Programming Habits in Python

Philip 'Yes, that's my address' Newton nospam.newton at
Fri Dec 8 03:46:36 EST 2000

On Thu, 07 Dec 2000 08:28:21 GMT, "Greg Jorgensen" <gregj at> wrote:

> Knuth has since expressed some regrets about using
> such a low-level language, but at the time it seemed a good choice
> (programmers pretty much had to know how to read and write assembly back
> then), and the high-level languages then in vogue (PL/I, Fortran) have so
> many shortcomings that the example implementations would have suffered.
> Regardless of the language Knuth had chosen to use for examples, the
> examples would be antiquated today.

He makes that point on his web pages somewhere, probably in the FAQ. What
language should he choose? Regardless of his choice, it'll be antiquated in a
few years' time. If had chosen PL/I or Fortran, it'd be old now. If he had
chosen C, some people might say "it should be C++ or Java". If he chooses Java
-- well, will that still be current in 10 years' time? Will the basic principles
and algorithms of computer programming still be around? Probably no to the first
question, yes to the second.

And he does have a new assembly-type programming language called MMIX now, which
is based on a RISC-type machine, if I remember correctly. You can download the
spec as a PostScript paper. AIUI, he'll change the examples in the first few
volumes from MIX to MMIX if he produces a new edition, and upcoming volumes will
use MMIX from the start.

Philip Newton <nospam.newton at>
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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