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TEAM-ADA  December 1998

TEAM-ADA December 1998

Subject:

Re: Ada market viability

From:

Ian Pascoe <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ian Pascoe <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 2 Dec 1998 11:36:21 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (73 lines)

At 08:49 AM 11/27/98 +0100, Jean-Pierre Rosen wrote:
>-----Message d'origine-----
>De : Al Christians <[log in to unmask]>
> : [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
>Date : jeudi 26 novembre 1998 20:51
>Objet : Re: Ada market viability
>
>
>>Stanley Allen wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> All of these appeals to the superego leave to the marketers of
>>> other languages (C++ and Java especially) the vastly more
>>> appealing solicitations that can be made to the id.  Bjarne
>>> Stroustrup *directly* invokes this half of human nature when he
>>> says that "The purpose of the C++ language is to make programming
>>> more enjoyable for the serious programmer".
>Small historic point: In the first version of his book, Stroustrup
>wrote:
>"The purpose of the C++ language is to make programming
>more fun for the individual programmer".
>
>Of course, he felt the need later to revisit history...
>
>----------------------------------------------------------------------
>------
>                  J-P. Rosen ([log in to unmask])
>      Visit Adalog's web site at http://perso.wanadoo.fr/adalog


Jean-Pierre,

The Ada UK organisation ran a seminar some 2 years ago now for UK Ministry
of Defence personnel. In his summing up, John Barnes (whose book I am told
continues to sell well) suggested that there is much emphasis today on
Freedom.  But freedom has two options - there is freedom from 'something'
and freedom to do 'something'. The use of Ada provides freedom from a range
of unpleasant consequences that result from bad programming, with plenty of
support from your favourite compiler to protect you from such consequences.
The use of C/C++ on the other hand certainly allows plenty of freedom to do
things your way, with absolutely no support from any compiler - in keeping
with Stroustrup's view?

As we all know, there is a global dependency now on software for a vast
range of products and services. Maybe the situation with software now is as
it was in the early days of the Industrial Revolution. But how much longer
can Society afford programming to be fun for the practioner, without having
due regard for the consequences? Legislation has a habit of catching up,
eventually, with reality and forcing an industry to consider the
consequences of its technology. In the 1970's Ralph Nader finally forced
the US automotive industry to build safer cars - more boring maybe, but
then inherently better engineered - until now when you consider how much
unregulated software is included in the average family saloon, most of it
written in C "because it's cheaper".

Even the avionics and aerospace industries have their failures (Airbus and
Ariane 5), despite very clear development guidelines. Maybe the Year 2000
issue will force authorities to consider making companies more responsible
for their software and take a top-down approach to development decisions
instead of allowing tool and language choices to filter up from engineering
levels.

John Barnes' other point at this Ada UK seminar was that our industry is
also driven by "fashion" - that is not to say that every tool/language
decision is motivated by CV engineering but we could do worse than
reinforce the "freedom from" message in the use of Ada. Maybe "Ada - the
freedom fighter" is a not inappropriate banner as we move into a new
millennium.


Ian Pascoe
Rational Software Ltd      

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