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TEAM-ADA  April 1998

TEAM-ADA April 1998

Subject:

Re: Win CE - why Rational is not so bad

From:

David Fisher <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David Fisher <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 5 Apr 1998 15:18:57 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (165 lines)

> soory, why do you keep saying "we" and then say:
>
> do you actually work for a company with many programmers, or it it just
> you?

I own the company, and I am the sole programmer. I used the pronouns interchangeably
because (a) the company and I are essentially the same thing, so a distinction
between the two is academic and largely irrelevant, and (b) it hardly matters, so
why get anxious about it? One hopes that we all have more serious matters to worry
about than the use of pronouns. Besides, it is not a solecism.

> I don't understand this. You can download GNAT right now, at this very
> minute, for free, with full documentations, but you'd rather user MS VC.
> then you complain about support. If you do not want support from ACT,
> you do not have to have it. do you think M$ will give you support for
> free? Last I looked, it will cost you $100/hr to call M$ for phone
> support.

You miss my point, or I failed to express it clearly. We are not in a position to
pay ANYONE for support. With MS C, we have not needed it, so who cares what MS
charges? We would rather use Ada, but the learning curve is too steep for us as
matters stand. That was essential to my point. In other circumstances, what I said
would be irrelevant or inappropriate. I was trying to explain that the untapped
market for Ada consists in no small part of companies like mine. As long as Ada
ignores us, it will remain a market nonentity. Don't believe me? Fine. Look at what
happened when MS and Borland introduced cheap compilers that actually worked. Ignore
the lessons of recent history if you are comfortable doing so, but that won't change
the reality of things, will it?

> so, you consider DOS a real-time, multi-threaded OS?

Nothing in what I wrote implied this. Please do try to be a little more objective. I
noted that we wish to improve our software. This means, among other things,
improving the OS on which it runs and using a more suitable language.

> you need assistance using UNIX? how about buying a book on UNIX?

We have an extensive library on all sorts of OSes and languages. As I had noted (did
you actually read anything other than the pronouns?), we need more than what can be
derived from reading books. Were books all that one needed in order to learn new
skills, why would there be schools?

> > and the available resources make these choices anything but
> > free.
>
> if you can't afford a $30 book, go to the library, if you can't afford a
> library card, check the internet, there are allot of resources on the
> net to teach people UNIX commmands like 'ls' , 'pwd', 'man' etc... in
> few days, you'll be UNIX guru just like you are a DOS guru now.

Oh, dear, you are nasty, aren't you?

> > As for Ada 95, we certainly can find one or two inexpensive compilers,
> > or even free ones such as GNU, but the available assistance options make these
> > far too costly for us. Mr Dewar mentioned support fees to us - if I recall
> > correctly - starting at $12,000 a year. For a company with a single
> > very-much-part-time programmer (me), that is, um, unrealistic.
> >
>
> then don't buy support.  how much do you pay for MS VC support? how much
> do you pay for DOS support?

We don't need support for C and DOS. Set aside your obvious animosity and consider
this: while Ada proponents, those who have invested much effort to learn the
language and acquire expertise in its use, will see Ada as the obvious answer to
real-time application problems, they forget that there are far more of us who are
NOT programmers or Ada pushers, and that we constitute a large market for language
products. We deal with programming languages as simply one of many issues which are
involved in a project, not as the sole issue. Please try to bear this in mind, and
what I said may make more sense to you.

> > I cannot stop
> > working for a living to dedicate myself for several months to a >single-minded
> > attempt to teach myself Ada in vacuo.>
>
> how did you learn C ?

By reading, by studying, and, most of all, by getting assistance from local
programmers and others who are competent in C. I learn best by example, and the C
code that we obtained from these local sources was of great value in developing my
grasp of the language. Ask around in this town about Ada, and you'll get blank
stares, derisive laughter, or earnest suggestions that centre largely on C, C++, and
even Java.

> > What's my point? One that both the Linux and Ada 95 communities might benefit
> > from considering. MS and Borland achieved success by peddling usable languages
> > and OSes at very low prices.
>
> nothing is lower than 0.   You want ACT and GNU to pay you to use their
> free products?

Nonsense. Many things are lower than zero: Bill Clinton, New York City taxicab
drivers, the net economic value of a programming language that cannot be used to do
useful work IN A PARTICULAR CONTEXT....

> what do people want? someone to come feed them free food also?

May I respectfully suggest that you set your indignation aside, even if only
temporarily, and try to see the serious idea that I was attempting to express? Or,
do you react to any challenge to your beliefs by becoming insulting and silly?

> >These languages and OSes, for all their imperfections, are usable.
> >MS IDEs, such as the one that we use in VC v1.5,
> > are user-friendly and almost intuitive once one gets a little way up the
> > learning curve. Their OSes are almost usable right out of the box.
>
> I am happy for you. then just use what you feel comfertable with. If DOS
> and C is f> learning curve. Their OSes are almost usable right out of the box.
>
> I am happy for you. then just use what you feel comfertable with. If DOS
> and C is fine for you, then you should stay with that. do not complicate
> your life with more advanced systems.

I trust that you are capable of better reasoning than that. The logical consequence
of what you recommend is that no one should ever make any attempt to improve matters
if there's any difficulty  involved. If I were "comfertable" with DOS, then why
would I have been here in the first place?

> > Can you
> > imagine buying Windows NT and being told that you now have to recompile the
> > kernel in order to get your network card to work?
>
> compiling linux Kernel takes 2-3 minutes on my p200 machine. You get a
> nice GUI where you pick what you want to be build into the system. If
> you find this is too technical I really have no idea why you are in the
> real-time emmbeded programming field.  Try compiling DOS if you do not
> like something in it and see how far you can go.

You seems to have a splendid knack for missing the point.

> >Or being told that you are
> > free to use the $99 language compiler, providing that you first agree to a
> > $1,000 a month support contract?
>
> THis is plain wrong. Who told you you need to buy a support contract to
> use GNAT? this is so silly.

It would not be at all silly to you had you read with an open mind what I wrote. Let
me put it this way. When you first approached the study of programming, something
that I assume that you are now good at, what would you have said had you been told
to stop annoying others with your complaining and go figure everything out for
yourself at the library?

> > In short, make the product useful to the end-user and usable with little
> > difficulty and aggravation, and your language, Ada 95 or whatever, will be
> > accepted.
>
> for you, useful sounds like someone comming and hand feed  you one
> instruction at a time. You say that you know nothing about Ada, and then
> you say you want it to be more usable and less difficult. I guess
> anything without a GUI for you is hard?

Wrong again. At least you are consistent....

--


        David Fisher
        Chief Engineer
        Fisher Research Corporation
        Rochester, New York
        [log in to unmask]
        716 328 4230
        fax 328 1984

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