C++ Popularity

C++ is quite popular in the embedded world of Linux-based embedded systems. However it is not that popular in bare metal development. Why? Probably because of its complexity. Knowing C++ syntax is not enough. To use it effectively the developer must know what Standard Template Library (STL) provides, what can and what cannot be used when developing for specific platform. STL mastery is also not enough, the developer should have some level of proficiency in template meta-programming. Although there is an opinion that templates are dangerous because of executable code bloating, I think that templates are developer's friends, but the one must know the dangers and know how to use templates effectively. But again, it requires time and effort to get to know how to do it right.

Another reason why C++ is not used in bare metal development is that software in significant number (if not majority) of projects gets written by hardware developers, at least in its first stages just to make sure the hardware works as expected. The “C” programming language is a natural choice for them. And of course majority of hardware developers lack proficiency in software development. They may have some difficulties writing code of good quality in “C”, not to mention “C++”. After software reaches certain level of complexity it is handed over to software engineers who are not allowed to re-implement it from scratch. They are told something like: “This code almost works, just fix a couple of bugs, implement this short set of features and we're good to go. Throwing away the existing code is a waste, we do not have time to re-implement it.”

The last reason, I think, is psychological one. People prefer to be wrong in a group than right by themselves. When majority of bare metal products being developed using “C”, it feels risky and unnatural to choose “C++”, even though the latter is better choice from the technological perspective.

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