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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Corey Minyard <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 29 Jun 1998 15:58:20 -0700
"Robert C. Leif, Ph.D." <[log in to unmask]>
"Robert C. Leif, Ph.D." <[log in to unmask]>
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To: Corey Minyard et al.
From: Bob Leif, Ph.D.

I am glad to see that Psion does exchange files with the standard Microsoft

You wrote, "can you imagine defining a word processing format with a
Yes, it is called XML.

You wrote, "My understanding is that Windows CE is a very large operating
system (I have heard reports of 700,000 LOC, but I'm not sure if it is

The size of the Windows CE code is irrelevant. The question is what is the
smallest footprint of Windows CE, that one can use for a particular
application? Microsoft is making multiple versions of Windows CE. I am sure
that if one eliminates the GUI, the size of the system will be significantly

You wrote, "Windows CE doesn't exactly have a plethora of ports either." I
know of MIPS, Hitachi, and Intel. I understand that a J code version is
being developed.
The real question is, how did Microsoft do this? Is there a common
intermediate format, perhaps written by the chip makers? If so is would be a
very cost effective means to host Ada on multiple microprocessors.

You wrote, "I don't agree with that quality software engineering will stop
One counter argument, to every businessman, professional, etc. his/her
operating software is mission-critical. Microsoft has a large number of
users, like myself who do not particularly like the Microsoft products we
use. The king of the mountain in this business can change very quickly. Most
of Microsoft's competitors lost because the followed Microsoft like sheep.
The fools who went early on to C++ and the Microsoft Foundation classes got
what they deserved. The way to beat Microsoft is to not play by Microsoft's

We have had the entertainment of Corel trying to build a complete office
suite in Java instead of changing WordPerfect's internal codes to HTML.
Lotus threw away Improv, which was the first commercially available,
intelligently designed spreadsheet.

You mentioned Linux. How many of Microsoft's competitors have hosted their
applications on Linux? I am convinced that although Microsoft has some very
sharp executives, one of the major causes of their success was the
incredibly poor decision making of their competitors.

As for, Microsoft becoming , "victims of their own arrogance." This is the
way most US corporations fail. It certainly was the cause of IBM's downfall.

Returning to Linux, the best way to increase the use of this operating
system is to provide it with a core written in Ada 95.

I have been informed that I will Chair the SigAda '98 Workshop on
commercializing Ada. I am looking forward to sharing ideas with the
attendees. I hope that together we can greatly increase commercial uses of
Ada with benefit to the users and ourselves.

Yours, Bob Leif

-----Original Message-----
From:   Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95) [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Corey Minyard
Sent:   Saturday, June 27, 1998 11:52 AM
To:     [log in to unmask]
Subject:        Re: On Windows CE, Psion's EPOC, ARM processor and Ada

SNIP Old Leif Stuff

Umm, on my Psion, I regularly exchange Word, Excel, and even Microsoft
Project files.  You can buy an application that will display and edit
Powerpoint files.  You can synchronize schedules with the Microsoft
product for that purpose (forgot the name) and you can exchange emails
with Exchange.

> The solution to this problem is, of course, operating system independent
> standards. There are two organizations in the US that theoretically could
> make it happen: the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST,
> and GSA. Since GSA controls the money, it is the only US Governmental
> organization really capable of enforcing a standard. In terms of creating
> software standards, NIST has been replaced by ANSI, the IEEE, and ISO.

In effect, that is what Microsoft has created.  Microsoft formats are a
defacto standard for a whole slew of other applications.  Not that they are
necessarily that great, but can you imagine defining a word processing
format with a committee?  How many decades would it take?  How often would
it have to be changed?

> I still believe that Windows CE makes very good sense for embedded systems
> and that the Ada Marketing Directors should schedule a Windows CE product.
Also, does EPOC run on any other processor than ARM?

I'm not sure if EPOC runs on anything besides ARM, but Windows CE doesn't
exactly have a plethora of ports either.  My understanding is that Windows
CE is a very large operating system (I have heard reports of 700,000 LOC,
but I'm not sure if it is true).  If so, I would not even consider it for
the embedded applications I do.  I might consider EPOC, though, if I had a
display to worry about.

> However, if the European Economic Community or other group wish to take on
> Microsoft, I would strongly recommend Ada and quality software
> Customers are drawn to products that actually work and are reliable.
> Unfortunately Sun, IBM, Netscape, et al. are trying to stop a raging
> rhinoceros with a pop-gun (Java).

I don't agree with the scales on the rhinoceros and pop-gun analogy,
but I agree that Java alone is not going to hurt Microsoft.  I don't
agree with that quality software engineering will stop Microsoft.

As an example, IMHO the only real contender to stop Microsoft is
Linux.  Linux is faster, cheaper, and substantially more reliable than
any Windows operating system.  So why don't people use it?  There are
not many commercial application that support it.  The only way to get
commercial applications to support it is to get companies to port them
to Linux.  Unfortunately, that does not seem to be happenning very
fast.  Corporate executives see Linux as a toy, just like they would
view EPOC, etc.  However, anything from Microsoft (or anything Java
related) has to be the best thing around, because it is from Microsoft
(or it is Java).  It is all marketing and perception, the best
products do not always win.

The Java people have succeeded in making executives of companies look
at it.  However, when the realities of the limitations of Java are
seen, Java might fail.

Microsoft, on the other hand, will probably not fail for a while.  The
only way they can fail is to become the victims of their own
arrogance.  But maybe that is happening :-).

Corey Minyard               Internet:  [log in to unmask]
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