[TUHS] Comments on "C"
dave at horsfall.org
Mon Aug 29 04:21:46 AEST 2016
Seen on another list... And I got quoted by Steve Bellovin :-)
Dave Horsfall DTM (VK2KFU) "Those who don't understand security will suffer."
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kent Borg
To: cryptography at metzdowd.com
Subject: Re: [Cryptography]
"NSA-linked Cisco exploit poses bigger threat than previously thought"
On 08/25/2016 06:06 PM, Steven M. Bellovin wrote:
> I first heard more or less that line from Doug McIlroy himself; he
> called C the best assembler language he'd ever used.
Ancient fun-fact: Years ago there was an article in Byte magazine
describing how a useful subset of C could be directly assembled into 68000
code. Not compiled, assembled.
C is a stunning assembly language. When those wild-eyed nerds at AT&T
decided to write Unix not in assembly but in C (where was management!?),
it was radical. But C was up to (down to?) the task, it was pioneering
then and is still doing useful things decades later: From the fastest
supercomputers to some pretty slim microcontrollers (plus a hell of a lot
of Android devices) multitudes of computers run a Linux kernel compiled
from the *same* C source code, with almost no assembly. Big-endian,
little-endian: no matter. Different word lengths: no matter.
That is one impressive cross-platform assembly language!
Unfortunately, C is also a dangerous language that mortal programmers
cannot reliably wield.
-kb, the Kent who knows he is pressing his luck on a moderated
cryptography mailing list, but C deserves a lot of respect, as it also
deserves to be efficiently sent into a dignified retirement.
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