[fpc-devel] Pascal Standard, and what we can do.

Jonas Maebe jonas.maebe at elis.ugent.be
Sun Jul 19 11:03:45 CEST 2015

Den wrote:
> Just like ECMAScript,
> C++, PHP, most languages now have a 'standards' document behind it.
> That's their *roadmap*. Their *leadership*. Design it and the
> *community* will show *support*.

ISO Pascal and ISO Extended Pascal were like that in the early 90s:
1) there was an official ISO standard and standards committee for it
2) there were a number commercial compilers supporting it such as HP 
Pascal and IBM's compiler for its System/370
3) later on (in 1996) a GCC-based implementation arrived for it (the 
equivalent of the LLVM of the moment)

And still almost no one uses ISO/Extended Pascal anymore. Why? Possibly 
because the de facto Pascal standards had already become Think Pascal on 
the Mac and Turbo Pascal on the PC by then, and none of those 
programmers wanted to rewrite all of their code (although Think Pascal 
was a bit closer to ISO Pascal). Or maybe because in general, many 
people just preferred those language dialects for one reason or another. 
In any case, introducing one new standard to rule them all seldom (if 
ever) works (and you can bet someone will be unable to resist to add a 
link to the related xkcd comic).

Standards do not magically make a language more popular. They only work 
if they follow from a desire of an entire community to design one and to 
adhere to it. "Design it and the community will show support" is exactly 
the opposite of what happens in practice.


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