[gclist] _Project Oberon_ and finalizers

David Chase chase@world.std.com
Mon, 06 May 2002 10:28:06 -0400

At 01:34 AM 5/4/2002 -0400, Kragen Sitaker wrote:
>Much of Oberon was modeled after Cedar; didn't Cedar have finalizers?

Cedar did, and Modula-2+ (developed at Acorn Research Center
and DEC-SRC) also had finalizers.

>[0] Can you believe this?  They started Oberon in 1985, nearly ten
>years after Unix was released, and they still went to all the trouble
>of writing low-level stuff in assembly instead of C.

In both cases, hindsight is a wonderful thing.  You need to keep in
mind that finalizers were not so well understood back then (*), and that
not all ideas in Cedar were actually good.  Cedar also had resumption
model exception handling, which was judged (with the benefit of hindsight)
to be insufficiently useful and excessively complex and costly, at least
for inclusion in languages like Modula-2+, Modula-3, C++, and Java.

(*) I think the Lisp world was ahead in understanding usefulness and
implementation here, but again, not every idea from Lisp is appropriate
for a language like Oberon.

David Chase