David Crocker wrote:

1. Is it appropriate to look for a single "general purpose" programming
language? Consider the following application areas:

a) Application packages
b) Operating systems, device drivers, network protocol stacks etc.
c) Real-time embedded software

The features you need for these applications are not the same. For example,
garbage collection is very helpful for (a) but is not acceptable in (b) and (c).
For (b) you may need to use some low-level tricks which you will not need for
(a) and probably not for (c).

I agree completely that one language does not fit all. But that does not completely obviate the question, just requires some scoping.

2. Do we need programming languages at all? Why not write precise high-level
specifications and have the system generate the program, thereby saving time and
eliminating coding error? [This is not yet feasible for operating systems, but
it is feasible for many applications, including many classes of embedded

The above is the art of programming language design. Programs written in high-level languages are *precisely* specifications that result in the system generating the program, thereby saving time and eliminating coding error. You will find exactly those arguments in the preface to the K&R C book.


Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.  http://immunix.com/~crispin/
CTO, Immunix          http://immunix.com

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