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IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the lisp-is-number-one dept.

Programming 197

An anonymous reader writes Working with computational journalist Nick Diakopoulos, we at IEEE Spectrum have published an app that ranks the popularity of dozens of programming languages. Because different fields have different interests (what's popular with programmers writing embedded code versus what's hot with web developers isn't going to be identical) we tried to make the ranking system as transparent as possible — you can use our presets or you can go in and create your own customized ranking by adjusting the individual weightings of the various data sources we mined.

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Not a ranking of what is the best language (5, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | about 4 months ago | (#47389627)

But more a ranking of what are the most talked about / downloaded / popular.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (5, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 4 months ago | (#47389637)

...And somehow, HTML is both on the list and lower than Java. Anyone got any theories?

GIGO (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47389665)

Whether with programming languages or with studies it's the same: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Select mobile, and you'll find Objective-C listed 16th, 6 places after MATLAB, and two places after Visual Basic. Which is clearly nonsense.

We already have tried and tested (back to 1989!) rankings for this. http://www.tiobe.com/index.php... [tiobe.com]
And Objective-C is currently number three across the board, never mind just mobile.

Re:GIGO (1, Troll)

rubycodez (864176) | about 4 months ago | (#47389717)

hardly anyone uses Objective-C

you are very funny judging a list of languages to be poor because your pet niche language isn't in top ten

Re:GIGO (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47389755)

Unlike you I supplied a more reputable source of data. Objective-C is number 3.

And a long way above Ruby! ;-)

Re:GIGO (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 4 months ago | (#47389777)

I only use Ruby for personal project, it's fun.

your data source is flawed, Apple biased. Sure at my job are lots of Macs, not a one used for Objective C development but instead java, python, php, etc. the bulk of the world uses other langauges to move money and move data on the web. certainly not objective-C though 20 years ago it was popular for some trading apps.

Re:GIGO (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47389795)

Sure at my job are lots of Macs, not a one used for Objective C development but instead java, python, php, etc. the bulk of the world uses other langauges to move money and move data on the web.

I said data. An anecdote is not data.

Here's some more data: There's well over a million apps on the iOS app store. The overwhelming proportion of which use Obj-C. Which proves conclusively that you don't know what you are talking about.

Re:GIGO (0)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#47389893)

not hard data, those apps written by 300,000 developers. small total compared to developers in other languages like Java with 8 million developers or 7 million dotNet developers. shows you don't know what you're talking about, niche language boy.

Re:GIGO (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47389919)

Rubycodez, it's a bit of a giveaway you have a sock-puppet account when all messages have an inability to use capitals or the English language, and have a maturity age of about 11.

Re:GIGO (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#47390015)

you are funny, now address the issue of millions of developers for other popular languages EACH (-- there are some caps for you) while objective-C has few hundred thousand.

Re:GIGO (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47390047)

Every point of measurement is data. Hence an anecdote is as well, and bottom line I consider them the most important data points.

Re:GIGO (1)

Herder Of Code (2989779) | about 4 months ago | (#47389791)

I have a hard time believing so much objective-c is being written. Maybe the list assumes that all ios apps are in objective-C which is false.

Re:GIGO (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47389855)

Not all are, obviously... but most are.. And even if "most" included only just more than half, that would still be a lot.

Re:GIGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390355)

Not all are, obviously... but most are.. And even if "most" included only just more than half, that would still be a lot.

Anything which targets iOS and something else (or is written in a toolkit that could target something else) has maybe a thin glue layer of Objective-C, and then the entire rest of the app is in some other language.

Re:GIGO (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47390493)

Of course... but that's still not most of them.

Re:GIGO (4, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#47389793)

here are more realistic non-Apple biased list, your Objective-C pushed way done into the fringe where it belongs. Anyone who has been around in IT knows Objective C doesn't even come up outside of Apple development (and really there aren't many of those compared to finance, engineering, healthcare and web developers in the world

http://langpop.com/ [langpop.com]
http://blog.codeeval.com/codee... [codeeval.com]

Re:GIGO (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47389833)

If you consider people who specifically write software for Apple hardware "hardly anyone", then yes.

