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Saber Taylor: Unix and C Dependency

Aug 20, 2001, 22:09 (44 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Saber Taylor)

[ Thanks to Saber Taylor for this link. ]

There is nothing like Unix to inspire love and hate in the computing industry. A Unix help page preface sums up the Unix experience nicely by saying:
Unix is great, but it sucks. Its great because it is all powerful and you can do anything. It sucks because it is obscure, non-standardized, undocumented crap and you spend half your time digging through books that are way too long by O'Reilly. Someday the makers of Solaris, Irix, Linux, HPUX, AIX, etc, will wonder why everyone is buying Windows NT machines and they will standardize UNIX a little more and make things easier. [1]

A large portion of the blame and credit is due to the C programming language, but I have not seen a broad treatment examining their coexistence. C philosophy and utilization has traditionally permeated Unix circles, but are C variants somehow better than other languages on Unix? Considering that C/C++ programmers will be outnumbered by Java programmers next year [2], the question is topical.

Throughout the paper, Unix-based Operating Systems may be referred to simply as Unix O.S.'s. Unix is trademarked, but common heritage systems are often labeled Unix and this has been permitted sometimes [3]. I am using an informal tone when it aids the presentation.The reader is assumed to not be a computer novice, and is expected to be conversant with Unix folklore and computer terms. An attempt has been made to survey various different layers of the Unix/C connection, and errors in this document should not be unexpected."

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