Tuesday, June 15, 2004
"Beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology because beauty is so complicated.
Beauty is the ultimate defense against complexity."
-- David Gelernter, quoted in The Economist 6/10/2004, in an article on Dennis Ritchie and the birth of Unix and C, two astoundingly beautiful and long-lived creations.
Interesting tidbit: without a 1958 antitrust court case that ordered AT&T to make all its non-telephone-related inventions available to the public, there would never have been a culture of free software or open source. I'm thinking we geeks should find out the date of that decision and celebrate it... :-)
Posted by benrosen at June 15, 2004 11:49 AM
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I have to admit that I don't know enough about either to appreciate their beauty. :-) But I'll take your word for it.
Nowadays, with so many cushier, higher-level languages around that offer you much more help, C's beauty seems a bit... austere. But it's still an extraordinarily compact and powerful language, the acme of universal portability, and the fact that it's survived decades in an industry littered with the corpses of last years' languages is an astounding testament.
You could learn it in a couple of days, Lori, with the little white K&R book. It's very simple.
I rather think is was the non-telephone work done by Bell Labs, legally a non-profit funded by 0.1% of every phone bill and the greatest industrial lab in human history, rather than the work done by AT&T.
Might have been the same court case?