Re:GIGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390087)

You're saying that MATLAB is indeed used more commonly than Objective-C for mobile development?

That seems like a stretch at best.

Re:GIGO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389757)

Select mobile, and you'll find Objective-C listed 16th, 6 places after MATLAB, and two places after Visual Basic. Which is clearly nonsense.

No, Objective-C is number 6 on the mobile ranking. The default on the website is click-to-hide, so you've just hidden all the stats for mobile, while showing the aggregate of web, enterprise and embedded.

Re:GIGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389783)

Objective-C is listed as #5 on their list for mobile, I don't think you get how their site works, when you click a tab it doesn't select it, it actually deselects it, thus removing mobile from the rankings. Sure, this is horrible design but IEEE are electrical engineers not designers so it's not surprising they have no clue how to design some shit that isn't shitty.

Re:GIGO (1)

Forever Wondering (2506940) | about 4 months ago | (#47389887)

In the link they provided explaining how they do their rankings, they mention Google search is one metric and also mention that it's what tiobe uses [with a link to tiobe's page]. They're trying to be more transparent and use multiple metrics vs just one or two. Maybe it's time to have an alternative to tiobe. If both indexes, done with different methodologies, provide similar results, this would tend to bolster the validity of each.

Re:GIGO (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47389939)

Maybe it's time to have an alternative to tiobe. If both indexes, done with different methodologies, provide similar results, this would tend to bolster the validity of each.

But as I pointed out cursory examination proves it's garbage. I've already donr Obj-C. How about MATLAB being 5 places above HTML? Complete drivel.

Re:GIGO (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47390185)

Maybe it's time to have an alternative to tiobe.

There's an alternative [langpop.com] .

Re:GIGO (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47390071)

Select mobile, and you'll find Objective-C listed 16th, 6 places after MATLAB, and two places after Visual Basic. Which is clearly nonsense.

lol you're reading the results wrong. Read the instructions where it says 'click to hide'. Objective-C turns up in 16th place if you disable mobile.

So yeah, you're right, that is clearly nonsense. :)

Re:GIGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390189)

TIOBE's ranking is the textbook definition of a bullshit index, as it measures the web noise that is associated with a programming language with the language's quality.

This means that if you have a hipster commenting on his blog that some phone released by Apple has objective-c somewhere, or publishing a youtube video on how a music player has more beats because the decoder was written in objective-C, that counts as a +1 towards objective-C's place in the ranking.

Meanwhile, MATLAB is the de facto standard in any engineering field and research in general.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

NortWind (575520) | about 4 months ago | (#47389675)

Java is often the top rated language, so it is not surprising that HTML is lower rated. I don't know if they are counting HTML 5 as HTML.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389677)

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Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389679)

HTML is a markup language, not a programming language. Jscript is the typical programming language associated with it.

Amazing that people still mix these up.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 4 months ago | (#47389727)

and HTML5 plus CSS is Turing complete. you lose

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47389773)

How old are you?

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 months ago | (#47389779)

I'm not sure Javascript is literally Turing complete, because it can't simulate an infinite tape. I think its expressive power is, technically speaking, that of a linear bounded automaton (LBA). Which is subtly less powerful than a Turing machine.

Anyone who lives for this topic want to weigh in?

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 4 months ago | (#47389799)

...is that really a property of Javascript, though, or just your computer? Do the ECMA standards prescribe memory or reference size limits?

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 4 months ago | (#47389931)

By that logic, no programming language is Turing-complete.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47390091)

Just keep buying more RAM. Not a problem. Like, every year, buy another gigabyte, and it's practically infinite.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390467)

If that's true, it just demonstrates that Turing-completeness isn't sufficient for something to be classed as a programming language. (And no, I don't have any better ideas for a precise definition. Ontology is hard, let's go shopping.)

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 4 months ago | (#47389849)

HTML is not a language. Sorry.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 4 months ago | (#47389967)

HTML is not a language. Sorry.

