[linux-elitists] Nobody's favorite language? C++ and free software

Rich Bodo rsb@ostel.com
Tue Mar 25 14:35:16 PST 2003

The dearth of C++ examples is a misconception.  There are plenty of
good C++ libraries and other projects out there to look at.  Google,
sourceforge or freshmeat turn up more than I could ever evaluate.  One
good project like KDE spawns a thousand subprojects.  Also, sometimes
you just have to use C++.  Lots of library writers and hardware
vendors use it, and if you want to inherit from their classes, you
will want to use C++, too.  However, you don't have to use templates
or multiple inheritance, and shouldn't.  Sane people generally don't.
When I program in C++ anymore, I usually use single inheritance, and
the keywords new and delete, and that's it for C++.  Everything else
is C.  Compile times vary widely.  All of the slow (compiling), huge
(binary) projects I have seen are template oriented.


Rich Bodo | rsb@ostel.com | 650-964-4678

On Tue, 25 Mar 2003, Don Marti wrote:

> Is it my imagination, or is the number of useful free software
> projects in C++ on the rise?  (I'm partly going by my Linux Journal
> inbox here.)
> For example, Xerces and Xalan at apache.org are in C++.
> (Do the people at apche.org REALLY think that if you're trying to
> look up the web server docs and your fingers slip and you type their
> site instead, that you'll leave your server spewing 500s while you
> look at porn?  Never mind.  Dumb question.)
> As I was saying, C++.  It seems like this language is hard to
> mention without someone coming up with one of many common criticisms.
> A good example is this late 2000 Advogato thread, which covered
> some key objections to C++ among free software developers:
> http://www.advogato.org/article/207.html
> I've tried to list a few from that thread, this list, and other
> sources.
> 1. Everybody knows C, few people know all of C++.
> 2. C++ is a Very Large Language
>   K&R, The C Programming Language, 2nd ed. -- 274pp.
>   Stroustrup, The C++ Programming Language, 3rd Special Ed. -- 1040pp.
> "It seems to me quite plausible that the complexity of the language adds
> to the time and cost of a full education in C++." -- Raph Levien
> 3. Unstable C++ ABI in late g++ 2.9.x, early 3.x
> 4. Some compilers still don't support ISO standard C++, so
> real-world projects end up falling back to a conservative but
> ugly subset that doesn't offer compelling advantages over C.
> (see, for example http://www.mozilla.org/hacking/portable-cpp.html)
> 5. GNU tools are slower at building C++ projects than those in C.
> 6. Binaries are "huge."
> 7. C++, because of its corporate success, is associated with non-fun
> projects.
> 8. Not enough beautiful free C++ code to set a good example, while
> there's lots of beautiful C.
> My question is -- now that we have GCC 3.2.x
> (http://gcc.gnu.org/gcc-3.2/ -- "A primary objective was to stabilize
> the C++ ABI; we believe that the interface to the compiler and the
> C++ standard library are now relatively stable.") and an increasing
> collection of interesting free software using C++, is it time to
> take a second look at this perhaps unfairly maligned language?
> --
> Don Marti                  Even if we don't get DMCA reform, loudly
> http://zgp.org/~dmarti     demanding DMCA reform is going to get the
> dmarti@zgp.org             injustice of the DMCA in front of the next
> KG6INA                     jury.  Make noise.  It counts.
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