ED on OS

Ed Heil is always in fine form when he’s ranting about operating systems. Today’s subject is the unix underlying Mac OS X, but he finds a way to work in his real secret project, which is to replace the programming languages of the world with weird ones that no one has heard of:

The real problem is that C is the native language of Unix, and C is full of ways to shoot yourself in the foot. No bounds checking on arrays. Strings implemented as character arrays with the aforementioned lack of bounds checking. Pointer arithmetic. A type system that’s just strict enough to inconvenience you and make you cast types and cause trouble. These make things “efficient.” But if somebody told you you could wave a wand and make all the computers in the world 10% less “efficient” while preventing 98% of the security holes that exist, wouldn’t you do it? That wand is called “using a safe language,” a language like Common Lisp, or Scheme, or Haskell, or O’Caml, or even a good “scripting” language when speed isn’t critical. The aforementioned languages can be compiled to be in the same league as C and would probably be faster if a greater community was interested in seeing their compilers optimized.

I agree with everything he says, though it should be noted that I know next to nothing about programming computers, and thus I’m cruising on the sheer structure of his rhetoric. But after all, isn’t that what rants are all about?