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Interesting article from Stevey's "Drunken Blog Rants™", about dying and dead languages - from Fortran, Algol, Lisp, C++ to Perl. Posted in 2004, the rants against Perl are very strong. Stevey describes how totally crazy its founder - Lary Wall - was, turning Perl into a cult, and how and why Ruby and Python are superior.

It goes as far as "If I hire you and you write one line of code in Perl, I will fire you immediately" (admittedly, he had drunk a bit of wine when he wrote that article).

An Amazon hiring recruiter posted a comment, saying that he gets every new recruit to read Stevey's article.

In any case, even in 2013 I still write code in Perl, in particular to produce our Data Science Central weekly digests. But it's true that these are small pieces of code, written by just one guy, and string processing intensive.

Read Stevey's rant about Ancient Languages. What other languages do you think will die soon, and rest in the museum of programming languages?

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Comment by Donald Mayfield on January 13, 2016 at 6:12am

I wrote my master's project (Beef Cattle Simulation) in '79 in Fortran IV.  It did garbage collection (of dead animals records) and was essentially a graphdb in memory (arrays).   Glad to hear Fortran is still in use.    I learned LISP in an undergrad programming languages class in about 1977.  It's neat.  I didn't know it ever took off. I learned some C, which clearing took off big time.  PL1 was in use in the 80s at my old employer and so was AUTOCODER from the 1960s as well as Fortran IV.  Nomad was really big at my employer but failed to get traction after mainframes were outsourced.  

Comment by Alastair Muir on November 10, 2015 at 6:33am

@Vincent - Taleb link broken - I will try again

Essentially, the longer a particular technology is around, it appears that it is more likely to last longer

Comment by Paul-Michael Agapow on May 10, 2015 at 4:13am

I wonder if Java might be soon on the chopping block. The JVM is here to stay, but with various scripting languages and Scala on the rise, Java could be the least popular way to program on the JVM.

Comment by Pradyumna S. Upadrashta on September 27, 2013 at 11:20am

Fortran (aka HPF) still lives and thrives in the High Performance Computing world of MPI and OpenMP.

Comment by Lito P. Cruz on April 7, 2013 at 2:44pm


One time I got paid programming in Perl. This was mainly in relation to my work with RDBMS products and also I was responsible for building code, so Perl was very handy and a lot of fun.

However, I do not think Lisp is dying. In fact concepts found in it are way ahead of new languages like Java (where I got paid also programming in it). For example, the idea of garbage collection, the idea of documentation found in code -javadoc. This was already present in Lisp many years ago. Lessons found in Lisp resurface in some incarnation in the new languages, even like Ruby and Python.

My feeling is that eventually Java will die, not right away because it has momentum and a lot of money have been invested into working Java code. That is an asset companies won't easily ditch. Eventually people will learn about functional programming and they will shift to this because it is more elegant and fun, so I say Scala will probably gain ground after Java.


Comment by Vincent Granville on February 15, 2013 at 11:17am

Interesting comment by one of our readers:

Before saying anything I would take a look to this page with the rank of the most popular programming languages:

You will see where "Perl" is compared to other more "sexy" and recent languages.
Interesting answer by one of our readers:

And I would recommend a careful reading of this recent post of Nassim Taleb in Wired:
By Carlos Ortega

Comment by Cole Harris on February 12, 2013 at 6:15am

Every ten years or so I find myself installing an APL interpreter....

Comment by Tim Daciuk on February 10, 2013 at 11:59am

APL... wow, that is a blast from the past.  There are three things I'd like to do, before my life is done.  Write two lines of APL and make the bugger run!  It is about the only thing regarding APL I still remember.

Comment by David Robinson on February 10, 2013 at 4:47am
Two likely dead (or on life support)languages with more than one book on my shelf are FORTH and APL. I got into FORTH when I was working on a homemade telescope controller for an old Newtonian. My dissertation was done completely in APL since I needed a language that was easily recursive. An hour after i wrote a script, i had no clue how it worked. Definitely a 'read once' language.
Comment by Oscar Wijsman on February 10, 2013 at 1:47am

How about a language called Credit. Macro assembler, had to compiled, linked and was run via an interpreter. Extremely efficient for CPU and memory and easy to debug. It was used on the Philips P6xxxx minicomputers with the operating system TOS.

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