[quote author=Ian Tindale link=topic=63069.msg457821#msg457821 date=1307215508]
Languages on the other hand seem to have been marooned back in the ’60s by a clique of beardy self-flagellating programmers that learned pointlessly badly designed languages the hard way and believe that this is the only way to achieve true power
Well, in point of fact, coding in assembly language gives you a lot of power over what the machine does. ]:) And in fact, I had been writing COBOL, BASIC, and FORTRAN before I did any serious work in assembly language, and it was doing that which made me a much better programmer in any language.
There are, in fact, reasons for the design decisions in any language. They aren't pointless. You might not agree with the design parameters, put in fact they can be quite pointed (or pointy, or use pointers). The verbose monstrosity known as COBOL was designed, on purpose, to be verbose, so that it would be closer to being self-documenting. FORTRAN -- FORmula TRANslator -- was designed as a scientific language. And back then, compute cycles, storage, and memory, were all hideously expensive. Lots of compromises went into programming back then. I wrote a lot of the code that people later bitched about when Y2K came around. But I guess nobody remembers that there was a time when you saved 2 bytes if you could.
And when it comes to writing code, well, you are still going to need statements for addition, subtraction, looping, etc., and it's difficult to envision how to state those things in ways that don't sound like -- well, what they are.
There are, however, many, many modern languages from which to choose. I couldn't begin to list them all. Perl, for example, is a far cry from FORTRAN. Some people hate it. But I wouldn't describe Larry Wall as someone who's marooned in the sixties. (He doesn't have beard either.)
Referring back to the original article, digital illiteracy is a problem. I hear this a lot from my friends who are still working in the IT industry. Lots of younger coders are coming out of college without understanding what real world programming is about, and haven't learned the sort of fundamental logical skills that comes from writing languages such as C or FORTRAN. Pulling up an IDE and stringing together a bunch of pasted-in Java classes isn't programming. I wonder how many recent Comp-Sci graduates even know who Donald Knuth is.
BTW, I do have a beard, but I don't whip myself these days. :)
ETA: Oh, and Linux Rules! What better platform to use, than one which will let you delve into any aspect you want -- even to the point of kernel programming. And where all the code is there for you to read. If you want to really learn how to write good code, you should probably be reading good code. Try doing that with your closed source Windoze boxen.