Re: patch for 2.1.55 pre-1 minix/sysv/affs

Mauro Condarelli (
Sun, 14 Sep 1997 18:19:18 +0000

Linus Torvalds <> writes:
> But don't kid yourself that Pascal does this for any altrusitic reasons
> like "goto is bad for you". Pascal just gives you a straightjacket that
> makes it easier for the compiler, but it makes it harder for the
> programmer. And anybody who seriously thinks that having just one return
> point is a _good_ language feature needs a brain transplant.
> Straightjackets are for crazy people. "It's for your own best", indeed..
> Linus
While I wholeheartedly agree with all Linus said, I would like to
make a (minor?) point.

If I understand it correctly (and I came in contact with Pascal lots
before TurboPascal was born) the original Wirth Pascal was never
meant as a "real" or "production" language.
It was meant as a *teaching* language, aimed to force students to use
what were *considered* good programming practices.
If You remember what Djistra said about Basic You can understand the
point (and line numbering Basic was, with fortran4, the main
language in non-AI-oriented European universities).

In this condition a certain amount of "straightjacketing" is
understandable (and IMHO welcome).
No one thinks stright[jacketing] Pascal can really be used for
writing applications (thou certain extensions can; does anyone
remember Mountain View Pascal? not to speak about Borland).

As far as the [in]famous goto statement goes: Wirth knew very well
it's value. In his Pascal compiler written in Pascal there are a lot
of "goto 9999" (if memory doesn't fail me) used for error
escape and recovery.

Dogmatic absolutistic statements are IMHO never worth the paper they
are written on and, usually, denote a narrow-mindad writer.

On the other hand, as they say: "along with freedom comes
responsibility" and responsibility comes with knowledge also.

I still argue _for_ the *teaching* value of punched cards, which
*force* students to actually _read_ error messages and _think_ before
recompiling, but I would never impose such a torture for an extended
period of time. I find this training invaluable when you came to deal
with e-mailed bug reports.

Hoping NOT to start a jihad
Best Regards