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Wes Groleau <[log in to unmask]>
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Wes Groleau <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 11 May 2001 09:36:06 -0500
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Excellent balanced article.  There are those that claim
Ada will solve ALL the world's problems.  This, I will
admit, is inaccurate, and possibly even harmful.  But
even worse is all the unfounded hype about Java.

The only flaw I noticed in your article was the pointer
to the "Home of the Brave Ada Programmers,"  which could
probably be renamed "Home of the Retired Ada Programmers,"

To the best of my knowledge, no significant maintenance
has been done on that site for several years.

(Note that the newest item on its "what's New" page is
a self-congratulatory note about its 1998 traffic.)

Better sources now are:

In regard to your question about "27 new features" note
that they already had to change the language itself once
to eliminate a security hole.  They also had to change
the JVM to eliminate a hole that could be exploited
by using a j-Code assembler rather than a Java compiler.
Both of these changes occurred after JDK 1.0 was released.

Java deserves credit for getting hundreds of thousands
of programmers out of the dark ages of C & C++ into the
dim light of common sense.  However, Java's so-called
designers do not deserve rave reviews for eliminating
from C only the worst features, i.e, the features that
(in spite of their experience with C) were threatening
the schedule of their current (at the time) project.

Because of their experience, they had few problems with
other undesirable C features, and so they left them in
to continue to confound beginners.  moreover, if they
had done their homework, they may not have omitted as
"unsafe" features that Ada and other languages had
already shown how to do "safely."

Java, in other words, rather than being carefully
engineered as an effective general purpose tool, was
a hasty hack to rescue a project in trouble.  That
it was not carefully engineered is shown by some of
its numerous changes since first release.  Not the
ones that were valuable enhancements, but the
ones that were mandatory to plug unforeseen holes
in Java's over-hyped "security."

Java just happened to catch the attention of some clever
marketers who recognized that a lot of other projects
are in the same kind of trouble.  These marketers are
not only clever, they are a bit dishonest in promoting
the Java language itself as if inseparable from JVM
portability (which has already been exploited by compilers
and interpreters of Ada, Eiffel, Cobol, Smalltalk, and
at least twenty other languages) and Java's admittedly
extensive (though sometimes poorly engineered) suite
of re-usable APIs (which can be called from any of the
languages just hinted at, and via JNI from most other

Again, Java is a welcome improvement over the two
previous dominant languages, but I fear most programmers
will stagnate in Java (and unportable variations thereof)
just as they did for decades in C.

Wes Groleau