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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Bob Mathis <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 17 Nov 1996 16:50:28 EST
Bob Mathis <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (173 lines)
Sy Wong,

At the end of this message is the main content of Jim Moore's reply to Sy's
original message. The only reason I knew about the suggestion and the request
for a formal reply was because of Jim's copy to me. Jim also copied the message
to John Goodenough, the long standing head of the US delegation to WG9. It is
now also my official reply.

When WG9 first began, there might have been some confusion about US government
funding and the activities of WG9, but things have radically changed. There have
been some few participants in WG9 activities who receive government funds (not
just US) for work related to their participation, but, as far as I know, this
has been relatively free from attempts to direct and control WG9.

Even in the Ada9X project, where there was US government funding and normal
contract monitoring, this was not the responsibility of WG9 and many members of
WG9 and their companies contributed their own time and expenses.

Jim Moore is absolutely correct in saying that items for the agenda of WG9 arise
from the inputs of national member bodies (and other administrative ways through
the ISO hierarchy, of course). Let me go on to say, the resources of WG9 and its
members are very limited. New work would not be considered without considerable
advance preparation and assurance of resources.

If you want government funds to be spent on some project, there have been
numerous proposal opportunities. The most recent having been the ATIP-P program
where proposers were encouraged (required I think) to propose commercialization
and productization of their results. That program received considerable advance
publicity through the efforts of Don Reifer, Chuck Engle, their staffs, and even
some of my mail to the ARA and Team Ada lists.

Sy, your ideas are aimed at the commercial market place. I think that's
wonderful. I wish more people were thinking that way. But you don't accomplish
what you're trying to do by going to the government or some other organization
and asking them to do it for you. Ideas have to make it in the market place just
like products do.

Things come onto the agenda of WG9 through national body contributions and other
ISO mechanisms; but to be put on the program of work they have to be agreed to
by at least five member bodies who are committed to working on the project. Most
of the members will be looking at the commercial implications of their

To respond to some other points. Validation is not controlled by WG9. We have
never reviewed the tests or commented on their coverage. When commentaries are
considered, we try to explain their impact on particular validation tests,
implementations or applications; but that's only to assess the situation and the
impact of a decision. Performance tests have been developed by government
agencies (US and UK primarily), but there have been very significant
contributions from SIGAda in this area. Testing requirements of using
organizations has not been a topic for WG9.

You characterizations of SIGAda are unfair. The members of SIGAda represent the
Ada community very well. The individual participants in WG9 are probably all
members of SIGAda and many of them have been leaders of SIGAda activities. Most
WG9 activities have been paralleled by groups in SIGAda, AdaEurope, or both.
This has been one of the strengths of the Ada community.

Another thing to remember is that the DoD is not an economic development agency.
Their responsibility is the defense of the United States. Clearly economic
strength and industrial development are related to the overall strength and
defense of the country, but DoD is frequently reminded of its appropriate and
inappropriate roles. If there is some DoD action you disagree with (and Ada
policy is only one of the possibilities), it only puts you in with the majority
of the US population.

You also question the background on the members of the recent NRC study group.
There is no doubt in my mind about their individual and collective knowledge of
programming languages. I don't think we could have had a more Ada friendly
panel. I have concerns about their conclusions, but those have to be countered
in a positive way.

Over the years I have encouraged many people to grow their ideas into products,
but I don't want to encourage anyone to do something where I have doubts about
the outcome. Overcoming those doubts requires many factors (for example,
clarifying the goals, assembling the right team, and planning a believable path
to a desirable outcome). At the moment I don't see those components in place, so
I don't want to encourage people to do what I think would be a waste of time.
Complaining about that view wouldn't do any good. Only successful actions will
prove me wrong.

I think Mike Feldman made a very nice point-by-point reply.

Again, ideas have to be sold just as products do. If nobody wants to buy into an
idea, maybe you need a different sales approach.

-- Bob Mathis

------  Jim Moores reply to Sy Wong  ------

ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG9 is an international standards committee operating
under the rules prescribes by JTC1.  The members of the committee are
national bodies which select delegations to attend the meeting and which
formulate national positions to be represented by those delegations.
Decision-making is accomplished by voting with each national delegation
having one vote.

It seems clear to me that proposals that arrive on the floor with no
prior consideration by national bodies have no chance of success.  The
national delegations would have no instructions on how to treat the
proposal.  I don't plan to entertain such proposals because they would
consume valuable time for no point.

If you wish your ideas to be considered by WG9, then you should attempt
to have them incorporated into the positions of one or more national
delegations.  As I mentioned before, John Goodenough is the head of
delegation for the United States.

Regards, Jim Moore

------  Sy Wongs message  ------

>To: Jim Moore, ACM Techn. Stds Comm. Chair <[log in to unmask]> 1996.11.2
>Please voice my petition to have the following matter put on the agenda
>for discussion.
>Subject: Ada-95 Annex-H for Safety and Security Software (SSS).
>Purpose. To extend Ada use to the commercial sector
>where nobody touches Ada or mentions Ada, particular in the areas of
>  a. SSS
>  b. the Electronic Design Automation and
>  c. hard real-time embedded applications.
>What follows applies only to the commercial sector which, unlike the
>military market the Ada vendor depends on, it is a competitive
>environment where any drag on economy cannot be tolerated.
>Annex-H listed a number of "restrictables" for the purpose to
>proof of correctness of SSS, with apologies in the Rationale that it is

>not subsetting because Ada compiler must be validated for the entire
>language anyhow.  This is a faulty reasoning that ignored the
>issue with supports for other languages.  Logic do not prevail for a
>vendor that only caters to the SSS market to develope a compiler for
>Ada-95 solely to get validation and then make sure that the customer
>cannot use the restricted constructs.  The other two listed application
>areas have similar requirements for the SSS sector where Annex-H
>restricted compiler can have a market.  In particular, in the EDA
>this subset can serve both as Hardware Design/Description Language
>in addition to programming and can be used as hw/sw Co-Design Language
>It is requested that the following measures be taken.
>1. Write a clarification for Annex H, not couching subsetting in terms
>"restrictable" type wordings.
>2. Edit the LRM accordingly to remove all restricted constructs or
>mention of them plus possibly a manual for learning purposes.
>3. Separate the ACVC into "must have" and "must not have" parts,
>offer validation service in S.U. for Annex-H restricted compilers,
>the U.S. resists any attempt that subsets Ada.
>4. Possibly edit ASIS after the above are in place.
>An official response is requested.
>SY Wong