What killed Smalltalk could kill Python

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Thu Jan 22 00:55:27 CET 2015


On Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 10:37 AM, Tim Daneliuk <tundra at tundraware.com> wrote:
> I find these kinds of discussions sort of silly.  Once there is a critical
> mass of installed base, no language EVER dies.

Not sure about that. Back in the 1990s, I wrote most of my code in
REXX, either command-line or using a GUI toolkit like VX-REXX. Where's
REXX today? Well, let's see. It's still the native-ish language of
OS/2. Where's OS/2 today? Left behind. REXX has no Unicode support (it
does, however, support DBCS - useful, no?), no inbuilt networking
support (there are third-party TCP/IP socket libraries for OS/2 REXX,
but I don't know that other REXX implementations have socket services;
and that's just basic BSD sockets, no higher-level protocol handling
at all), etc, etc. Sure, it's not technically dead... but is anyone
developing the language further? I don't think so. Is new REXX code
being written? Not a lot. Yet when OS/2 was more popular, REXX
definitely had its installed base. It was the one obvious scripting
language for any OS/2 program. Languages can definitely die, or at
least be so left behind that they may as well be dead.

ChrisA



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