Dijkstra on Ada

Here is a quote from Dijkstra (EWD663), after a month spent reviewing the four contenders for the language Ada.

“And this concludes a month of most depressing work. Why does the world seem to persist so stubbornly in being such a backward place? Why do people refuse to learn from the past and why do they persist in making the known and well-identified mistakes again? Is is all very saddening”.



One thought on “Dijkstra on Ada

  1. codeinfig says:

    the perfect is the enemy of the good. dijkstra was perfect. he would never be satisfied at all the improvement he pushed into programming. because we live in this world: https://www.jwz.org/doc/worse-is-better.html

    im mostly on the “worse is better” side. theres a reason for this: im doing it largely for fun, and because i want to help the people that are having the most trouble learn something really important. keeping it simple really matters. dijkstra didnt understand the bell curve, or he wanted to live in a world that only included the middle. whats great is thats the world he maintained.

    doing it right is just not simple. theres elegance, and a lack of extraneous “bolts” holding crap together, and i respect that– deeply. im a “worse is better is worse” sympathizer. but i see it as a pendulum that swings one way and another. im absolutely horrified that windows runs on mission critical systems, though being horrified wont change it– neither will pretending the bell curve doesnt exist.

    theres clearly a need for ada and things like ada, but relying on them would still be a waste of effort for a number of less important applications. as much as we both hate it, (i hate it when it matters to me,) its the simplest of economics: some things will get very cheap. also worth noting is that everyone hates their own code, and most people hate someone elses.

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