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Saturday, June 10

Programming languages are like cars

Assembler: A formula I race car. Very fast but difficult to drive and maintain.
FORTRAN II: A Model T Ford. Once, it was the king of the road.
FORTRAN IV: A Model A Ford.
FORTRAN 77: a six-cylinder Ford Fairlane with standard transmission and no seat belts.
COBOL: A delivery van. Sure, it is bulky, and my God is it ugly, but it does the work.
BASIC: A second-hand Rambler with a rebuilt engine and patched upholstery. Your dad bought it for you to learn to drive. You will ditch it as soon as you can afford a new one.
PL/I: A Cadillac convertible with automatic transmission, a two-tone paint job, white-wall tires, chrome exhaust pipes, and fuzzy dice hanging in the windshield.
C++: A black Firebird, the all macho car. Comes with optional seatbelt (lint) and optional fuzz buster (escape to assembler).
ALGOL 60: An Austin Mini. Boy, that is a small car.
ALGOL 68: An Aston Martin. An impressive car but not just anyone can drive it.
Pascal: A Volkswagon Beetle. It is small but sturdy. Was once popular with intellectual types.
LISP: An electric car. It is simple but slow. Seat belts are not available.
PROLOG/LUCID: Prototype concept cars.
FORTH: A go-cart.
LOGO: A kiddie's replica of a Rolls Royce. Comes with a real engine and a working horn.
APL: A double-decker bus. It takes rows and columns of passengers to the same place all at the same time but it drives only in reverse and is instrumented in Greek.
Ada: An army-green Mercedes-Benz staff car. Power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmission are standard. No other colours or options are available. If it is good enough for generals, it is good enough for you.
Java: All-terrain. V-e-e-e-ery slow vehicle.

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