While there are a variety of ways to judge the popularity
of various programming languages, the TIOBE Programming Community index has ranked C as the most popular language
for the first time in 4 years. At the top spot, C has no official corporate sponsor behind it -- but it's still available for nearly every platform imaginable. And arguably, it has always
been the most popular programming language if all of its variants (C, C++, C#, Objective C) are counted together.
Interestingly, though, other notable languages that have risen in popularity have done so under the direction of large corporations. For example, Apple is the main cheerleader behind the recent popularity of Objective C -- especially as this superset of C is now one of only 4 languages approved for coding iPhone/iPod/iPad apps. Also, Google's Go language
has been getting noticed because it's a shiny new offering from everyone's favorite "do no evil" buddy -- and because it explicitly supports concurrent programming.
But with no major company pushing for C, it may be getting a bit long in the tooth as multi-core processors inspire programmers to increasingly use multi-threading techniques. C will certainly never die, but the last revision of C was adopted as an ANSI standard in March 2000. So it's been quite some time since C has been updated. In fact, the ISO's proposals
for C changes also appear to be pretty conservative -- which is a good thing for stability and eliminating any confusion over what is supported. But will C be able to evolve and stay relevant?