I guess I'm an "old beard". It's strange to hear that, maybe I should be more pleased than I
am. I have an old edition of Stroustrup's book, unlike K&R it is dusty and lives on the bottom
shelf alongside other technical works that proved useless or unreadable. I must say that, as a
beginning programmer with some experience of C++ when I bought it, it was disappointing. A
triumph of ego and verbosity, even.
Well, on the one hand you're right, after literally decades of work C++ has more or less
matured into a language that you can use to write software for the real world without
incurring significantly more pain that C. The stable ABI in particular took a lot longer to
arrive than it had any reason to, and longer than you've really allowed in your description.
But that maturity comes with a lot of caveats. It was already arguably too easy to write C
that you couldn't understand, thus making it unmaintainable, C++ provides any number of
features which make that worse, and nearly every beginner text seems to emphasise these
features as benefits. The result is that a new "C++ programmer" is often pumping out a mixture
of pseudo-code masquerading as program code and Perl-style unmaintainable gobbledegook.
By the time C++ was being invented we already knew that the challenge wasn't adding more
expressiveness (though given a time machine maybe I'd add namespaces and possibly a weak
"class" concept to C89), but delivering more maintainability. The author of this program has
already expressed his doubts about the maintainability of his code. Is that inevitable in a
C++ program? No, but the language definitely isn't helping.
No-one, so far as I can see, is claiming that C++ actually made it significantly easier to
write this linker (except perhaps in the sense that the author prefers C++ and he was writing
it) or that its performance benefits are in any way linked to the choice of language. So it's
understandable that there's concern that we're going to get ourselves an abandoned and
unmaintainable piece of software in the core of the tool chain. Maybe one of the people who
feels more strongly than me (and has more spare time, it's 0100 and I'm still working) will
implement the same approach in C and eliminate the perceived problem.