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Compatibility woes / deprecation (Miscellaneous)

posted by marcov(R), 18.02.2009, 13:12

> > > The whole point of things like ANSI C and POSIX is that it'll be
> > portable.
> >
> > HAHAHHAHA, <chokes and laughs>. You still believe that?
> What is so laughable about Rugxulo's remark? I also "believe" that an
> important goal of ANSI C and POSIX was to increase the level of
> portability.

Sure that was the intention of the committee (not necesarily the same as the vendors that initiated it), but that was achieved mostly by allowing both practices (like e.g. both SYSV and BSD, take your pick) and limiting functionality to an ancient base set. (read: the lowest common denomitor that already was nearly portable).

That is a bit a grim look, since yes, there have been developments in later standards. In general their effect was mixed. It did improve portability, but also the compromise avoided a shakeout of minor vendors, which hampered development of a wider portable subset.

However IMHO they are a minor footnote in computing history, and not the glorious revolution it is often pretended to be.

> Do you know some conspiracy theory which claims that the true
> intentions were totally different ones? So please tell us more!

I think the primary intention was not to go out of business. The bigger vendors thought more portability would make them stronger against emerging PCs on one side, and IBM with its mainframes on the other. The smaller ones saw a way to stay in business just a bit longer.

Also detaching Unix a bit from AT&T was a main objective. AT&T didn't see Unix as core business.


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