Hal, et al,
I submitted a proposal to STC as well. I have not heard back yet, but
the focus of my proposal is also Ada.
The fall-out from the recent abrogation of Ada policy is beginning to
have an effect. Already, we are hearing from clients who previously
sought out services for Ada training and consulting, now requesting
In my opinion, Secretary Paige, in his decision regarding Ada, has given
the impression that Ada is no longer a DoD language. This may not have been
his intention. His memorandum explicitly states that Ada should be
considered as one of the language choices.
If the STC decides to eliminate all references to Ada, I will discontinue my
editorial support for it. Every year I write a little report in my JOOP
column (and sometimes elsewhere) encouraging people to consider attending
STC. Once it too abandons Ada, there will be no point in giving this
I have also heard from one Ada software product publisher who is considering
whether there is any point in buying booth space at a conference which is
concientiously trying to eradicate any reference to Ada in its program. I
would expect other Ada product companies to follow.
I wonder if Mr. Paige has any idea the damage that has done with his recent
directive. Here in Silicon Valley, my colleagues in other software
envionments, even those at some of the defense contractors, have interpreted
the directive as a clear statement that Ada is no longer importatn as a DoD
language. I was in the office of the CEO of one well-known DoD contractor
recently who said, "Get with it Richard. Ada is dead, dead, dead." His
company has pulled out of the Ada marketplace entirely. Some others are
scrambling figure out how they can transition their Ada 83 to C++ in the
next round of software upgrades.
Although Secretary Paige's decision was well-meant, and was not intended to
kill Ada, it may very well result in exactly that outcome. It was probably
exactly the wrong time to make such a decision, but he was leaving his post
at the Pentagon and his successor was expected to make an even more Draconion
decision -- a direct cancellation of all support for Ada in the DoD.
Meanwhile, C++, a dreadful gargoyle of a language, continues to enjoy a place
in the sun, or Java a place in Sun. The more I look at C++ the more I
realize how dangerous it is. Nevertheless, I expect that more and more
of our warfighters are going to be risking their lives on the quality of our
C++ code. Consequently, our responsibility is to do everything we can to
ensure that, as Ada fades from prominence in our weapon systems, we encourage
the C++ developers to use that language with extreme care.
I would be most unhappy to hear that some pilot crashed because of a memory
leak, runaway pointer, or automatic promotion of an argument call in a
C++ program. These are scary times for anyone whose life depends on the
quality of the software.
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