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John Walker On Programming Languages

John had some trouble getting a 2-page discussion of programming languages
into email, so he faxed it down here. I have posted it on the white
board in the common area; everyone should read it at some point. The
Abstract is:

Language choice has far less to do with success of software
than language designers might wish. Given this, one tends to
be very conservative in choosing a language, since a language
collapse can certainly doom a project. One cannot assume that
ambitious and innovative development will, necessarily, be done
in the latest, spiffiest language. Much of the most ambitious
numerical code being written today is in FORTRAN.