At the present time I think we are on the verge of discovering at last what programming languages should really be like. I look forward to seeing many responsible experiments with language design during the next few years; and my dream is that by 1984 we will see a consensus developing for a really good programming language (or, more likely, a coherent family of languages). Furthermore, I'm guessing that people will become so disenchanted with the languages they are now using -- even COBOL and FORTRAN -- that this new language, UTOPIA 84, will have a chance to take over. At present we are far from that goal, yet there are indications that such a language is very slowly taking shape.
— Structured Programming with
go to Statements, Donald E. Knuth, Computing Surveys Vol 6, No. 4, December 1974.
I haven't finished this paper, but I had to share the quote. It's interesting to see how optimistic Knuth was. My reading of history is that what happened instead is that we know many good ideas, but have never solidly landed on a definitive best.