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Samuel Mize <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 9 Oct 1998 15:47:58 -0500
text/plain (58 lines)
Michael Feldman wrote:
> > > ........?  Did C and Lisp and
> > > Pascal catch on at Universities because of all the jobs?  No, when they
> > > got popular, the real jobs were in Cobol and Assembler.
> > >Those languages
> > > caught on because they were worthwhile, because they had something in
> > > them that was worth teaching.
> >
> > Not quite.  Pascal and LISP caught on in schools because educators thought
> > they had something in them that was worth teaching.  C got in the door
> > because it was associated with Unix,
> Hmmm - I'm with you up to this point.

As the original poster, my point was that C caught on for educational
reasons -- it let the students study and modify a real operating system
(Unix) and existing tools.

Also, it's small enough to be easy to implement a version of C on
whatever hardware you've got.  (It would be harder to put, say, PL/I onto
something like a VIC-20.)  So you could distribute things in C, and
figure everybody had it or could easily get it.  It became a lingua
franca in a lot of areas.

In its time frame it filled a real need for colleges and universities.
Don't underestimate the flintlock in its day.

> Nope. College and university faculties do not dance to administrators'
> tunes. ...
> More recently, CS educators are under pressure from industry (or rather
> what they _perceive_ industry to be) to provide students with "marketable
> skills".

Geeze, I'd rather they were dancing to administrators' tunes than the
pointy-haired "Captains of Industry."  Like I said, the institutions
need to distinguish themselves from vo-tech schools.

I'm aware that there are some out there who still do.  I'm stating a
trend, and perhaps overstatingit out of cynicism and despair.  Tomorrow
is another day.

> earlier and earlier in the 4-year program. This is, in my experience,
> much of what is causing the rush to C++ (and now Java) in first-year
> courses.

I could almost argue AGAINST using a popular industry language as the
first-year and teaching language.  Keep them unable to leave and earn
big bucks until they've paid their full four-year dues.  :-)

Sam Mize

Samuel Mize -- [log in to unmask] (home email) -- Team Ada
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