November 10, 2009, 3:00 pm
Every computer programmer has a copious pile of opinions about how their programming language of choice could be improved. Who doesn't want more syntactic sugar, better runtime performance, and faster compilation? That's one of the reasons why there are so many programming languages. Creating a compiler is practically a rite of passage for computer science students, and half of the top vendors in the software industry eventually make their own programming language or extend an existing one to the point where it's marginally recognizable.
Despite the large amount of enthusiasm for language design, modern mainstream programming languages don't fall far from the C tree. The best that Microsoft, Sun, and Apple have to offer are just variations on that theme, with the addition of predictable object models and conveniences like garbage collection. The slim minority of language geeks who have rebelled against bracist tyranny and stumbled over to innovative languages like Haskell and Erlang are doomed to toil in relative obscurity.