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Linux Journal: Interview with Bjarne Stroustrup

Aug 29, 2003, 10:00 (18 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Aleksey Dolya)

"LJ: Every famous man has his beginning. Bill Gates, for example, began by writing his first program in Basic, a program his school had bought. What was your beginning?

"BS: I think the key project was a distributed systems simulator that I wrote in Simula67 as part of my PhD work at Cambridge. However, much of what I did during my university years contributed significantly. For example, I financed my Masters degree by writing small commercial programs for the Arhus office of Burroughs, a company that later merged with Univac to create Unisys. There, I learned to develop programs that other people would rely on for their livelihood; that's very different from just getting a program to work for yourself or your friends. I also had to design those programs in consultation with their eventual end-users; that too was very different from simply solving a programming exercise at the university. In addition, my work with machine architecture helped me make decisions about programming languages and implementation techniques.

"If you are interested in the personal aspects of the birth of C++, you might consider reading the chapter about me and C++ in Steve Lohr's book Go To: The Story of the Math Majors, Bridge Players, Engineers, Chess Wizards, Scientists and Iconoclasts who were the Hero Programmers of the Software Revolution (ISBN 0-46-504225-2). For a more technical description of the origins of C++, see my book The Design and Evolution of C++..."

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