C, C++

C has been called “God’s Programming Language” in the Glossary of The OpenGL Programmers Guide (“The Red Book”). In 1972, much before a certain Linus Trovalds wrote an operating system called “Linux” just because he had nothing more challenging to do, a certain Dennis Ritchie (later joined by a certain Brian Kernighan) at AT&T Bell Labs wrote the C programming language in order to rewrite an operating system called “UNIX” in order to make it portable across hardware platforms, so that they could play a game called “Space Travel” on one of the unused PDP-7 computers. Like all good programs, it had two purposes – an intended one and an unintended one. The intended one was met, everybody got to play “Space Travel” and everybody was happy. The unintended purpose was also met, and the good folks at AT&T Bell Labs ended up changing the face of computing on planet Earth forever.

References:

  • The C Programming Language (2nd Edition), By Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie (Prentice Hall, 1988 )
  • The C Answer Book, By Clovis L. Tondo and Scott E. Gimpel (Prentice Hall, 1989)

About 7 years later, a certain Bjarne Stroustrup took it upon himself to enhance the C programming language, with the intent of finding a compromise between the impractically slow “Simula” programming language (well-suited to large software development) and the fast but too low-level (and hence unsuitable for large software development) “BCPL” language, which was the ancestor of “B”, which was the ancestor of “C”. The first commercial release of C++ was in 1985.

References:

  • The Annotated C++ Reference Manual, By Margaret A. Ellis and Bjarne Stroustrup (Addison-Wesley, 1990)
  • The C++ Programming Language (3rd Edition), By Bjarne Stroustrup (Addison-Wesley, 1997)
  • Thinking in C++ (Volumes 1 & 2), By Bruce Eckel (Free online version at BruceEckel.com, 2000 – 2003)
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