the beginning. He said he could never remember whether his variables were
>referenced or dereferenced, so he always used pointers. He said the little
>asterisk always reminded him.
>Interviewer:  Well, at this point, I usually say 'thank you very much' but
>it hardly seems adequate.
>Stroustrup:  Promise me you'll publish this. My conscience is getting the
>better of me these days.
>Interviewer:  I'll let you know, but I think I know what my editor will
>Stroustrup:  Who'd believe it anyway?  Although, can you send me a copy
>of that tape?
>Interviewer:  I can do that.
>------- End of Forwarded Message

  Martin Brachtl           |    Dep. of Computer Sc.
  Ph.D. Student            |    FEL-CVUT Praha, CZ 

  e-mail: mailto:brachtlm na
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