Go: Why I ♥ Google

11 Nov 2009

Christmas came early this year.


Today, Google announced their new open source systems programming language: Go. I’m super excited about this, we all have been wondering what Rob Pike has been upto since he joined the big G, and now we know. Not just that, but Ken Thomson, Robert Griesemer, Ian Taylor and Russ Cox were all involved in the project, with Ken doing what he does best, writing compilers in lightning speed ;) If that isn’t a list of heavyweight respectable computer scientists, I don’t know what is!

I think Go is poised to be the dominant systems programming language of the future. Go has nailed almost every aspect of a systems language, though some would say I’m biased. Go has been strongly influenced by Oberon, CSP languages like Limbo, and the standard libraries have tantalizing similarities to Plan 9. We’ve had Limbo and Plan 9 for a while now (more than a decade), but this is where my real love for Google begins to bubble, they took something awesome but unpopular and gave it a push to the masses. There are very few companies in the world who would attract the talent to do this, and even fewer who would open source the results. The attention Go has been getting is just mind blowing. Pike had been doing amazing work at Bell-Labs for quite a while, but none of it even got an inkling of the publicity Go is currently getting.

Google was what Pike needed to prove Utah2000 wrong.

I know one thing for sure, I’ll definitely be using my Plan 9 virtual machine a lot less; now that I can write clean concurrent programs that don’t make my head hurt, both in Linux and OS X. And GCC, I’m not shedding any tears while I bid you goodbye.

On another note, Google also announced today that they’ll be sponsoring free WiFi at a whole bunch of US airports this holiday season. For all its faults, Google definitely seems to be doing the right thing. For how long, it remains to be seen, but so far I’d say their track record has been better than excellent.