Who Invented the Pascal Programming Language?

If you answered "Mr. Pascal," you'd be off by about 300 years! The mathematician Blaise Pascal, whose Pascal programming language is named after, died in 1662.

The Pascal programming language was invented by Niklaus Wirth, who had this funny thing to say about his name:

“Whereas Europeans generally pronounce my name the right way (‘Nick-louse Veert’), Americans invariably mangle it into ‘Nickel’s Worth.’ This is to say that Europeans call me by name, but Americans call me by value.”

Make Use Of blog has a very interesting article about Mr. Wirth, who also advocated the use of "lean" softwares:

In his article named “A Plea for Lean Software” [PDF] which was written by Wirth in 1995, he explains some of the issues with software development and why it’s important to create clean, organized code by quoting two “laws” that he believes reflect the business:

  • Software expands to fill the available memory. (Parkinson)
  • Software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster. (Reiser)

Interesting ideas, considering the number of lines of code of some of the most used software today, seems to be growing larger even as the hardware grows smaller each day. For example:

  • Basic had 4,000 lines of code in 1975, now it has over 2 million.
  • The first version of Word had 27,000 lines of code. The current version of Office has over 30 million.
  • Mac OS X is made of about 90 million lines of code.
  • Windows 95 was made of 15 million lines of code, Windows 7 is made of over 50 million lines of code.
  • A single game application for the iPhone, such as the “Unreal” game app has over 2 million lines of code.


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Oh, the memories... Turbo Pascal on a CP/M machine was my first encounter with professional programming. Haven't heard of him since university. We - as Germans - never had any difficulties pronouncing his name. Our problem was Donald Knuth and his German looking surname...
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Right, as if Americans are so dumb that they pronounce a name that looks very much like ''Nicholas'' as ''nick-uhl''.

Another one of those ''ain't Americans stupid'' myths spread by yet another european.

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Modern OS's are such bloated Fisher Price Candy Coated GUI's with Swiss-Army-Do-Everything features that it's nearly impossible to code lean applications.

Even Steve Gibson doesn't hand compile app's for Win7.

Add in complicated IDE's that do way more then just "help you program" and my Toolkit is bigger then your Toolkit subroutines and massively fat applications is what you get.

Nobody even tries to program lean anymore. If it's too slow - instead of tightening up the code - they just throw bigger hardware at it.

Just check the minimum spec's on any modern game for proof.
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Two points to make:

1) Comparing today's Office to the old DOS Word isn't exactly fair. You can however to the custom install of office and tell it not to install Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, etc. And then you can tell it not to install many features within Word itself. Even then, even ignoring the many features that'll still be installed that weren't in the original Word, what you'll get will be far easier to learn and use than the original Word.

2) In the days of 10MB hard drives, my drive was filled with about 95% program code and about 5% data. Now in the days of 1TB hard drives with music and video and digital photography, my drive is filled with about 5% program code and about 95% data.
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