You are lucky indeed. Trust me, in big companies, technical decisions
are often made by people who are not using the technology.
Or influenced by someone familiar with some tech and having a big
Many years ago, in a company to remain nameless, I was in a department
with ~130 programmers distributed among 3-4 main subsystems (batch analysis
[aka, post-processing of the daily tapes], planning [generating the
schedule for the next day], and real-time [operations using the schedule]).
The real-time group was 15-30 people using Macro-11 (PDP-11s if that dates
things). The rest of the department was pretty much all skilled VAX
The time came to port real-time from PDP-11 to a VAX system. A small
study was performed to determine what language would be used. Very small
study -- I think it was restricted to the 30 RT folks; I only learned of
the result after a choice had been made.
The candidates: VAX-11 Assembly, F77, C, Pascal.
Assembly was rejected since this was seen as a chance to modernize the
RT system, and few were familiar with it.
C was rejected as being unsafe, and too close to assembly.
F77 -- even with an overwhelming majority of skilled programmers
available to support development -- was rejected as being "old school"
The ego had familiarity with Pascal, and argued that Pascal was being
taught to students in college. Manager succumbed and declared VAX Pascal
would be the new RT system language.
That's when I saw the email summarizing the findings. My response was:
1) They were ignoring the massive experience in F77 available;
2) Pascal as being taught to students was probably TurboPascal (at least
this was late enough to not be UCSD P-System, which is what I'd learned it
on), with no support for real-time or really modularized development
(later, when I ended up having to fix a bug, I found I had to import the
F77 math library just to get sufficient math functions into Pascal);
3) As long as you went the whole mile to go from Macro-11 to Pascal, why
not fall the extra 6-feet to pick up VAX Ada -- which fixed all the flaws
in Pascal syntax AND was designed for real-time work.
About a decade later, said manager retired and confessed that the
choice of Pascal was a mistake (hearsay is that "ego" had given an
ultimatum -- Pascal, or /I/ leave the department). By the time of the
retirement, RT had moved again to HPUX boxes with x-windows using C...
While I was still plugging along on the F77 applications...