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Re: if (c++ && x++)

In discussing C++ vs. C development tools, MarkM says,

However, even if
only a small fraction of our developers take the high road, it will be
by and large *these* developers that develop the really great 
novel applications that make us a success.
Ahem. I would be interested in opening a betting pool with y'all 
on this matter. Just because a person chooses to use an older 
programming language doesn't mean he's not innovative--it just 
means that he's focusing his innovative energies on some other 
part of the problem. Frankly, I'm suspicious that the first wave 
of C++ fanatics will include an unusually high percentage of 
technofreaks who wouldn't know a good interface design if it 
smacked them in the eyeballs (of course, there are beautiful 
counterexamples, like the Xanadu team itself--but even the Xanadu 
team must focus its energies. There's a lot less innovation on 
the frontends going on around here than there would be if we 
didn't need innovation on so many other things).

A perfect example of this is bobp himself, by the way. Bobp is 
not loving the process of learning C++, otherwise he wouldn't 
have brought this issue up. Yet I consider his Compuserve conferencing 
system to be tremendously innovative on the user interface end 
of things, at least within the context of commercial low cost 
conferencing systems available at the time he created it. A handful 
of people like bobp building Xanadu frontends could make us rich, 
and make us famous for the innovative applications we enabled. 
A handful of companies like Farallon and CE Software could make 
us rich and famous the same way (not to mention AutoDesk--not 
even the cyberspace work is being done in C++ to my knowledge!). 
All these groups are C programmers. 

I'd be very interested to see a list of companies that are famous 
for the innovative nature of their commercially successful products, 
who are leaping to C++ the way we have. Frankly, folks, I'll 
bet the list is very small indeed--possibly a fraction of developers 
so small as to be zero. The only organizations famous for innovation 
that I know of that use C++ are organizations that ain't shipped 
nothin' commercially successful lately (including us, by the 

Leaders in innovating new commercial products and leaders in 
leaping to new programming languages are not necessarily the 
same people; if anything, they may be mutually exclusive. 

When I started writing this response, I was as much in the middle 
of the road as anyone, believing that we needed to support both 
C and C++ vigorously. Handling the phone calls all the time from 
random enthusiasts who want to build frontends left me confident 
that people would often listen if we urged them to C++. But my 
attempt here to list commercially successful innovators who are 
running to C++ has had a profoundly sobering impact on my thinking. 
Lists of size zero often have that effect on me.

Frankly, folks, we could have frontends and frontend developers 
good enough to be wonderful without C++ tools at all. The same 
is not true for C.