The Reason why Linus Torvalds hates Pascal

I have encountered this week in a malling list of the Linux Kernel, and there is a discussion by Linus, on how stupid Pascal is etc (actually it was regarding using Goto in the Kernel, but the main lashing was nade by Linus regarding Pascal)… He gives wrong data about Pascal like "You can't give meaningful names for labels in Pascal", or "Pascal does not have break for loops" etc… All of this data is wrong of course.

So It took me a while to find in the ML why he dislike Pascal so much: He used the first version of draft by Nicolas Wirth about Pascal, and it lack of many issues. It's like I'll try Linux version 0.1, and claim that it sucks, because there is not even a basic support for my PC. It seems that the guy believe that if he wrote a kernel, he can throw dirt on anything he does not like, such as C++, Gnome/GTK and of course Pascal.

I'm still using Linux, not because it is good, but it is the least worse OS in the general purpose OS out there, but like in Windows, as soon as I'll find a better OS, I think I'll move to something that less stinks from narrow minding views.

The ML can be found here.

7 מחשבות על “The Reason why Linus Torvalds hates Pascal

  1. Marco van de Voort

    Did you also noted when Linus said that? Since e.g. the break came in later versions,and iirc in TP labels were numeric there too.,

    Usually (as for Kernigans flame) they are actually true at the time they are said. It's the people quoting them 10 years laters to prove something that are the problem, not the original texts.

  2. ik_5 מאת

    Actually he stated the following:

    (Yeah, yeah, most _practical_ versions of Pascal ended up having all the
    stuff necessary to break structure, but as you may be able to tell, I was
    one of the unwashed masses who had to write in "standard Pascal" in my
    youth. I'm scarred for life).

    So he even know that it is not valid anymore (btw only 5 years later), but it does not stop him from giving such claims.

  3. ארתיום

    Ok, lets take a simple look. When linux was written? in 1991

    When break statement was introduced in Pascal? I think that was TP 6 or 7 — that was after he started to develop linux kernel.

    I had written pascal in thous days — it was absolutely no powered language in these days (even OO TP7). Even it already included many extensions to standard one.

    Another thing is that it totally lacks of moder standards (at least according to wikipedia) so, there are many extensions but everyone does this in its own way.

    Another issue: Do you know when GOTO used in Linux kernel? It some kind of exceptions replacement — all cleanup procedures are placed at the end — single return point, and you GOTO there on errors — this promises that everything will released on the end. That's quite smart way to do things well.

    I can tell one little thing, Pascal is nice language but very few know it and use it.

    BTW: Don't you know that Linus doesn't chose words well?

    In his terms, many things are crap. BTW about the point he calls gnome crap — I agree with him — printing dialog that do not allow to choose the quality of print (color/bw, draft) because it may *confuse* users is defiantly crap 🙂

  4. ik_5 מאת

    Well, Linux wrote it on 2003, and I had an argument with Muli at Whatsup (in hebrew), I showed him a better way to do the same, and he agreed that it does the same thing, however, it is better to do it with goto.

    Regardless of that, I agree with Linus regarding C++ and few other thing, but that does not excuse him.

    BTW On standard Pascal there was written one or more operating systems at universities, and the beginning of Object psacal was in 1982 by Apple and not by Borland (just few pointers)

  5. Vinzent Höfler

    The break statement was introduced in Borland Pascal 7.0 and that was 1991, surely long before Linux got famous with his fundamentally broken concept of a macro-kernel OS. Still, for lack of a supported and fully functional modern micro-kernel, I am using Linux, too.

  6. rich

    Its because he writes in C and everyone else writes in c, so he hates things not C.

    typical. C programer.

    Try writing FPC for once and you'll C that C is for confusing idiots that can't code.

    Pascal is much cleaner.

  7. jgsalas

    I use C and Pascal. Pascal, because it's convenient for desktop and mobile applications, and C for embedded systems. I think that C is a far nicer language. Linus says goofy stuff about pascal because he had a bad experience earlier. Strangely, he seems to appreciate Visual basic (!?), which is an extremely crappy language imo, but sure it has it's fans.
    Pascal compilers are very good imo, including delphi an fpc, but the syntax is definitely ugly, C, with its betraying flexibility is certainly nicer for intellectual types.

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