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C++: what comes next? - Chandler Carruth - NDC TechTown 2022


C++ remains the dominant programming language for performance-critical software, with massive and growing codebases and investments. However, it is struggling to improve and meet developers' needs, in no small part due to accumulating decades of technical debt. Incrementally improving C++ is extremely difficult, both due to the technical debt itself and challenges with its evolution process. We think the best way to address these problems is to avoid inheriting the legacy of C or C++ directly, and instead start with solid language foundations like a modern generics system, modular code organization, and consistent, simple syntax.
Existing modern languages already provide an excellent developer experience: Go, Swift, Kotlin, Rust, and many others. Developers that can use one of these existing languages should. Unfortunately, the designs of these languages present significant barriers to adoption and migration from C++. These barriers range from changes in the idiomatic design of software to performance overhead.
We decided to experiment with a different direction: a successor language approach. It is designed around interoperability with C++ as well as large-scale adoption and migration for existing C++ codebases and developers.
So we've started building the Carbon Language: an experimental successor to C++.
That said, we really *don't* know what comes next for C++. We don't even know whether Carbon should be part of what comes next. We're just getting started with the long process of designing this kind of successor, and haven't even finished a compiler. We still need to finish the design, implement it, see if it works, and see if the C++ community is interested in this direction.
This is why we're here. We need you and the rest of the C++ community to help us build and shape Carbon into something that addresses all of our needs. And we need all of you to help evaluate whether it is the right direction. We're here to ask you to join us as we get started on an exciting experiment, and a long journey.

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