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Is this Authentic?

P: n/a
I am pretty much curious about the authenticity of the following
article that I recieved from a friend of mine. It is an interview of
Bjarne Stroustrup in 1998.

I would appreciate some comments...

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 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.


Regards,
Praveen.

Jul 23 '05 #1
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6 Replies


P: n/a

"Praveen" <pr**************@gmail.com> wrote in message
I am pretty much curious about the authenticity of the following
article that I recieved from a friend of mine. It is an interview of
Bjarne Stroustrup in 1998.


Oh no..not again! Of course this all is bull shit. Read here --
http://www.research.att.com/~bs/bs_faq.html#IEEE.

Sharad
Jul 23 '05 #2

P: n/a
On 20 Jul 2005 04:47:46 -0700, Praveen <pr**************@gmail.com> wrote:
I am pretty much curious about the authenticity of the following
article that I recieved from a friend of mine. It is an interview of
Bjarne Stroustrup in 1998.

I would appreciate some comments...


an _old_ joke(?), a parody...

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 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.
>
>
>
>


Regards,
Praveen.


Jul 23 '05 #3

P: n/a
Sharad Kala wrote:
Oh no..not again! Of course this all is bull shit. Read here --
http://www.research.att.com/~bs/bs_faq.html#IEEE.


Many satires contain a grain of truth ;-)

Jul 23 '05 #4

P: n/a
I was astonished, rather believe it is true. because Straustrup's
comments on C++ itself really hit the point

Mercator wrote:
Sharad Kala wrote:
Oh no..not again! Of course this all is bull shit. Read here --
http://www.research.att.com/~bs/bs_faq.html#IEEE.


Many satires contain a grain of truth ;-)


Jul 23 '05 #5

P: n/a
Mercator wrote:
Sharad Kala wrote:
Oh no..not again! Of course this all is bull shit. Read here --
http://www.research.att.com/~bs/bs_faq.html#IEEE.


Many satires contain a grain of truth ;-)


This particular satire might have been amusing if the writer
had had an ounce of subtlety, and had made some effort to
capture Stroustrup's actual voice.

Stroustrup himself can be much funnier, as in his article
proposing "Generalized Operator Overloading for C++ 2000":

http://www.research.att.com/~bs/whitespace98.pdf

--Nick

Jul 23 '05 #6

P: n/a
blueblueblue2005 wrote:
I was astonished, rather believe it is true. because Straustrup's
comments on C++ itself really hit the point


If you believe that to be true, then you are very foolish. A minute's
check of the internet would debunk it, plus you could go to Dr.
Stroustrup's own web site and find it debunked there as well.


Brian
Jul 23 '05 #7

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