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James Palermo
James Palermo

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What is forgotten about why we need C++ for the future

[Note: I will be using C and C++ interchangeably throughout.]
Discussions about Rust, Golang, Kotlin, etc replacing C++ always overlook how deeply entrenched C/CPP is in the world. Cars, cable boxes, movie projectors, fighter jets, particle colliders… heck Python uses a ton of C under the hood and the internet runs on Nodejs, written in C, running on operating systems written in C. Accessed by browsers written in C. The world runs on it.

Yeah it’s got a lot of problems but when a language is so widely deployed the problems are equally widely known. The quirks don’t surprise engineers, they build for them. The capabilities and limitations of the language are known quantities. Sure Ryan Dhal can complain about C and switch to Rust for Deno, but if you’re coding a new missile guidance system do you wanna use a new language that is theoretically better and easier to use, or the one that you’ve spent 20 years getting REALLY good at using for guiding missiles?

I predict that C/CPP will be replaced by a new language around the same time QWERTY keyboards are replaced by a new layout.

I'm not sure when that will be, but I'd love to hear from any of you who can see a practical path to what would be nothing short of a revolution in how we tell the stuff in the world what we want it to do. It seems such a long uphill fight to my eyes, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise.


  • Jas

[Note: This is a lightly revised repost of comment I wrote, which I wanted to publish under my profile for future reference]

Top comments (4)

christianparpart profile image
Christian Parpart • Edited

Accessed by browsers written in C

I think you meant C++ here :)

Also worth mentioning. It is not just about existing code but new projects too. A good example is Google's new operating system Fuchsia and its kernel Zircon, written in modern C++.

That being said. Hypes come and go.

james_palermo_bc208e463e4 profile image
James Palermo

Didn't know about that project! Thanks for the reply, I'll have to check that out.

You're also correct about browser code, so I added a note to the beginning that basically says I couldn't be bothered to check on whether I typed C or C++ in this post. 😆 Thanks for the heads up. 👍

c0mtruise profile image
Prakhar Shukla

C++ is overlooked ? It's one of the highest paying job right now. Embedded engineers are in demand since the boom of IOT and ML. I don't think it's overlooked.

james_palermo_bc208e463e4 profile image
James Palermo

That is the thesis of this post. The massive footprint of C/Cpp is overlooked by those eager to see it die, not by those who actually need to make stuff. 😎