All these years, I guess I was wrong about what the L stood for.

HTML may not be a Turing-complete programming language (I haven't looked to see how much HTML5 added), but it is a "language".

Re: Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390289)

HTML IMO should be called hypertext markup 'tags' (HTMT) since it holds none of the fundamental properties of either a natural or constructed language.

For example, is it possible to communicate using only HTML tags and nothing else?

Re: Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390405)

HTML IMO should be called hypertext markup 'tags' (HTMT) since it holds none of the fundamental properties of either a natural or constructed language.

For example, is it possible to communicate using only HTML tags and nothing else?

is it possible to communicate using only [C|Java|Python|...] keywords?

Re: Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390451)

You're missing the point but yes, you could effectively communicate using any of those since the output is not going to be a blank page filled with empty tags under the hood.

Re: Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390501)

For example, is it possible to communicate using only HTML tags and nothing else?

<img src="notsureiftrolling.jpg">

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390349)

You are an ignorant shit. Sorry.

Re: Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

Joe Johnson (3720117) | about 4 months ago | (#47389915)

HTML could be ranked lower due to the myriad of other languages which produce HTML output, rather than the programmer manually writing it.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390051)

Maybe it's because HTML isn't as popular of a beverage.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 4 months ago | (#47390107)

I believe you intended to say "HTML isn't as popular a beverage".

I hate it when poor delivery spoils what would have been a good punch line.

Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390055)

Because HTML is a markup language not a programming language.

Let the flames begin! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389641)

Put on your flame retarded suit, this is going to get heated....

Yeah, Visual Basic: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389647)

Yeah!

Re:Yeah, Visual Basic: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390127)

Or Postscript.

Re:Let the flames begin! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389735)

Aah, classic times. I'm getting some popcorn.

Re:Let the flames begin! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390125)

Put on your flame retarded suit

What are you, two years old? It's flame RETARDANT, not flame RETARDED.

Java is the new COBOL (1)

techfilz (1881458) | about 4 months ago | (#47389673)

You use it at work but nobody gets excited to use Java at home.

Re:Java is the new COBOL (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 months ago | (#47389765)

I used it in my PhD thesis work. It was a productive language, just not a fun one.

For fun, I still get the biggest kick out of pure functional languages. It's nice to see that job advertisements for them seem to be on the uptick.

Embedded Perl programming (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389695)

I do embedded Perl programming.

Re: Embedded Perl programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389809)

I dont think that would work well on the system i am working on now. Which has 1 kbyte of ram.

Re: Embedded Perl programming (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47389835)

A whopping 1024 bytes of RAM? You live in pure luxury my friend. Try to work with only 128 bytes.

Re: Embedded Perl programming (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#47390463)

When I were a lad, we had to program in 96 bytes! In the snow! Uphill! Both ways!

Re:Embedded Perl programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390057)

You poor sod. :-)

Have you considered professional help ? :-)

C++ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389723)

C++ is the ultimate programming language. You can make any kind of application for any platform with the best performance. It also offers great selection of features, of which you can pick the ones that you need for your project. There is also a good ecosystem of libraries available, and premium compilers among other tools. Memory unsafety and lack of garbage collection might be problems though.

Re:C++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389811)

Maybe you can, or like to think or pretend you can, but those of us with lives will use one language: indian (well, whatever it is). They code for pennies and we sit back and suck on pina coladas while, at worst, getting caught in the rain. Stick that in the lamba hole and await.

Re:C++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390033)

How is it (C++ that is) for writing embedded systems?

Re:C++ (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47390081)

I've seen a lot of C++ in embedded. Anything that uses ARM allows C++, for example. Personally, I prefer to use C in that use, but C++ is fine.

The biggest problem with C++ in embedded is getting a compiler for it on obscure chips. Since a C++ compiler is significantly harder to write than a C compiler.

if it ain't Swift, it ain't shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389767)

best new language, deal with it.

Verilog? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 4 months ago | (#47389785)

I am somewhat doubtful that Verilog counts as a programming language. SystemVerilog, perhaps, but that isn't mentioned.

Also SQL -- yes, there is a distinct syntax associated with it, but is it a "programming language"?

Re:Verilog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389847)

Why would it not be a programming language? The code may not be executable, but it is still programming.

Re:Verilog? (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 4 months ago | (#47389895)

Yes. SQL is a turing-complete language. Whether you want to actually write full-blown programs with it or stick to the queries it was designed for, however...

Re:Verilog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390003)

Where is the if statement in standardised sql?

Re:Verilog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390169)

You don't need the if statement, with CTE and Windowing SQL is Touring complete.

Re:Verilog? (1)

Tim99 (984437) | about 4 months ago | (#47390263)

Where is the if statement in standardised sql?

**ANSI SQL-92**

SELECT a,
CASE WHEN a=1 THEN 'one'
WHEN a=0 THEN 'zero'
ELSE 'something else'
END
FROM tbl1;

Re:Verilog? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47390069)

SQL certainly is not turing complete, but I wonder why people even bring up that matter?

Re:Verilog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389909)

verilog can be used as a 'simulation' language. Which is a programming language, not a very good one, but it still is.
SystemVerilog is just an extension, which does include some very useful constructs; structs being one of them.

Both neither verilog nor SystemVerilog are used as a normal programming language, there are domain specific languages for designing hardware, and include some turing completeness to help with simulation.

I wouldn't call SQL a programming language either, it is a query language. You may call some of the stored procedure extensions of SQL a programming language.
HTML and CSS are type setting languages.

Re:Verilog? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 4 months ago | (#47389971)

Also SQL -- yes, there is a distinct syntax associated with it, but is it a "programming language"?

If not, any of the variants of PL/SQL certainly are.

Re:Verilog? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47390063)

SQL is not a programming language but a querry language.

Re:Verilog? (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about 4 months ago | (#47390097)

If HTML is a programming language, then anything can be a programming language.

Re:Verilog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390437)

HTML isn't a programming language.

Re:Verilog? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47390131)

Also SQL -- yes, there is a distinct syntax associated with it, but is it a "programming language"?

SQL99 is Turing complete. You need more than SELECT, JOIN, UNION though.

The Embedded list is the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389787)

No Microsoft or Sun in sight.

Re:The Embedded list is the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389789)

>Sun

I think you mean Oracle, dad.

Re:The Embedded list is the best (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47389841)

No I didn't. And there's no such thing as "Square-Enix", "Sonic games on Nintendo consoles" or "Star Trek reboot" either.

Now get off my lawn!

Most discussed = worst (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 4 months ago | (#47389815)

So if a language is particularly awful, and troublesome to use, or used by students discussing homework exercises, then it'll score high here. Thanks for the useless popularity sketch.

I see that money is not the favorite language (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389817)

Should ask lawyers and managers.

Web | Mobile | Enterprise | Embedded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389987)

They break down the languages by their use in Web, Mobile, Enterprise, and Embedded. This seems a bit odd to me. Where does this desktop games, text editors, web browsers etc? What about OSs? Is linux "Enterprise" software?

Is general user focused desktop software really not a big deal anymore?

I get that running software on MY computer isn't so important anymore (then only I get my data to sell, who wants that?), but it seems like IEEE would at least consider it important.

Best editor? (1)

pipatron (966506) | about 4 months ago | (#47389999)

What's next in flamebait-land? Rate the best editor?

Re:Best editor? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 4 months ago | (#47390201)

That would be silly indeed, since its clearly VI.

        Brett

Re:Best editor? (4, Funny)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about 4 months ago | (#47390221)

Well, it's certainly better than timothy...

Re:Best editor? (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#47390475)

Already done. Check the Slashdot archives for the Vi vs Emacs paintball fight.

How did Java beat C (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 4 months ago | (#47390207)

It's a pretty good list but my only question is how on earth did Java beat out C. Java is a decent language for a lot of different areas but doesn't come to the table in any one area and own the hill. On the other hand C is the king of the embedded world, Operating System world ( such as kernels ) and can still rock it on the desktop with C++ and C#. If C and Java switched places then it would be prefect, until that happens I can't really agree with it.

