Monday, October 17, 2011

The oddy-C

C was my first real programming language. Some people think that's a slightly crazy language to start off with. But I don't regret it one bit.

Certainly, as the old adage goes; the C is a harsh mistress, but you've got to ask yourself if you want to be a lambda-lubber, or if you want to man up and grow a pair of C-legs.

But making that decision is merely the beginning. Learning C is an epic journey fraught with danger, as the very notion of a mere mortal mastering the C angers to Poceidon, the god of the C, with a Unix beard that puts Stallman to shame. Poceidon, wielding his mighty trigraph, will divert a Cyclone into your path; guide you into perils such as a the lair of the witch Circe, cursing your stack with a bad return address; and let Cirens try to lure you off the segmentation falls.

Surviving that, you must seek vengeance for the injustice the gods of programming have put you through. First you must enter the gates of kernel space, guarded by the three-headed guard dog Cerberos. Once in kernel space, you must do the seemingly impossible and tear a hole in the virtual paging table and travel to physical address 0. There, you will find the old modes shackled. You must free them. Let Real Mode roam free again! This will bring on Lambdarøk, the prophesied end of high level programming, where the world-tree withers into an undirected graph and the mighty garbage collector devours itself.

It's a pity C doesn't have exceptions, because if it did, I could have worked in a deadliest catch joke.

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