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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Roger Racine <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 31 Jul 2003 09:09:07 -0700
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Stupidity is the oldest mental disease! Unfortunately, the software
profession does not have any means for the determination what constitutes
malpractice or imposing the appropriate penalties.

If the DoD followed standard management and/or engineering rules, there
would now be a postmortem on the functioning of all weapons systems used in
Iraq II. This would include the reliability of the software and its
correlation with the programming language used.

Bob Leif
Robert C. Leif, Ph.D.
e-mail [log in to unmask]
-----Original Message-----
From: Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95) [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Roger Racine
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2003 4:54 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: DASIA 2003 excerpts

Last week there was a meeting of The Open Group's Real-Time & Embedded
Systems Forum, which works on software standards.  A lot of the work is in
the area of safety-critical software, and is focusing on Java as a
language.  The interesting thing from the Ada perspective is that many of
the people at the forum seemed (at least from the comments I listened to)
to be unhappy that they were not able to use Ada.  Ada is now banned by
some parts of the DoD.

I talked to a couple of people about this, and was told that companies that
wanted to use Ada were getting rejected by potential employees specifically
because of the use of Ada.  I asked if that is still occurring, or if it
was a few years ago when there were many fewer available people, but no one
knew the answer.  They basically said it was too late.

There were a couple people who actually did not like Ada, but it was more
that they had had bad experiences with specific compilers.

By the way, Ben Brosgol gave a quite good talk on lessons learned using Ada
for safety-critical applications and did point out that Ada is still alive
and being used on new projects.  The point I got out of the talk was "The
Ada community has solved the safety-critical problems.  Why waste time
fixing the same problems for Java?"  I think others might have gotten a
different point.  :(

Roger Racine

At 12:45 PM 7/29/2003, Colin Paul Gloster wrote:
>At last month's DAta Systems In Aerospace conference
>Christophe MORENO of Alcatel Space announced in his "Plug &
>Play Architecture for On-Board Software
>Components" presentation that he is using Ada 83. 24 minutes
>later during Astrium's Matthias Wiegand's "Next Generation
>Avionics System for Satellite Application" presentation,
>Matthias Wiegand said "Ada is possible". During the
>"Software Agents 2: A Minimal Real-Time CORBA ORB for
>Space" presentation by what Science Systems (Space) had
>become, it was revealed that the company is working on a
>minimal realtime CORBA ORB for which Ada 95 support is being
>CNES's Francois Bossard spoke about a software architectural
>model in his "Event driven architecture for hard real-time
>embedded systems" presentation which has been implemented in
>Ada. An interface for C in middleware was later added.
>A strange part of the conference ...
>GMV had a presentation on its "CPFPS: Development of a
>Safety Critical Hard Real Time Distributed Application for
>EGNOS". The programmers programmed in C. They coded over
>120000 lines. They were worried about memory leaks. They
>found hundreds of memory leaks which had not already been
>detected in testing. For the project, verification was
>automated whenever possible, including memory leak analysis.
>Hundreds of errors were found at unit level. After fixing
>these, about twenty errors were found at system level.
>MISRA C was not used because of its restrictiveness, but
>'99%' of MISRA C was used. The GMV presenter claimed that a
>lot of erroneous C programs can not be detected by Lint.
>He had spent about seven years with Ada, so it may have
>seemed that he would want to have used Ada for EGNOS's
>CPFPS. However, he complained that Ada compilers he had used
>or an Ada compiler he had used is buggy. Also the abstract
>at the conference reveals "A trade off was performed between
>C and Ada, other languages being discarded very early in the
>process, and finally C selected. The DoD dropped the Ada
>mandate for any kind of software in 1998, but reports from
>the AdaIC state that Ada was not the dominant language for
>Weapon Systems already in 1994, [..]".
>Colin Paul Gloster
>P.S. While I am emailing an Ada advocacy list, an excerpt
>from an email from an email list of the Association of C &
>C++ Users of July 27th, 2003:
>"Your argument seems to boil down to the question of what's 'morally' a
>or non-const method.
>That's fair enough but I think that C++ has always had a problem here in
>case. Const methods can so easily modify the logical state of composite
>objects that I don't see how you can rely on const to tell you that the
>logical state is left unaffected - at least not at the level that the
>language can enforce."

Roger Racine
Draper Laboratory, MS 31
555 Technology Sq.
Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
617-258-3939 Fax