Microsoft open sources GWBASIC

Liam Proven lproven at
Fri May 29 07:20:53 CDT 2020

On Wed, 27 May 2020 at 21:40, John Ames <commodorejohn at> wrote:

> Agreed. While I'm much more favorably disposed towards C than you are,
> the increasing homogeneity of almost all modern languages is
> discouraging and, I think, detrimental to the field as a whole. Forth
> and Smalltalk alike were eye-openers when I discovered them (and
> Smalltalk in particular was a breath of fresh air, after I'd spent
> years failing to ever really grok OOP with the likes of C++ and Java,)
> because both presented genuinely *different* and beautifully
> consistent ways to think about structuring and specifying a computer
> program. These days, though, outside of deliberately jokey
> ultra-esoteric languages, it's pretty much just a bunch of
> domain-specific Java/Javascript knockoffs from horizon to horizon.

Indeed so.

And I have had earnest youngsters on Twitter and elsewhere very
seriously tell me that _no_ language could even theoretically be
immune to the problems of C, because _all_ languages are implemented
in C at the lowest level.

There are people in their 40s now, in senior positions and with tons
of experience, who have never in their lives seen any OS other than
Windows NT or Linux. Maybe FreeBSD if they are very

It is a biculture out there for most people. There _is_ nothing else.
They've never _heard_ of languages such as Forth or Prolog and
genuinely don't know anything else exists.

> It's marketing - consistency there is a non-consideration, if not
> actively striven against. The whole saga with CP/M on CBM was a
> boondoggle - the CP/M cart existed because business customers wanted a
> CP/M add-in to run their spreadsheets and their whatnot, but it didn't
> end up being a good fit for reasons already stated (slow CPU, slow
> disk, 40-column only.) The 128 improved on those points, but not
> nearly enough to become competitive with the advancements CP/M
> machines had made in that time, and in the process wasted precious
> man-hours and drove up the cost and complexity of the unit - and all
> the while CP/M had been losing ground to MS-DOS in the business market
> for years! But marketing promised it, so it had to happen... :/

This amazes me, but I think the evidence is incontrovertible now.

It's been a very educational discussion! Thanks to all who have joined it!

Liam Proven – Profile:
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