Question: What is the future of programming?
Bjarne Stroustrup: There’ll be a unified language, but I’m not talking about programming language. I’m talking more about a unified design style, a unified set of guidelines for how to combine the techniques. I certainly hope that there will not be just one programming language. I don’t think that’s at all likely and I would be sad because we would have lost a lot when we don’t have this tension between the languages that allows us to make progress. I mean, the middle ages may have been very comfortable, but I don’t think I would have wanted to live there. I like the diversity of ideas and the early ideas rubbing up against each other. That’s how we make progress.
Question: Are you a proponent of open source software?
Bjarne Stroustrup: I am generally in favor of open source software with very few, if any, restrictions. So I like the BSD Licenses. I am not anti-commercial. I would not put something into my license that would be a virus against commercial use.
On the other hand, I don’t think that all software can or should be open because there’s a lot of sort of boring stuff that requires a high level of expertise to deal with. I mentioned sort of the firmware layers and hardware and such. There’s very few people that really understand it. You don’t get it maintained by a couple of volunteers because you need maybe five, 10 years experience in a particular field to do anything constructive and there’s lots and lots of software that’s not glamorous, that’s not interesting where you’ll simply not get the strength of the open source movement where you have lots of people, lots of contributions both individuals and organizations. But there’s a lot of software where people just aren't interested. And for that you need something else to keep it going and that’s usually the dollars that people get for doing the hard, sometimes boring, and sometimes advanced stuff. So I think we always will have open source software and some closed.
I guess I should add that C++ is used to both anyways, so. I don’t have a... I don’t have a horse in that race so I have both.
Recorded August 12, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller