A very short summary of Niklaus Wirth's talk at the Oberon Day @ CERN, 10-March-2004 © (2004) by Guenter Dotzel, modulAware.com
« Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler: The Programming Language Oberon
- Historical perspective
- The benefits of simplicity, and the curse of complexity
- Oberon for embedded systems
- When dealing with complicated problems, we should avoid complexity in the programming language.
- To make complicated things more reliable, we need full type checking at compile time.
- It is an obligation of the teacher to show that only simplicity leads to efficienct development, maintenance, and implementation.
- We do not want language with a huge library, since the more code you have in you program, the more bugs you have. To avoid inefficiency, implement solutions yourself and do not only make library calls.
- About his motivation to reduce the weight of a model helicopter by 18kg to 2kg by employing simpler hardware and software, Wirth said: «I've always been fascinated by flying objects.» Wirth replaced the two PC486 boards used for flight control and the huge batteries by one very small StrongARM processor board and a small battery and wrote an Oberon compiler code generator for the StrongARM in less than one month — «I did it over Christmas».
- Memory costs nothing today — at least I have told so, but being economic in software development is important.
- Large teams in programming are typically late or failed. OS360 had already 1000 programmers; look at what came out. »
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