Linus's Thoughts on C/C++ Comparison
There is a reason people who understand programming choose to write in C out of the myriad of programming languages available today. While I could go on-and-on about the strengths of C, I think one of the icons of programming probably explains it best. This exchange occurred regarding the development of git and the choice by Lukas Sandström to include new bstring code in the git tree. What follows is pure development poetry...
From: Linus Torvalds
linux-foundation.org> Subject: Re: [RFC] Convert builin-mailinfo.c to use The Better String Library. Newsgroups: gmane.comp.version-control.git Date: 2007-09-06 17:50:28 GMT (6 years, 48 weeks, 2 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes ago) On Wed, 5 Sep 2007, Dmitry Kakurin wrote: > > When I first looked at Git source code two things struck me as odd: > 1. Pure C as opposed to C++. No idea why. Please don't talk about portability, > it's BS. *YOU* are full of bullshit. C++ is a horrible language. It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it. Quite frankly, even if the choice of C were to do *nothing* but keep the C++ programmers out, that in itself would be a huge reason to use C. In other words: the choice of C is the only sane choice. I know Miles Bader jokingly said "to piss you off", but it's actually true. I've come to the conclusion that any programmer that would prefer the project to be in C++ over C is likely a programmer that I really *would* prefer to piss off, so that he doesn't come and screw up any project I'm involved with. C++ leads to really really bad design choices. You invariably start using the "nice" library features of the language like STL and Boost and other total and utter crap, that may "help" you program, but causes: - infinite amounts of pain when they don't work (and anybody who tells me that STL and especially Boost are stable and portable is just so full of BS that it's not even funny) - inefficient abstracted programming models where two years down the road you notice that some abstraction wasn't very efficient, but now all your code depends on all the nice object models around it, and you cannot fix it without rewriting your app. In other words, the only way to do good, efficient, and system-level and portable C++ ends up to limit yourself to all the things that are basically available in C. And limiting your project to C means that people don't screw that up, and also means that you get a lot of programmers that do actually understand low-level issues and don't screw things up with any idiotic "object model" crap. So I'm sorry, but for something like git, where efficiency was a primary objective, the "advantages" of C++ is just a huge mistake. The fact that we also piss off people who cannot see that is just a big additional advantage. If you want a VCS that is written in C++, go play with Monotone. Really. They use a "real database". They use "nice object-oriented libraries". They use "nice C++ abstractions". And quite frankly, as a result of all these design decisions that sound so appealing to some CS people, the end result is a horrible and unmaintainable mess. But I'm sure you'd like it more than git. Linus