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Compatibility sells. Has for a long time. That was the whole idea behind IBM's System\360 of forty years ago. Sometimes it's called the "Network Effect". The new Intel 8086 was advertised as being "Compatible" with their older chip, the 8080 -- it wasn't, but it sold.

Upward and downward compatibility, old terms. The new version of PHP, of mySQL or of anything runs the old stuff just fine, but once you've switched, you can't go back. C++ did the same thing but with one hell of a big step. The big upgrade.


You're certainly right. Its not a new thing and it comes in a lot of flavors too. I think my particular attraction to C++ as an example is that I've never seen anyone mention it before.

I also think there's other paths to the technological coup d'etat.


That has certainly been my experience. But I must admit, probably out of ignorance, that I still find sprintf and other stdio functions far superior to io-manipulators and the like. Ofcourse, one must be careful not to mix cout/printf io-streams, or all life as you know might stop instantaneously and every molecule in your body explode at the speed of light. I wonder what other 'deprecated' C features supposed C++ programmers can't give up for their OO/STL counterpart?

Mark W

Great post, the effect is so insidious, I never noticed what had happened until reading it here. I am weak and manipulated.


been reading this essay and all of the ones in "best software writing I"

just letting you know you've got a typo in this: "developeris"

"Its at this point in the infection process that C++ takes over. Not only does it leverage the features of the existing code base. But it offers a potpourri, a smorgasboard, a veritable endless supply of doodads and useful features that the willing and intelligent *****developeris***** able to "

Paulo Koch

C++ striked me as a natural anesthesia for my OO/Java needs while programing C. STL is only a memory-managment "recliner", so you don't have to realloc everytime you read another byte. Essentially, it's just C with classes and wierd 'ArrayList's

Chris Nystrom

There are still holdouts:

eric johnson

If I were the Linux folks, I'd be avoiding C++ too! Resolving the semantics of exception handling inside the kernel is too much.

Michiel Schaeverbeke

I think this is happening all over again with languages such as C#; allthough you can't use existing C++ code in C# as easily as it was to use C in C++, it is quite easy to turn the switch and start coding in C# once you're used to C++. However, let's not forget that there's more to it than strategy; languages do evolve, often for the better. I wouldn't want to program in C now that I have C++. On the other hand, I still prefer C++ over C# and until recently, C# was a step back in time (e.g. templates have only just been introduced). They're catching up, but it still means that C++ leads the way, which brings me to my point: quality within a language is what makes it shine, not it's strategy. I wrote a whole issue on this in my blog:


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------------- SNIP (email text end) ---------------


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Mary, if you have received that and have recognized me, then give me a sign so that I can continue with the romantic part of my proposal…

------------- SNIP (email text end) ---------------


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Raoul Duke

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but seriously. i appreciate that compatibility sells, but i do not relish the heck on earth that is the result. i wish people would burn bridges more often.

Eddie Pasternak

and yes C++ compiler's have a cranky streak to them.

Apostrophe's and they're use's.


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