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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
AdaWorks <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 30 May 2000 14:45:30 -0700
AdaWorks <[log in to unmask]>
TEXT/PLAIN (71 lines)

Hi Fellow Teamers,

We still have a lot of work ahead of us.  I just came from a
videoconference session in which the presenter, a high-ranking
member of the DoD, devoted part of his presentation to lamenting
the Ada experience saying, "It is painful for me to talk about."

Unfortunately, this is a person who makes decisions that have wide
impact, rippling influences throughout the rest of the decison-making
community.  The lament goes all the way back to the early Ada
classes at the Naval Academy and follows a thread of failures during
the early days of Ada 83.  It covered a lot of high-visibility
projects that went sour, presumbably because of Ada.

Those of us who recall some of those early days know that the problems
were not a function of the language.  Rather, they were a result of
poor compilers (checkbox compilers such as that from Tandem, et al),
inadequate development environments, and the attempt to use a new
technology where everyone on the project was a novice in the language.

Whatever the reasons, Ada was a common denominator and became the
easy excuse for failure.  I think compiler publishers were as much
at fault as anyone.  They released their product at whatever they
thought the traffice would bear.  Since the DoD had "mandated" Ada,
it seemed to be "easy pickins" to sell a minimal-featured, high-priced
compiler since the customer had no legal choice.  There was, of course,
much breaking of the law, but without any penalty or reprimand.

It is turning out to be an uphill struggle to persuade some of these
decision-maker that things are better than they were.  No one seems
to be visibly promoting Ada anymore.  Rational, for example, has given
the impression of abandoning the market, even though there are people
within who are still Ada advocates.  The ARA seems to have become a
dormant body. Has anyone heard anything from them for a while?

So we are currently without any kind of open promotion of Ada.  No
articles are being published.  JOOP has decided to no longer have
an Ada column, not because my writing is so awful but because they
see no point in it.

Major systems formerly programmed in Ada are being converted to
C++.  I am not going to mention which ones since there is still some
Ada in them and I do not wish to call attention to them for fear someone
will say, "We need to weed out the rest of that Ada code."

Perhaps Team-Ada needs an action plan for promoting Ada. Many of the compiler
publishers have become disinterested,  the ARA is doing nothing about
publicity, and the tool makers are in no position to give it their focus.

The Ada marketplace is currently without any leadership, it seems.  At
least is seems so to me since I see nothing of Ada, hear nothing of
Ada, anywhere except in my classroom and from a few DoD officials
whose opinion of it is less than gratifying.

When Dave Weller formed the Team-Ada mailing list, it was with the
intention that it would be an Ada Advocacy forum.  Now we need some
kind of outreach program.  Or is it too late?  Have we already lost
the market and simply not yet become aware of it?


Richard Riehle
[log in to unmask]
AdaWorks Software Engineering
6 Sepulveda Circle
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-5536