What Makes a Programming Language Popular? An Essay from a Historical Perspective Molisa Derk Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND, 58601, USA firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract Among the thousands of programming languages available, some languages become extremely popular, while others, thought to be superior in many ways, languish. This essay explores this situation from a historical perspective. Categories and Subject Descriptors K.2 [Computing Milieux]: History of Computing Software. General Terms Languages. it to hire programmers who know the language? If these are unavailable, how easy and/or economical is it to train existing personnel in that language? Does the language suit the needs of a substantial number of people? Did a language show promise only to be killed by a bad business decision? Some say it is impossible to predict or even explain the popularity of a language because of the variety of influences on how much it is used. 3. What do we mean by popular? Keywords Programming language popularity. 1. Background. About fifty years ago, there was a brand new programming language called Fortran. It was developed and promoted by IBM, at a time when IBM dominated computing. It had lots of new and wonderful features. Many colleges
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