Monday, September 24, 2007

Has Linus become a liability?

I don't mean a technical liability, I mean a diplomatic liability, and as a consequence, a dis-unifying forced for future Linux kernel development. Linus' flame posts are quite famous and you can find them if you search, but the one post that makes me wonder just what medications Linus failed to take the day he posted his current gem concerns the use of C++. In yet another trademark post, this one in a newsgroup for git, Linus opined the following:
C++ is a horrible language. It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it. Quite frankly, even if the choice of C were to do *nothing* but keep the C++ programmers out, that in itself would be a huge reason to use C.

In other words: the choice of C is the only sane choice. I know Miles Bader jokingly said "to piss you off", but it's actually true. I've come to the conclusion that any programmer that would prefer the project to be in C++ over C is likely a programmer that I really *would* prefer to piss off, so that he doesn't come and screw up any project I'm involved with.
I guess Linus must have forgotten about his expression of undying love for KDE, when in December of 2005 Linus opined yet again:
I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE.

This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do.

Please, just tell people to use KDE.
I hate to break it to you Linus old buddy, but KDE is based on Trolltech's Qt, and it's written in C++. While Gnome is written in good solid Linus-approved C code. Gee, I wonder which way you really truly feel?

But it must be great to work with Linus. Never a dull moment, I can sure tell you. I would probably run around screaming that Linux was doomed if it weren't for other developers like Andrew Morton. Thank God for grownups working on Linux.


  1. Hi Bill,

    I find it hard to defend Linus here. The fact that C++ is flexible and so very powerful and versatile means inevitably that inept programmers can write poor code. The same can be said of machine code. My answer to Linus is "So what?" Do you BAN the use of C++ which in the hands of a competent programmer can be made to perform very efficient tasks? No. You accept that there Are poorly written programs AND a certain commercial product is STILL an example of it.
    But let us not forget that Linus IS a man (Only revered) and therefore mortal and therefore fallible.

  2. yeah, i'm a fan of linus for, obivously, creating linux but what drug has he been on, lately? i agree that C is a great language but i fail to see any "real" issues with C++.


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