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TEAM-ADA  July 2002

TEAM-ADA July 2002

Subject:

Re: What's Ada's life expectancy?

From:

Gloster <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask], [log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 30 Jul 2002 11:41:27 +0100

Content-Type:

TEXT/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/plain (71 lines)

(Accidentally emailed to Mike directly earlier.)

Mike Feldman said:
"[..]
Obviously Ada will be around in "legacy" (sub-)systems for a long time
to come."

For the record, for a software engineering journal I have just submitted a
report on DAta Systems In Aerospace 2002 (organised by Eurospace, whose chairman
works for a Danish and Dutch company and he is the director of Eurospace's Ada
and Software Engineering panel, the DASIA committee includes a passionately
pro-Ada(95) workmate of his and a strongly pro-Ada man working in a third
country damned to delivering supremely high quality C to his commercial
customers who are to lazy/resistant to use another language even if he bundles
in a compiler for them) wherein I quoted from one of the highest ranking
representatives in an ESA member country of an in-flight software maintenance
contractor: as time goes by we see "we see beautiful Ada being replaced by
assembler" (for performance on things such as 1750s running at 10 MHz).

"[..] That doesn't say much about whether COBOL is really in active use, or
whether there are any new starts to speak of. (I don't know whether there are -
do you, Stephe?)"

Business magazine "Application Development Advisor" from 101 Communications
(formerly from SIGS) in which Aonix has been advertising quite a lot in had
reported that there was plenty of new work in COBOL at the end of the 1990s.
Last time I looked though, it did not have an COBOL column. It did have a Java
and a VB and a C++ column (each typically at least four pages) and others. The
C++ column used to be written by a busy person working for a bank, more recently
it is written by languages polymath and voluble C++ advocate Kevlin Henney who
gave a presentation to the Adaxia/John Robinson & Associates-organised Ada Club
conference in the UK last year (on a paradigm topic, not a language topic).

"OK, back to Ada. Is anyone aware of new starts that weren't committed
to years ago? As you probably know, I try to keep abreast of this,
and report it in http://www.seas.gwu.edu/~mfeldman/ada-project-summary.html.
I haven't seen anything in quite a while; OTOH I haven't done much
active research on it recently."

Yes, but one does not always have the freedom to report, or things may change
too. Some months ago on this email list I did mention a company from yet another
country, Space Systems Finland (where it is based is left as an exercise to the
reader) which is strongly pro-Ada. I do not know how much relevant information
to implementation language (if any) is on one of its recent reports at
HTTP://WWW.SSF.Fi/miro/ but I can tell you that the entire control program is
written in Ada 95, there are OS drivers written in C, and the unembedded GUI for
operators to control the rover is written in Java and also reuses onboard Ada
code (not ported to Java). (This Mars rover is not the Beagle2, and obviously is
not the NASA Pathfinder. (Are non-U.S. entities allowed to do the work for pure
NASA contracts?))

Ravenscar is interpreted by a senior Briton as a positive encouragement to allow
Ada to be used on more missions. Other companies have used Ravenscar too.

Standing still though and just talking among ourselves can let other languages
to creep in. There is significant likelihood that others will choose C++ or Java
on more missions, and in cases where only one high level language is supported
for a DSP, C too.

"I have not had a tip on a substantive addition to this list in two
years or so, maybe even longer. (The latest revision date is 6/22/02,
but that was only to fix a couple of dead links.)

Anyone have anything to offer?"

You could always try to keep in touch with domain-targeting conferences instead
of language-targeting conferences.

Good luck,
Colin Paul Gloster

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