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Eric Schmidt



Eric Schmidt, CTO at Sun Microsystems, "Interactive Age", Oct 3:
>The success of any new paradigm is based upon its ability to create a
>market structure that supports its growth.

I certainly hope that Inferno would finally get the marketing treatment
it deserves. The fact that it has so far been treated more like a secret
than an important message is alarming. The common anti-marketing
attitude of technical folks, the anti-application attitude of research
folks and one-application attitude of salespeople are all equally annoying.

Let me tell you an anecdote:

Sometime in 1988 I was visiting friends in Zurich,
Switzerland. I was a keen admirer of Niklaus Wirth's ideas, especially the
Modula-2 (influence clearly visible in Limbo) language and the
Lilith pseudocode computer project. The then brand new
Oberon project seemed even more promising, especially its novel user
interface ideas (demonstrated partly in ACME). Jensen & Partners, Ltd, of 
London,
the company of the original danish developer of Turbo Pascal, was selling a 
marvelous,
beautiful, ultra-fast Modula-2 programming environment (or was it only 
later,
might have been).

But Modula-2 library standardization had been progressing very slowly and 
there
was not an agreed real world interface available. Wirth himself could
easily have used his authority to set things straight. I was becoming very
disillusioned of the chances of Modula-2 to gain wide acceptance because of 
that.
So because I happened to be in Zurich I bought a Wirth book and went to meet 
him at his school, ETH, to get a dedication, and to ask about his views of 
this.

His answer was that he is a computer scientist, not a software developer, 
let alone a
salesman. Thus it is not his role to define the language standard for the 
industry, but the
industry must do it themselves.

After that,  I lost my faith to Wirth ideas ever gaining acceptance.

I was actually really comforted when I saw ACME and later Limbo and thus 
Bell Labs folks for the first time acknowledging my ill-fated other hero, 
Mr. Wirth.

Yours
anssi.porttikivi@research.nokia.com