Number of languages known [was Re: Python is readable] - somewhat OT

Prasad, Ramit ramit.prasad at
Thu Mar 29 23:30:04 CEST 2012

> >> You can't merge all of them without making a language that's
> >> suboptimal at most of those tasks - probably, one that's woeful at all
> >> of them. I mention SQL because, even if you were to unify all
> >> programming languages, you'd still need other non-application
> >> languages to get the job done.
> > ...
> > But this has nothing to do with being "suboptimal at most tasks". It's
> > easy to make a language that can do everything C can do, and also
> > everything that Haskell can do. I can write an implementation of this
> > programming language in one line of bash[*]. The easy way is to make
> > those features mutually exclusive. We don't have to sacrifice anything
> > by including more features until we want them to work together.
> Of course it's POSSIBLE. You can write everything in Ook if you want
> to. But any attempt to merge all programming languages into one will
> either:
> 1) Allow different parts of a program to be written in different
> subsets of this universal language, which just means that you've
> renamed all the languages but kept their distinctions (so a programmer
> still has to learn all of them); or
> 2) Shoehorn every task into one language, equivalent to knowing only
> one language and using that for everything. Good luck with that.

In a much simpler context, isn't this what .NET's CLR does? Except
that instead of converting each language into each other it converts
everything into a different language. I have trouble in my mind seeing
how what you suggest would not end up with badly coded versions of a
translated program. Never yet seen a program that could convert from one 
paradigm/language directly to another (and do it well/maintainable). 

> The debate keeps on coming up, but it's not just political decisions
> that maintain language diversity.

Not a bad thing in my opinion.  A tool for each problem, but I can 
see the appeal of a multi-tool language. 


Ramit Prasad | JPMorgan Chase Investment Bank | Currencies Technology
712 Main Street | Houston, TX 77002
work phone: 713 - 216 - 5423

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