Dijkstra - was: [Oberon] Reiser - Wirth book

erikc firewevr at airmail.net
Mon Oct 4 17:30:34 MEST 2010

This reminds me of Dijkstra's rather famous 1968 letter to 
/Communications of the ACM/ "Go To Statement Considered Harmful" in 
which he argues for structured control statements.  But he does not 
mention COBOL in it.  (COBOL still sucks, BTW)


I also found this other link to his collected writings.

link:    http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/


On 2010-10-04 11:45, Duke Normandin wrote:
> On Mon, 4 Oct 2010, Treutwein Bernhard wrote:
>> Hi Bob,
>> [...]
>>> Good luck with that. Experience has taught me that Dijkstra
>>> was right about COBOL.
>> just curious, what did Dijkstra say about COBOL, I know his nice sentence:
>> 	The tools we use hav a profound (and devious!)
>> 	influence on our thinking.
> Here's a quote from Wikipedia:
> [quote]
> Lack of structurability
> In his letter to an editor in 1975 titled "How do we tell truths that
> might hurt?", which was critical of several programming languages
> contemporaneous with COBOL, computer scientist and Turing Award
> recipient Edsger Dijkstra remarked that "The use of COBOL cripples the
> mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal
> offense."[6]
> In his dissenting response to Dijkstra's article and the above
> "offensive statement", computer scientist Howard E. Tompkins defended
> structured COBOL: "COBOL programs with convoluted control flow indeed
> tend to 'cripple the mind'", but this was because "there are too many
> such business application programs written by programmers that have
> never had the benefit of structured COBOL taught well...".[7]
> Additionally, the introduction of OO-COBOL has added support for
> object-oriented code as well as user-defined functions and
> user-defined data types to COBOL's repertoire.
> [/quote]

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