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GC languages and domination

GC languages and domination

Posted Mar 8, 2007 19:41 UTC (Thu) by nevyn (guest, #33129)
In reply to: GC languages and domination by kevinbsmith
Parent article: Short topics in memory management

For web servers, GC languages already dominate.

Err, no. Yaws is about the only major Web server that isn't written in C. And that's entirely because C is the only thing that performs well enough.

For the CGI like "backend", yes GC languages dominate mainly because performance isn't as big a problem and the real web server can take actions to limit the performance problem of the GC'd language code. Also the person running the application is often closely tied to the person writting it, and so they can throw money at their users performance problems.

On the desktop, I can't think of a single GUI app that I would rather write (or see written) in C or C++ instead of one of the languages mentioned above.

There are still very few GUI applications that aren't written in C, and again it's mainly because of performance and memory usage. For instance the "revelation GNOME applet" is currently ~125MB big, with an RSS of 32MB; this is a python application that provides a single text entry and an icon on my panel ... it is far from unique. About the only major GC'd application I use is xemacs, and it's all too often that I reboot it due to memory usage spiraling out of control (and I wouldn't call it fast).

It just makes sense to have the inexpensive computers do the extra work instead of the expensive programmers.

That is wrong in two ways: 1) The computers are now not doing real work for their users, instead they are doing busy work for the programers (on the users time). 2) Doing it properly is often not that expensive for a good programer, who already has to manage other reasources. But, yes, users are often still letting programers charge them millions of units of work in exchange for not having to do a single unit themself. I doubt any economy can make this sustainable, long term, and you only have to look at people using dillo and/or lighttpd to see the choices being made.


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GC languages and domination

Posted Mar 9, 2007 11:45 UTC (Fri) by aanno (guest, #6082) [Link]

This is a very biased opion. Dynamic web content is often delivered by J(2)EE applications - especial in (big) enterprise environments. The infrastructure for this is also Java based, like like JBoss or Tomcat. There are also desktop application that uses GC based languages: Eclipse, NetBeans, beagle.

In enterprise environments Eclipse RCP has become the plattform for fat client programming.

On the other hand there are applications written in C/C++ that waste tons of memory, like Firefox or Gaim.

GC languages and domination

Posted Mar 12, 2007 11:04 UTC (Mon) by ekj (guest, #1524) [Link]

1) The computers are now not doing real work for their users, instead they are doing busy work for the programers (on the users time).

Users are free to choose. If programs written in non-GCed languages where enough faster that this mattered to the users, they'd be perfectly free to use those programs then. For some kinds of programs this *is* the case. The inner loop of a FPS-game is probably better written with explicit memory-handling.

For other uses, this doesn't seem to be the case. Most web-apps are infact written in GCed languages. There is absolutely *nothing* stopping you from developing competing programs in say C, and if you're rigth, that the users really would prefer this, you'd make billions. I somehow think that'll fail to be the case though.

The thing you're missing is that computing-power really is cheap, and often cheap enough to be almost completely ignorable. The company I work for, for example, spend on the order of $1million/year on developing web-applications. The hardware for running all of this costs something like literally 5% of this, and that is *including* backups, sysadmin-stuff and the like.

Even if we could run the same stuff on a 486 if it was written in C, it wouldn't be worth it if that meant more than 3-4% extra development-time. 2) Doing it properly is often not that expensive for a good programer, who already has to manage other reasources.

Doing software-development "properly" is very expensive. So expensive that if you do custom-development it is going to completely -dwarf- the hardware-requirements in 95% of the cases.

Spending a year of work and $5000 of hardware for doing the same thing that could be done with 6 months of work and $10.000 of hardware is the completely unsustainable choice -- You save $5000 in hw and spend ten times that in extra development-costs.

If you can do in 12 months in C the same job that require 11 months in Python/Ruby/Php/whatever, then more power to you. Most people can't though, not even smart people.


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