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Alan Kay stated in one of his talks that there was a paper in 1968 that listen at least 3000 programming languages that were known in the year 1968.

What would be an unsientific but "educated guess" on the number of programming languages that existed up till now?

(I.e., this number would assume that if a programming language ever existed it is counted in the total number of today)

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  • $\begingroup$ I've no idea why it wasn't displayed on the front page for you: I think it's only questions with a strongly negative score (-4 or less?) that aren't displayed. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Dec 11 '14 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ Voting to close as not computer science; one of Stack Overflow and Software Engineering is probably more appropriate. And, for the record, referring to people on CS Theory as "smarter", with the implication that people here are "dumber" really rubs me up the wrong way. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Dec 11 '14 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ Would you care to define programming language. Is HTML a programming language? Is PHP? Is Scheme different from Lisp? If yes, were does Common Lisp stand? Etc ... I doubt that Kay did any serious survey to come up with this figure, or that he bothered to give it a precise meaning. But I do not have the paper for which you give no reference. It may be relevant for a sociologist possibly ... what else? P.S. Apologies for not being smart enough, though I occasionally answer on CStheory, where you ask questions. $\endgroup$ – babou Dec 11 '14 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ think there is some real possible science/ classification behind the question. however, its probably not really studied much. more common is research on "top languages"... $\endgroup$ – vzn Dec 11 '14 at 2:22
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    $\begingroup$ The answer to this question is 42 $\endgroup$ – Tyler Durden Dec 11 '14 at 5:09