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Idaho State University

Glossary

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Languages Of Choice
  • Nearly every hacker knows one of C or Lisp, and most good ones are fluent in both. Over the last years, Perl has rapidly been gaining favor, especially as a tool for systems-administration utilities and rapid prototyping. Smalltalk and Prolog are also popular in small but influential communities. There is also a rapidly dwindling category of older hackers with FORTRAN, or even assembler, as their language of choice. They often prefer to be known as Real Programmers, and other hackers consider them a bit odd (see "The Story of Mel, a Real Programmer" in Appendix A). Assembler is generally no longer considered interesting or appropriate for anything but HLL implementation, glue, and a few time-critical and hardware-specific uses in systems programs. FORTRAN occupies a shrinking niche in scientific programming. Most hackers tend to frown on languages like Pascal and Ada, which don't give them the near-total freedom considered necessary for hacking (see bondage-and-discipline language), and to regard everything even remotely connected with COBOL or other traditional card walloper languages as a total and unmitigated loss.