Re:How did Java beat C (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47390323)

how on earth did Java beat out C....... the other hand C is the king of the embedded world, Operating System world ( such as kernels ) and can still rock it on the desktop with C++ and C#.

Because most programming isn't exciting new hip startups, it's not embedded.
Most programming in the world is boring business software. And that is where Java shines, for various reasons. As someone else pointed out, it's like the COBOL of the 21st century.

Re:How did Java beat C (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 4 months ago | (#47390351)

Java is what a lazy developer uses to get free security and free memory protection, a child could write a business application in Java and have it secure. To me that doesn't sounds like a good language as much as it does a language for lazy programmers, which should loose it a few points.

Re:How did Java beat C (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47390375)

Java is what a lazy developer uses to get free security and free memory protection, a child could write a business application in Java and have it secure

No, if you think Java will give you security and free memory protection, then your program has both security holes and memory leaks.

Re:How did Java beat C (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 4 months ago | (#47390453)

Well I'm an embedded system developer and I can tell that compared to C, Java gives you everything and the kitchen sink.

Re:How did Java beat C (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47390473)

I'm an embedded programmer too, and I can tell you that if you're having trouble with memory or security, the problem isn't the language, it's you.

Re:How did Java beat C (2)

gnupun (752725) | about 4 months ago | (#47390435)

but my only question is how on earth did Java beat out C

That's like asking why isn't Assembly language on the top of the list? It runs circles around C in the performance area, both in speed and size (important for embedded apps).

Java beats C because you can accomplish more in Java than C with fewer lines of code and less mental effort. Things like exceptions, OO, garbage collection, a massive library, etc. save a lot of time compared to C. Debugging is also relatively painless because you get a stack trace in Java, but not in C.

I too have a few questions:
How on earth did VHDL beat Verilog? I thought everyone in companies used verilog because VHDL was too complex, like Ada.

Why is Julia not on the list? Its syntax is similar to Python but performance approaches C/Java.

Re:How did Java beat C (1)

mvdwege (243851) | about 4 months ago | (#47390485)

fewer lines of code

I'm sorry? Have you ever seen the huge amounts of boilerplate Java requires?

Java? (0)

linearz69 (3473163) | about 4 months ago | (#47390253)

Seriously?

IEEE, It's Perl, not PERL (2, Informative)

nick_urbanik (534101) | about 4 months ago | (#47390309)

IEEE shows "PERL" at number 11. IEEE, It's Perl, not PERL. [perl.org]

Verilog? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#47390361)

Why do they only list VHDL and Verilog HDLs?

SystemVerilog and VHDL are now the primary HDL languages we use in chip design.

"Please enable javascript"? For what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390495)

So we can track your ass off or infect you with some crap. Fuck off.

Popularity != Quality (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#47390533)

There should have been modifiers for typical bugs per kloc and security holes per kloc.

Also, there are many more layers to the industry. Scientific computing? Avionics? Publishing?

The subdivisions between languages are also a bit... strange. Java/Oak isn't truly uniform, whatever anyone claims. C and C++ have standards that aren't always backwards-compatible - if you ignore such changes, why bother listing C# or D as distinct? Lump the lot, together with B and BCPL under a single header.

My guess is that accurate representation of languages isn't possible (when does a dialect become a distinct language?) but that if it was, none of the so-called "big three" languages would be in the top 10. Computer languages are as bad as natural languages when it comes to classifiers.

Last, but by no means least, people rarely directly code any more. They code within engines, usually using some weird fringe language nobody has ever heard of that turns out to be Lua or Visual Basic with the keywords words renamed for the theme. Real programmers (as opposed to integer or complex programmers) tend to be in the minority, have become rarer after Qualcomm outlawed them, and are mostly in mourning for Freshmeat. But as a lot are Goths anyway, it's hard to tell.

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