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Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 21:09:20 -0500
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Said David and Tucker -

> > ... Some of us have been working to show how
> > successful Ada 95 can be in these areas. I'm kind of wondering if a rug
> > is being pulled out from under us, or whether the committee intended
> > that this be in the "war-fighting" category.
> Ada doesn't need to be mandated to be used.

This is certainly true, and Ada's success in non-defense (but defense-like)
domains is ample proof of this.

On the other hand, given the sometimes irresistible "go commercial"
ideology in the government, this recommendation - if adopted by DoD -
turns the justification around. Now, instead of having to make a
business case _against_ Ada, a PM or contractor must make the case
_for_ Ada. Given the nature of this industry, I fear the PM or
contractor will be unable or unwilling to make the case.
> Admittedly, if there is no mandate for a particular technology
> in a particular domain, then a business case must be made for the
> use of one technology over another.  I certainly expect and hope
> that Ada will continue to be used in many domains that don't relate
> even vaguely to war-fighting.  That doesn't necessarily mean it should
> be mandated in all such domains.

I agree, but the negative tone of the report - "there is virtually no
chance of Ada being a commercially accepted language", etc., making the
case will be very hard. If "mandate" is too strong, "preference" might
be better. Certainly the committee's bulletted summary - "drop the
requirement for non-war-fighting systems" or suchlike - makes IMHO
a too-strong statement.
> The business case required to justify use of a particular technology
> to solve a particular problem is quite different from the business case
> required to justify a mandate for using a particular technology to solve
> all problems in a given domain.

Here too I agree, but - as I mentioned in the Q&A at the public briefing -
the tone of the report is such as to _discourage_ use of Ada outside
the required domain. I'm surprised it wasn't more nuanced. This report
has got to contribute to a negative spiral, virtually _guaranteeing_
that Ada has virtually no chance of commercial success.

Two serious - not sarcastic - questions for Tucker:

Do you seriously think the Ada companies - with the possible exception
of ACT - will do very much to press the case for Ada in non-warfighting

What do you think the chances are of the Ada industry making much investment
in non-warfighting application support, in or out of DoD?
> > -- David
> -Tucker Taft   [log in to unmask]
Mike Feldman