A couple of abortive attempts using the MinGW port of GCC 3.3.1 and trying to extrapolate how much of an optimisation my various changes would be under GCC 4.1.1 led me to finally think again about installing a *nix variant on my computer. I've had half of my hard disk unpartitioned since I got this computer nearly three years ago. The intent was always to put a *nix on it, but I never got around to it. I still haven't. Instead I downloaded and burned a Gentoo LiveCD (Gentoo because that's one of the *nix variants used by the Language Shootout). I've come to the conclusion that LiveCDs are pretty awesome. The ability to boot a modern OS without a harddrive is just plain fun. As to the Shootout, well, my mission could take a while.
The other thread I got distracted by was Why do [some] people end up despising c++? limits of c++?. I must confess I don't really understand the apparent sudden shift away from C++. There are certainly some good points made as to weaknesses of C++ in that thread, but I personally don't find them to be significant problems. I rarely run into issues in my day-to-day use of C++ that are the fault of the language. Yes, the compilation model with header files is archaic, but it doesn't hinder me at all. I'm quite happy to admit to being a C++ fanboi. I've tried a number of languages and C++ just fits my way of thinking best. Perhaps I'm just odd and other people really are having serious issues using C++ to solve real problems.