What did Dennis Ritchie think about C ++
C and UNIX: a bad joke?
In a lecture that caused a sensation in the computer industry, Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan admitted that the UNIX OS they developed and the C programming language were originally intended as an April Fool's joke, which has been kept alive for over 20 years. Speaking at the recent UnixWorld Software Development Forum, Thompson said:
In 1969 AT&T had just finished working on the GE / Honeywell / AT & T Multics project. Brian and I had just started working with an early form of Pascal designed by Professor Niklas Wirth's department at ETHZ in Switzerland. We were very impressed by the elegant simplicity and power of the language. Dennis had just finished reading The Lord of the Dark Circles, a hilarious parody of Tolkien's great trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. For fun we started making a parody of the Multics environment and Pascal. Dennis and I were responsible for the environment. We looked at Multics, and designed the new system to be as complex and cryptic as possible to add to the frustration of ordinary users as much as possible, calling it UNIX a parody of Multics, as well as some other allusions within the system. Then Dennis and Brian started working on a really warped version of Pascal called 'A'. When we realized that others were actually planning to design programs starting with 'A', we quickly added additional cryptic properties, and then developed B, BCPL, and finally C. We stopped when we managed to use the termfor (; P ("\ n"), R-; P ("|")) for (e = C; e-; P ("_") + (* u ++ / 8)% 2)) P (" | "+ (* u / 4)% 2);
to compile without errors.
To think that modern programmers would try to use a language that allowed such expressions was far beyond our understanding. We thought of selling the whole thing to the Soviets to throw back the progress of their computer science by 20 years. Imagine our surprise when AT&T and other US companies started trying UNIX and C! It took them 20 years to gain enough experience to create at least halfway useful applications with this parody of the 1960s, but we were amazed at the tenacity of the ordinary UNIX and C programmer. In any case, Brian, Dennis and I have only programmed in Pascal on the Apple Macintosh for the past few years and we feel really guilty for the mess, confusion and really bad programming work we caused with our nonsensical joke a long time ago .
Major UNIX and C vendors and users, including AT&T, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, GTE, NCR, and DEC, have declined to comment at this point. Borland International, a leading manufacturer of Pascal and C tools, including the popular Turbo-Pascal, Turbo-C, and Turbo-C ++, said they had suspected this for some time and wanted to improve their Pascal products in the future , while all development for C. was stopped at the same time. An IBM spokesman burst into uncontrolled laughter and had to postpone a hastily called news conference about the fate of the RS-6000 - only with the testimony. In a cryptic statement, Professor Wirth from the ETHZ institute, father of the structured languages Pascal, Modula2 and Oberon, only remarked that P.T. Barnum was right.
In a similar report that came in recently, usually reliable sources said that a similar admission will soon be made by William Gates regarding the MS-DOS and Windows operating systems. And IBM spokesmen have begun to deny that the virtual machine (VM) is also an internal prank that has leaked out.
From: COMPUTERWORLD, April 1st, in free translation
The English original text was (among other things) on http://www.cast.msstate.edu/~billy/c-hoax.txt.
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