Subject: Re: a Dijkstra quote (what lang?)
From: (Rob Warnock)
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 04:01:54 -0500
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp,comp.lang.scheme,comp.lang.functional
Message-ID: <>
Xah Lee <> wrote:
| does anyone know what lang Dijkstra had in mind in the following quote?
| "Another lesson we should have learned from the recent past is that
| the development of 'richer' or 'more powerful' programming languages
| was a mistake in the sense that these baroque monstrosities, these
| conglomerations of idiosyncrasies, are really unmanageable, both
| mechanically and mentally. I see a great future for very systematic and
| very modest programming languages." -- E W Dijkstra (1972)

Probably PL/I. In his classic little rant "How Do We Tell Truths
that Might Hurt" [EWD498, 1975] he calls PL/I "the fatal disease".
(FORTRAN, by comparison, gets off light, called only "the infantile


p.s. In the same essay he also slams BASIC, COBOL, APL, and
perhaps, obliquely, Ada [though it is not clear that by June 1975
the HOLWG had made enough progress yet for much useful criticism]...

Rob Warnock			<>
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