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TEAM-ADA  April 2000

TEAM-ADA April 2000

Subject:

What Ada needs to prosper (was RE: What the competition looks lik e (resurrected)

From:

"Kester, Rush W." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Kester, Rush W.

Date:

Fri, 14 Apr 2000 13:16:40 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (162 lines)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John McCabe [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 8:56 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: What the competition looks like (resurrected)
>
<snip>
> >While Java may be mediocre, it is an integrated concept that meets the
> >perceived need for portable software solutions and utilizes the existing
> >software knowledge base.
>
> True, but you must also look at what the original target audience for Java
was.
> It seems to me that Java is getting into markets where its use was never
really
> intended, simply because of the way the language is perceived by e.g.
> management.

Java was originally targeted at embedded systems, where as I understand, it
has
made very little headway.  It seems the marketers have been able to
capitalize on
the combined promise of the JVM to provide a portable environment, a
programming
language like C only "safer" image, and the ability to keep software on a
central
server and provide it when needed to a client across the web.  This
combination
was the magic combination Java needed to take-off.

The bright side, from my perspective is that Java isn't living up to its
hype and
Ada->Java byte code compilers leave Ada well positioned to "ride the wave"
and
capture those who turn from Java disappointed.

> >Ada meets these same needs, and IMO ups the anti to "Portable, Reliable,
&
> >Maintainable Software Solutions."
>
> I agree.
>
> >Almost all those who have gotten past the hype and the learning curve and
seen
> >Ada at work will agree.
>
> I was originally very sceptical about Ada, until one day I decided to try
it out
> on a noddy program in preference to C. The program worked almost straight
away
> (unlike most of my previous attempts using C), and when I moved it to a
DOS
> machine from Unix, it required trivial changes to access operating system
> features. From that point on it became my favoured language.

So how do we get other "skeptics" to give Ada a try?

> >Two areas where I think the Ada community needs to work on are:
increasing the
> >Ada knowledge base (leveraging on the C & Unix knowledge most programmers
got
> >in school),
>
> That is the crux of the matter! You don't read about Ada in the mainstream
> computing press, mainly because it is not used for mass-market
applications.
> Generally the only time you do hear of it is when e.g. Ariane blows up and
> someone blames the Ada code! No one seems to remember the number of
satellites,
> aircraft, trains and so on that rely on Ada, with the lives of thousands
of
> people every day being taken care of by it! No, all you hear about is
Java, C++
> and VB - the things that are used to construct the (mainly unreliable)
> applications that people see on their desktop.
>
> As far as I can see, Ada will never get any significant publicity until
> Microsoft produces either:
>
> 1) An Ada compiler
> 2) An operating system written in Ada.
>

I'm not holding my breath for Microsoft to produce an Ada compiler.
I don't see too much demand for an Ada OS, as their are already enough
satisfactory OS's on the market.

> >and bringing down the cost of Ada compilers and tools to be competitive
with
> >those intended for the mass market.
>
> Surely this has been partly addressed by ACT in making GNAT available free
of
> charge, and in Aonix providing free versions of ObjectAda, and chargeable
> versions of ObjectAda that started to follow the modular structure of e.g.
> Visual C++ with standard, professional and enterprise editions?

Yes, I agree that in funding GNAT & dropping the Ada "mandate," the AJPO has

given the Ada market a major boost towards competitiveness.

> I think also that one of the problems with the Ada tools available are
that,
> outside the language defined libraries, much of the support has been
developed
> by academics and enthusiasts who make it available free of charge. From a
> personal viewpoint I find this very useful and appreciate all the effort
that is
> put into it - I only wish I had more time/expertise to be able to help -
but I
> haven't come across many managers who are prepared to risk their
programmes on
> tools where they have no guarantee of support.

The no-cost, Open Source model provides many opportunities for companies to
offer
the commercial support which software needs to be considered for
professional
development efforts.  Unfortunately, striking a balance between the friendly

cooperative environment of the Open Source community and making a profit is
not easy.  Startup commercial organizations have to find enough paying
customers to survive and
build a long enough track record to be perceived with a viable future,
before they
satisfy most managers risk tolerance.

> >While many argue that Ada's high reliability is "worth" more and those
> >interested in these attributes will pay more; this market is IMO too
small to
> >base Ada's future on.
>
> I agree. I have seen managers convinced that Ada is the best solution for
their
> problem, only to drop it as soon as they discover how much professional
tools
> cost (apart from the free stuff of course).
>
> >Rather than "bad mouth" Java's mediocrity, Microsoft's unreliability, and
> >C/Unix'es cryptic nature, I for one would like to hear everyones ideas on
> >stategies for building partnerships with market leaders and leveraging on
their
> >success.
>
> So who's going to speak to Microsoft about putting an Ada compiler into
Visual
> Studio 7/2000?
>
> John

ObjectAda is modeled after Visual Studio.  From what I've heard from Aonix
insiders,
they lobbied Microsoft hard to be "admitted" to the Visual Studio family,
but as there
was too little benefit to MS they were never taken seriously.  Perhaps
ObjectAda will
get lucky and benefit from the US Justice Dept's judgments in its Anti-Trust
case
against Microsoft.

Rush

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