Re: [gtk-list] Re: I want to understand

Jonathan Mark Brooks <> writes:

> On Wed, 14 Apr 1999 Robert_Gasch/ wrote:
> > 1) More people know C than C++. This means more potential programmers.
> I'm not certain is this is true anymore.  At one time, yes.  But if
> numerosity were an issue, I would suggest that GTK+ should have been
> written in Pascal or COBOL. :)

I'm pretty sure it's still true, if only because C++ is way harder to
master than C. There may be many more people knowing C++ than there
used to be a few years ago, but I don't think there are that many
effective C++ programmers.
> > 2) C is the de-facto standard for UNIX programming. (related to #1)
> Quite true.

In the tiny little wonderful world of Free Software, yes. In the
industry, I don't think so :-).

> > 4) Using C++ as the base would make other language bindings more difficult
> > to write (??)
> Disagree.  Actually, the object-oriented features of C++ would make it
> much easier to design bindings for other languages.  You can always limit
> wrappers/container classes, but adding features not supported by the
> language is another matter...

As someone else noted, binding C++ to another language first means to
wrap it in C (which isn't that much of a problem, and is much easier
than the other way around). Using exceptions can be a problem (the C
wrappers would have to turn that into setjmp/longjmp), but not an
unsolvable one.
> > 5) Just about any system has a decent C compiler ...


> Still true, although the recent standardization process has everyone
> scrambling to adhere to the standard.  Interesting that EGCS, an OSS free
> compiler system, has HP/SGI std STL library while MS VC++ apparently still
> does not. :)

True, but that doesn't mean it hasn't any (there are other STL
implementations). MS VC++ 5.0 is usually considered to be quite close
to the standard, much more than most Unix compilers (except egcs).
> Allow me to add 6)--politics.
> Yes, politics.  I have suspected for some time that the underlying basis
> for basing GTK+ on C was that it was more likely that you would be able to
> get OSS folks to support it if it was in C.

Not sure... Politics perhaps, but not quite these. If there were any,
it's because C++ is pretty much disliked among the hacker community,
most of the time for very bogus reasons (e.g. "I've heard that blah
blah so it sucks").

However, at the time GTK+ was developped, there simply wasn't any
decent freely available C++ compiler for Unix (g++ 2.7.2 could
probably have cut it language-wise, but would have produced *huge*
binaries), so they really hadn't much of a choice.

> > Try Gtk--, I use it and like it very much ...
> Its a good project.


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