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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
James Squire <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 6 Oct 1997 15:20:39 -0500
James Squire <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (89 lines)
AdaWorks <[log in to unmask]> 10/06/97 01:02pm wrote:

>There is an apostasy occurring mostly within the DoD and DoD
>contractor community.  For example, the annual Software
>Technology Conference in Salt Lake City has always had a
>track on Ada.  In recognition of Mr. Paige's letter abrogating
>Ada policy, I am told there will no longer be an Ada track.
>Many DoD contractors are preparing to migrate to C++.  We have
>already been asked to do C++ classes for Ada clients.

I hate it when I'm right :-(  <sigh>
Preparing?  Some have already done it to some extent :-(

>The Ada compilier publishers are failing to realize their opportunities
>too.  I talked to a salesman for Green Hiils at last week's Embedded
>Systems Conference who told me that Ada was a different venue.  His
>implication was that the Ada market was somewhat specialized and
>this was a commercial conference.  Unless the compiler publishers,
>including Rational which is based in Silicon Valley, Aonix which is
>headquarted in nearby San Francisco, and the others, begin to broaden
>their view of Ada and educate their sales and marketing people to
>understand that Ada's success depends on its commercial acceptance,
>we will be in for a very rough period.  Once again, Aonix always has
>Ada in its booth at these conferences.  Most others, at any conference
>except Tri-Ada, seem unwilling to acknowledge the Ada side of their
>business -- almost as if it is an embarrassment.

Actually, I understand this more - the vendors in turn, I would presume,
are looking for some indication that their forays into the commercial
market with Ada products will reap some benefits before they launch
out, Aonix excepted.  Maybe they will look to Aonix's experience and if it
looks favorable, they'll jump on the bandwagon -- just in time for the
demand to level off, no doubt ;-)

Still, the fact is they are refusing to take risks and expecting someone
else to do it.  Why is it the only time heads of corporations are lauded for
their risk taking is when some disgruntled sports fan is bitching and
moaning about the players union in whatever sport they follow?  Then
you hear - "Hey, the owner is the one who is taking the risk, investing his
money in the players...."  If that really is a laudable business trait, then
you are correct to criticize Green Hills and others for not putting their
money where their mouth is.

>We also need more effort in the university level education
>system.  Recently, I talked to a computer science professor at
>University of Hawaii who makes language decisions and he was
>surprised that anyone is still using Ada. Most of the educators I meet
>are still unaware of the progress Ada is making in safety-critical
>software. Even those who are Ada-aware do not know about the
>opportunities for building Windows 95 software with Aonix and CLAW.

And apparently, University CS students aren't much interested in learning
Ada because the job market is perceived to be low for such skills.  Again
- the chicken and the egg problem, or catch-22 if you prefer.

I'm not sure why Ada can't still be used to teach good software
development skills, but people tell me that doesn't work.  People want to
get on with learning the language they're really going to be using, I
guess.  <sigh>

>In conclusion, the people who are becoming interested in Ada seem to
>be those who are discovering it for the first time.  My mail, in response
>to my column, is from a few Ada die-hards (who sometimes find more
>to criticize than to praise) along with software practitioners who are
>looking for alternatives to sloppy languages such as C++.  Very few
>are are former Ada users seeking an opportunity to return to the fold.
>They are already so disenchanted that it will be a long time since we
>will see them again.

I think we should make the most of these opportunities.  They may even
come back within the DoD community.  I hear the occasional hint in this
direction every once in a while, but it is still too early to tell.
James Squire                Send my Spam to
mailto:[log in to unmask]
MDA^H^H^HBoeing St. Louis                   
Now that VMS is on the way out, it tips its cap to Unix by implementing
PIPE command.  Talk about locking the barn door after the horse has
away...  Opinions expressed here are my own and NOT my company's
"We were talking the other day about how nobody's seen a Vorlon
 and he said that according to legend, one human did see a Vorlon...he
 turned to stone."
        -- Laurel Takeshima, "The Gathering"