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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
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Tue, 6 Mar 2001 14:26:05 +0000
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Today the same lecturer again claimed that Java is the result of
cherrypicking from Smalltalk; C++; and Ada. It is not fitting
for me to scream in the middle of a C and C++ lecture what other
languages I choose to use. Also it is not fitting for incorrect
history to be taught to students. As I have said earlier in this
thread on Wedensday the 7th of February 2001:
"If lecturers and course co-ordinators make students think that Java has
the best features of all remotely comparable languages then most will not
bother to explore the supposedly inferior languages."

I am blind carbon copying to him again: hopefully he'll stop
saying untruths or point me to evidence to back up his Smalltalk
and Ada heritage claims. I never read much of any of the Java
language specifications but early on at least they were defined
in terms of C89 (if this has any ambuigities or is not fully
explained it is to be taken as the way defined in C89 --
paraphrased from memory).

Colin Paul Gloster


Previous parts of the thread:
-----------------------------
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001 04:31:59 -0500 (EST)
From: Colin Paul Gloster <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Problems with C-class languages ( wasRe: SE-book 6.ed)

[..] but he's actually lecturing us in C++ this semester (even
saying that Java has the best bits of the languages he claimed). [..]
-------------------
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2001 13:06:51 -0500 (EST)
From: Colin Paul Gloster <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Problems with C-class languages ( wasRe: SE-book 6.ed)
[..]
I did blind carbon copy [..] to him [the C++ lecturer] but he
didn't respond.
[..]
-------------
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2001 11:06:06 -0500 (EST)
From: Colin Paul Gloster <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Problems with C-class languages  ( wasRe: SE-book 6.ed)

On Mon, 5 Feb 2001, W. Wesley Groleau x4923 wrote, in parts quoting Colin
Paul Gloster:
"> I've just come out of a lecture wherein we were told that Java took the
> good bits from C++ and Smalltalk and Ada.  [..]

The lecturer (to be charitable) is misinformed."

[..] he might not be misinformed at all but not receptive and
attentive enough to details.

[..]

If lecturers and course co-ordinators make students think that Java has
the best features of all remotely comparable languages then most will not
bother to explore the supposedly inferior languages.

[..]
------------------

Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 12:00:18 -0500
From: W. Wesley Groleau x4923 <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Problems with C-class languages  ( wasRe: SE-book 6.ed)

> I've just come out of a lecture wherein we were told that Java took the
> good bits from C++ and Smalltalk and Ada.  Someone else at the same

The lecturer (to be charitable) is misinformed.  The only thing Java added
to C++ was a little bit of (not nearly enough) error-resistance.  The good
features of Ada 95 that Java has is a very short list.  The good features
of Ada 83 that Java has [pointed out later that he meant DOES NOT HAVE] is
a very long list.  I'm not qualified to discuss Smalltalk.

[..]
------------------------------
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 09:21:15 -0500 (EST)
From: Colin Paul Gloster <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Bcc: the lecturer
Subject: Re: Problems with C-class languages  ( wasRe: SE-book 6.ed)

I've just come out of a lecture wherein we were told that Java took the
good bits from C++ and Smalltalk and Ada. [..]
------------------
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 11:40:50 -0700
From: S. Ron Oliver <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Problems with C-class languages  ( wasRe: SE-book 6.ed)

At 12:44 PM 2/2/01 -0500, W. Wesley Groleau x4923 wrote:

> > Sun had people working the Java project who knew about these serious
> > problems, yet virtually nothing was done about them.
>
>This has to do with how Java _really_ originated.
>
>I'm not making this up: One of Sun's Java champions said this in a
>thirty-minute info-mercial I watched when I was part of Jersey Shore
>SIG-Ada. . . .


Interesting story.  I didn't know there was a video on it.  But I know
people who were involved in that early work, and they told me essentially
the same thing.  One person, in particular, who shall remain nameless, had
done his graduate work in programming languages.  He pushed, without
success, to have some modern language features considered.  Soon after that
he left Sun.  He would never come right out and tell me whether that was
his personal decision, or whether he was pressured to leave.  I rather
suspect it was a little of both.

sro
------------------------
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 12:44:31 -0500
From: W. Wesley Groleau x4923 <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Problems with C-class languages  ( wasRe: SE-book 6.ed)

> Sun had people working the Java project who knew about these serious
> problems, yet virtually nothing was done about them.

This has to do with how Java _really_ originated.

I'm not making this up: One of Sun's Java champions said this in a
thirty-minute info-mercial I watched when I was part of Jersey Shore
SIG-Ada.  I suspect the story was altered slightly for public consumtion,
but here it is as I remember it.


Sun assigned a small team to develop a "set-top appliance" (which I assume
was something like either WebTV or TiVo).  After a certain amount of
coding time had gone by, they said, "Hey, several classes of bugs we are
finding are very similar to each other.  Why don't we make a new
programming language that prevents these?"  So, they got a copy of a C
textbook, crossed out everything that was 'dangerous' in their opinion,
and turned the rest into a language.  Then added the OO concepts.  The guy
even held the book up to the camera and showed how much was lined out on
several pages.

That's what was on the video.  Now here's the part I speculated on after
learning a little about Java:  If anybody ever said, "But what about this
feature?" then the answer must have been, "Well, it hasn't caused us as
many problems, so let's leave it in there."  For example, since these guys
were all experienced C programmers, for every time they forgot a break
statement, they walked off the end of an array ten times.  So they fixed
arrays, but left "break" as it was.

Evidence that they didn't even bother to look at other languages is that
they rejected features as "impossible to do safely" that Ada 95 (and
sometimes Ada 83) had already figured out how to do safely.
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