473,836 Members | 2,156 Online
Bytes | Software Development & Data Engineering Community
+ Post

Home Posts Topics Members FAQ

untold truth about C++

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 a leak.
Here is a complete transcript of what 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.

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 become 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
say, 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
would take the book seriously. Anyone with half a brain can see that
object-oriented programming is counter-intuitive, illogical and
inefficient.

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 found 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 programs. 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
get 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
and 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 totally 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 to twist the knife in a
project manager's ribs.

Interviewer: I have to say, I'm beginning to be quite appalled at
all
this. 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
to 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,
imagine 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
enough to have a decent standard of living. Take the same project,
design it in C++ 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 do 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 had
an error, without bogging the thing down in all that 'throw' 'catch'
'try' stuff.

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
major industry. Most companies give up, and send the product out,
knowing it leaks 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 in C++.

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, though.

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
this.

Stroustrup: But it's the story of the century. I only want to be
remembered 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
hour.

Stroustrup: See? And I bet he earns it. Keeping track of all the
gotchas
I 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 language 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
say.

Stroustrup: Who'd believe it anyway? Although, can you send me a
copy of
that tape?

Interviewer: I can do that.

Jul 22 '05 #1
3 2001
Jack wrote:

<whatever>

--

No Cheers
--
Hewson::Mike
"This letter is longer than usual because I lack the time to make it
shorter" - Blaise Pascal
Jul 22 '05 #2
"Jack" <ju******@gmail .com> wrote in message
news:11******** **************@ f14g2000cwb.goo glegroups.com.. .

A very old joke, which most regulars here have seen many times.
And imo not even very funny.

-Mike
Jul 22 '05 #3

"Jack" <ju******@gmail .com> wrote in message

[snip]
All I can say is that don't be so gullible.
http://www.research.att.com/~bs/bs_faq.html#IEEE

Sharad
Jul 22 '05 #4

This thread has been closed and replies have been disabled. Please start a new discussion.

Similar topics

6
1635
by: lkrubner | last post by:
I've got a site on a hosted virtual server. I'd like to know the truth of what is going on, but I can't get past my browsers cache. There is some kind of error in my code that occurs on a given line. When I comment out that one line, everything else seems to work. When I uncomment that one line, the browser simply shows what was last on screen the last time the code was working. That is, if I write echo "hello"; while the line is...
4
1143
by: James Stroud | last post by:
Hello All, I'm curious, in py0 | (1 == 1) 1 pyFalse | (1 == 1) True What is the logic of the former expression not evaluating to True (or
90
3485
by: John Salerno | last post by:
I'm a little confused. Why doesn't s evaluate to True in the first part, but it does in the second? Is the first statement something different? False print 'hi' hi Thanks.
2
1456
by: lemnitzer | last post by:
TV report: all 15 British sailors confess to illegally entering Iranian Waters Here are the links: http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&q=all+15&btnG=Search+News http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=64454ab9-229c-44a8-9875-2f59e570c5f9&k=44029 NOW COMPARE THAT WITH THE YANK MOTHER FUCKING PEDOPHILE BASTARDS AND THE CORRUPT FBI BASTARDS COVERING UP FOR THEIR PEDOPHILE BOSSES:
6
17114
by: natkw1 | last post by:
Hi all, I'm new to C and kind of confused on this. I've had a look around this group for suggestions but still not sure why the warning is occurring. What I've done is this <code snip> void foo(char loc) {
4
1420
by: laelahaellallah5 | last post by:
Explore & discover & be convinced that ISLAM is the truth! ... Please Visit: http://www.beconvinced.com
1
1632
by: Rohanrajs82 | last post by:
Hi, Can anybody help me? I have to construct a truth table of 97 columns. I have tester channels from 1 to 97. I have to make a truth table with all the possible combinations. Also, I have some dummy channels in it where I have to put a dummy value. Regards, Rohan.
6
11458
by: ambanks04 | last post by:
ok taking computer science class anybody know what to do i am not computer literate CoSc 111.003 Spring 2008 Assignment 4 1) Each student shall design, develop, code, test and submit an Original computer program which uses a function or functions to display the TRUTH TABLES for the Logical And, the Logical Or, and the Logical Not operators., as defined in Section 5.8, of the text, 5Th/6Th Edition. 2) The program shall: ...
5
6597
by: andrea | last post by:
Well I would like to make a little program that given a certain logical expression gives the complete truth table. It's not too difficult in fact, I just have some doubts on how to design it. I thought something like that: class Term:
0
9812
marktang
by: marktang | last post by:
ONU (Optical Network Unit) is one of the key components for providing high-speed Internet services. Its primary function is to act as an endpoint device located at the user's premises. However, people are often confused as to whether an ONU can Work As a Router. In this blog post, weíll explore What is ONU, What Is Router, ONU & Routerís main usage, and What is the difference between ONU and Router. Letís take a closer look ! Part I. Meaning of...
0
9657
by: Hystou | last post by:
Most computers default to English, but sometimes we require a different language, especially when relocating. Forgot to request a specific language before your computer shipped? No problem! You can effortlessly switch the default language on Windows 10 without reinstalling. I'll walk you through it. First, let's disable language synchronization. With a Microsoft account, language settings sync across devices. To prevent any complications,...
0
10823
Oralloy
by: Oralloy | last post by:
Hello folks, I am unable to find appropriate documentation on the type promotion of bit-fields when using the generalised comparison operator "<=>". The problem is that using the GNU compilers, it seems that the internal comparison operator "<=>" tries to promote arguments from unsigned to signed. This is as boiled down as I can make it. Here is my compilation command: g++-12 -std=c++20 -Wnarrowing bit_field.cpp Here is the code in...
1
10577
by: Hystou | last post by:
Overview: Windows 11 and 10 have less user interface control over operating system update behaviour than previous versions of Windows. In Windows 11 and 10, there is no way to turn off the Windows Update option using the Control Panel or Settings app; it automatically checks for updates and installs any it finds, whether you like it or not. For most users, this new feature is actually very convenient. If you want to control the update process,...
0
6975
by: conductexam | last post by:
I have .net C# application in which I am extracting data from word file and save it in database particularly. To store word all data as it is I am converting the whole word file firstly in HTML and then checking html paragraph one by one. At the time of converting from word file to html my equations which are in the word document file was convert into image. Globals.ThisAddIn.Application.ActiveDocument.Select();...
0
5642
by: TSSRALBI | last post by:
Hello I'm a network technician in training and I need your help. I am currently learning how to create and manage the different types of VPNs and I have a question about LAN-to-LAN VPNs. The last exercise I practiced was to create a LAN-to-LAN VPN between two Pfsense firewalls, by using IPSEC protocols. I succeeded, with both firewalls in the same network. But I'm wondering if it's possible to do the same thing, with 2 Pfsense firewalls...
0
5812
by: adsilva | last post by:
A Windows Forms form does not have the event Unload, like VB6. What one acts like?
1
4443
by: 6302768590 | last post by:
Hai team i want code for transfer the data from one system to another through IP address by using C# our system has to for every 5mins then we have to update the data what the data is updated we have to send another system
3
3103
bsmnconsultancy
by: bsmnconsultancy | last post by:
In today's digital era, a well-designed website is crucial for businesses looking to succeed. Whether you're a small business owner or a large corporation in Toronto, having a strong online presence can significantly impact your brand's success. BSMN Consultancy, a leader in Website Development in Toronto offers valuable insights into creating effective websites that not only look great but also perform exceptionally well. In this comprehensive...

By using Bytes.com and it's services, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

To disable or enable advertisements and analytics tracking please visit the manage ads & tracking page.