In theory only, at least around here. Back before the provincial government abolished testing stations (ostensibly for cost-saving reasons), every car in B.C. had to be tested yearly for things...
Exactly. Whether this is a result of government intervention or car manufacturers settling on a common standard I don't know. But cars would almost have to be designed so that the average person could easily move from one to another without relearning the interface -- either that or driver's licenses would have to specify make of car?
Something similar seems to be happening with GUIs these days -- everyone converging on something vaguely Windows-like -- which is a plus for the average user, if an annoyance to those who don't like this kind of interface.
Something vaguely analogous does sometimes happen with programming languages -- e.g., Java adopting some of C's syntax -- but it doesn't seem to be nearly as prevalent (perhaps because there's not the same incentive to make things easy for people of average capabilities). And even when it does happen, similar syntax doesn't necessarily mean similar semantics (e.g., "MyClbutt x" in C++ versus "MyClbutt x" in Java). And there's the problem of different programming paradigms, as you mention later.
Anything like the occasional surprises experienced by someone accustomed to a car with standard transmission trying to drive an automatic, and repeatedly forgetting that the automatic doesn't have a clutch pedal that should be depressed firmly when approaching a stop sign? (Pressing the leftmost pedal of the automatic with the same degree of firmness .... )
Omigod. Are you saying that we Canucks invented the concept of using high beams as running lights? I hang my head in shame. Very useful for people who...
Agreed -- and that was more or less the point I was trying to make. Part of the difficulty of this particular transition is that the underlying paradigms are different; the FORTRAN programmer would probably stumble less often, or less spectacularly, learning C, but there too there would be differences (especially if it's really FORTRAN and not Fortran :-) ).
There isn't much of a risk - by then he's close enough that his momentum will carry him past before he has a...
There was a discussion of something similar here recently, with the "new paradigm to be learned" being object-oriented programming, and I seem to remember that there was some support for the idea that it *does* take a bit of time to get used to the somewhat different style ideas -- not as long as learning one's first programming language, but longer than learning something that's the same ideas with a different syntax.
-- B. L. Mbuttingill ObDisclaimer: I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.