Lauren Orsini discusses the longevity of programming languages with Ari Rabkin, coauthor with Leo Meyerovich of a paper that looked at 200,000 Sourceforge projects. TL;DR: For a new project, a programmer chooses a project she already knows.
Through social influence and legacy code, our oldest and most popular computer languages have powerful inertia. How could Go surpass C? If the right people and companies say it ought to.