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"Robert C. Leif, Ph.D." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Robert C. Leif, Ph.D.
Sat, 25 Apr 1998 13:55:05 -0700
text/plain (129 lines)
To: Prof. Michael Feldman et al.
From: Bob Leif, Ph.D.

One of the real causes of the Microsoft near monopoly is that Microsoft has
been blessed with a group of truly inept competitors. For Instance, about
10 years ago, I suggested to IBM Boca Raton (PC Division) that the
perceived, strong identification of OS/2 with the IBM Microchannel bus
would preclude OS/2's use by virtually all of the clone users. I also
suggested that IBM should build a single user system based on AIX. The
individuals I met at IBM Boca really did not like IBM Texas (AIX). I also
suggested the use of Ada for IBM software would permit drowning the C and
C++ world with fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Another example, Lotus ported its IMPROV spreadsheet from NextStep to
Windows. IMPROV was the only spreadsheet which I have ever used that
included good software engineering. I suspect that IMPROV so inflamed the
123 camp that Lotus dropped IMPROV and did not even include a translator of
IMPROV files in Lotus 123. Since IMPROVE did translate to an Excel format,
I now use Excel. As far as I know, neither Lotus nor any of the other
spreadsheet vendors including Microsoft have figured out that columns and
rows should have unique descriptive names(keys).

Lastly, our friends in the Ada software industry have worked very hard at
not making money. Since the language shows through, Ada offers the unique
opportunity to make very user friendly, reliable software. I must most
strongly emphasize that a great amount of software is actually mission
critical to the buyer. When the books or correspondence of a company get
screwed up, the company can often be sufficiently hurt to fail or lose
money. The J code Ada compiler should be an excellent macro language for
spreadsheets and other COTS products.

Returning to Microsoft, the company and Bill Gates have at least been
honest in stating that their goal was to make low cost products. Sun and
IBM are pushing the Java snake oil.

In short, it is time to stop talking and start making commercial products.

Bob Leif
At 12:43 PM 4/24/98 -0400, you wrote:
>[said Neil]
>> The reality is that we all have to work with different environments, it
>> seems to me that for Ada to get out of the niche perception that too
many of
>> the non-Ada folk have, we cannot restrict ourselves to using just one or
>> OS/s because their development was "purer" in some way.
>> Just live with it, if you don't like Apple, Microsoft or IBM, so what?
Is it
>> really relevant, we live in a commercial world and have to develop for as
>> many platforms as possible, and does it really matter whether one is
>> designed by a huge corporation with little or no innovation of it's own?
>> simple fact is that NT and 95 comprise a huge market and we in the Ada
>> community cannot ignore the potential.
>I agree, but think you are misinterpeting how the platform discussion
>started. The thread began - as threads often do in this forum devoted
>to Ada advocacy - with a discussion of Ada marketing. I raised the
>Apple analogy because I've believed for years that Apple is a victim
>of the same "bigness is everything, everything else deserves to die"
>mentality that has victimized Ada.
>A calm study of the Apple issue may well shed light on the Ada one.
>Both Ada and the Mac have been marginalized by FUD like "Apple is a
>loser; don't you want to go with the winner?" We old gray folks
>remember the "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" FUD in the
>mainframe days; this is deja vu for us.
>> And no I am not a Microsoft apologist, but probably >60% of our work is on
>> 95 and NT we have to work with what we are given, if you have a preference
>> for Mac's fine but is this the place to discuss that?
>You missed the point - it was never a platform-preference discussion,
>but rather an attempt to draw an analogy to another sector of our
>industry in which the same "bigness uber alles" canards are prevailing.
>> Please can we close this discussion for now?
>I suggest that we try to bring it back to the analogy with Ada.
>Ada's success is still one of the world's best-kept secrets. At
>least Apple is discussed publicly a lot; Ada doesn;t even come
>close to being well-known enough. And it keeps getting crowded
>off the airwaves, so to speak, by the much more aggressive
>marketing tactics of the C++ and Java crowds.
>For example, _very few_ people in this business - and, I daresay,
>even a lot of Ada-savvy ones - are aware of the J-code targets.
>Given the Java hullabaloo in the trade press, one would think
>Intermetrics and Aonix would be making a BIG DEAL of the difference
>between Java and the JVM - paid ads, news stories planted in the
>trade press, frequent faxes and CDs sent off to trade reporters,
>and so on. If I have missed any of these campaigns, please
>fill me in, but I've seen little or nothing. It doesn't have to
>cost a lot of money but it does take a clear focus and an aggressive
>(in the good sense) marketing attitude.
>> Regards,
>> Neil O'Brien
>> Senior Support Engineer
>> Aonix Customer Support
>> 1-800-972-6649
>> [log in to unmask]
>Michael Feldman
>Michael B. Feldman -  chair, ACM SIGAda Education Working Group
>Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
>The George Washington University -  Washington, DC 20052 USA
>202-994-5919 (voice) - 202-994-0227 (fax)
>"Whaddya mean, the Air Traffic Control system won't run
> without a Microsoft browser??!!!"
>   -- political cartoon, Washington Post, Jan. 3, 1998
>Ada on WWW: or