From Patrick Logan's weblog, I found a pointer to an essay by Paul Graham called "The Hundred-Year Language." I don't know Paul well, but I have interacted with him on more than one occasion. A hundred-year language is one that people will still want to use in one-hundred years. Paul makes some very interesting points and, if you program, the essay is well worth the read---right to the end. Here's one quote I just can't resist repeating:
I don't predict the demise of object-oriented programming, by the way. Though I don't think it has much to offer good programmers, except in certain specialized domains, it is irresistible to large organizations. Object-oriented programming offers a sustainable way to write spaghetti code. It lets you accrete programs as a series of patches. Large organizations always tend to develop software this way, and I expect this to be as true in a hundred years as it is today.
The phrase "accrete programs as a series of patches" is so deliciously visual that it makes me smile.