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AdaWorks <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 15:28:01 -0800
TEXT/PLAIN (85 lines)

Thanks for your thoughtful response to my polemic.  I started
it as a response to Rush Kester's question and lost control
as my passion grew more intense.  Then, looking if over after
composing it, I toned it down (believe it or not), before
launching across the planet.

Interesting how many readers have already sent me notes of
approbation for some of my key points.

I understand the importance of making the profit.  I run a business
too. I have run larger businesses in the past, and am clear on
the duty of a coporation to its stockholders.

That being said, I find it a little frustrating that those of us
engaged in the sale of Ada products and services cannot seem to
find a way to better publicize our successes.  I find it puzzling
that an organization founded to develop and market Ada products
has turned its back on the very technology that gave it a start.
It is confounding that we are relying on volunteers [you mentioned
Hal Hart] for the expansion of our marketplace.

At the recent SigAda there plenty enough of naysayers, several of
whom took the trouble to buttonhole me and pronounce their conclusion
of doom.  There were others who continue to be optimistic because
they see new projects in place, observe some on-going support for
their efforts, and expect more positive developments in the future.

I think there is evidence that some progress is being made even as
some organizations make the mistake of converting over to C++. It
is probably necessary for them to try C++ so they can feel better
about Ada when they discover just how bad it really is for serious
software development.  It is a little like the fellow who bangs his
head against the wall because it feels so good when he stops.

Meanwhile, people who know better need to be taking more responsible
positions.  Those who realize the benefits of Ada ought to be guiding
their clients, present and future, away from the treacherous waters
they have chosen.  Like Ulysses, binding his sailors to the masts to
protect them from the seductive songs of deadly Sirens, a responsible
enterprise will seek to protect its charges rather than let them
follow the music into disaster.

Yes, we need to make a profit. Already, we have realized that many of
our former Ada clients are asking for C++ classes.  We do not turn down
business, so we are providing that training.  We continue to promote Ada
even as we teach other languages.  Recently, a couple of students complained
in a C++ class that we mentioned Ada too often.  Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  They
really need to know the differences if they are building DoD software.
People's lives depend on this stuff.

Absent the support of our compiler publishers, absent a coordinated
marketing communications or public relations effort of the ARA, we
can do something.  Those of us who are able to write coherent and
interesting articles should be doing so.  Those of us who are able
to present papers and tutorials should be doing so.  Those of us who
are able to get on the program committee of some computer conference
should be doing so.  Go into the world and preach where it is needed.

It is clear that the ARA is not moving to advance the awareness of the
public regarding Ada.  Nothing has happened for a long time that anyone
can notice.  The efforts of people such as you, Dr. Conn, have made
a huge difference.  We need more of you if Ada is going to get any
attention from the rest of the computing community.

Is Rational doing anything to promote Ada?  Not that we can see. Is the
ARA doing anything?  There is little evidence of it.  Is any other compiler
publisher doing anything beyond promoting their own product?  Perhaps. It
does not seem obvious.  All the significant effort, at present, seems
to be from volunteers.  I guess we simply need to accept this and recruit
more volunteers.


Richard Riehle
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AdaWorks Software Engineering
Suite 30
2555 Park Boulevard
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 328-1815
FAX  328-1112