What makes a programming language successful?

So, a burning question amongst computer geeks and nerds (besides which is better, “vi” or “emacs), is “Why is C still so hot, when (fill in the blank) is so much better?” Here’s one answer, from Wired magazine:

According to Wired, the secret to making a successful programming language is: How awesome the language creators’ beards are!  Of course it’s tongue-in-cheek, based on a humorous “analysis” done by an Israeli scholar named Tamir Khason.  Mr. Khason made the discovery that the most popular language “C” was created by two men with extreme beards!  This was at a time when beards were not so popular, except among fringe types like hippies (and computer nerds, apparently).  The pictures of Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie on the Wired page tell the tale.  The same for the “Java” language, created by James Gosling, another beardslinger of some repute!

The languages that didn’t (or haven’t yet) caught on were created by a mostly clean-shaven cadre of geeks.  The languages they created all have great things to recommend them, but they just haven’t caught on like “C”, “C++”, “Java” and others.  According to Wired, the one language that breaks this rule is “COBOL”, which was created by Admiral Grace Hopper.  The article suggests that “the rule” is waived if the creator can’t grow facial hair!

At any rate, it’s a funny article, I recommend it and the website of Mr. Khason.

Also, it’s my considered opinion that a great beard makes for a great programmer!  ^__^

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