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Re: [xml-dev] More predictions to mull over

Len Bullard wrote:
> We’ve had the same ‘… is dead’ predictions for lots of languages and 
> technologies.   We’ve been having the same debates on the VRML/X3D lists 
> since those statements from the gamers that ‘no one serious does 
> anything with….” some months ago.  Fortran is still out there, Cobol is 
> still out there and any time someone says ‘yes, but who cares’, check 
> out which language is running a lot of missile control systems and which 
> one is still running a lot of banks.  Densities change but not the fact 
> of for a sizable x there is some evidence of n.

Dead or dying. CORBA is dead. DOS, Cobol and Fortran are dying. I teach 
at an engineering school, and I'm one of the few people there (including 
among the faculty) who knows anything about Fortran. I don't know anyone 
who still uses it, though probably there are still a few physics 
professors who are happily coding away in Fortran, but they'll all 
retire in the next few few years.

Languages like COBOL and Fortran are petrified fossils. So are operating 
systems like DOS, OS/2, and Mac OS 9. There is a huge amount of useful 
legacy software that keeps chugging along on these platforms, but nobody 
is dong anything new with them. At most they're carefully maintaining 
the old stuff. They're like decommissioned satellites left in a slowly 
decaying orbit for years or decades. Eventually however they will burn 
up in the atmosphere.

On the other hand tech like CORBA and OSI that never achieved orbit or 
even left the launch pad in the first place are thoroughly dead. They 
don't even have much of a legacy to support. Maybe VRML was written off 
prematurely and will still take off. I don't know. But there are a lot 
of dead technologies out there.

Java, C++, Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, XML are all alive and are the 
hearts of vibrant ecosystems of new code. It's not just the size of x 
that matters. It's the velocity.

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo@metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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