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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 17 Nov 1999 16:39:33 -0700
text/plain (71 lines)
This seems to be a case of everyone agreeing that Ada is by far the best
choice for high reliability or embedded systems, yet companies (mine
included) have all but abandoned Ada. I'm starting off on a new design that
is expected to be in service for at least 10 years, but I have been
forbidden from using Ada for the main reason that the tools are more
expensive and there is an 'apparent' lack of Ada engineers. There is little
to no input from the DoD customer as to anything other than making full use
of COTS and minimizing the costs. But in this era of a military that is no
longer 100% MICAP, reliability doesn't seem to be as critical. A concept
that scares the hell out of me.

I have to choose my battles carefully, but I do point out problems (Ada
Teaching Moments, as they're known through the engineering department) that
would've been prevented using Ada. The only tactic that I may be able to use
to go to Ada in the future is to show what a  mess it was to do in C++, and
be able to present concrete examples of how Ada would have made it more
efficient and more reliable.

One problem that I fight continually is the cost of tools. Yes, I know full
well they will pay for themselves in increased productivity but the lack of
hard metrics to prove this to management is a problem. And of course company
and customer management, here and everywhere, consists of many people who
haven't done any design in years if not decades. They aren't stupid, just
isolated from important sets of information. Many of the engineers I work
with agree that Ada is superior, yet the orders flow down from the paneled
offices that "thou shalt not."

Corporate America (most of it at any rate) is more set on the bottom line
(only today's of course) and the stock price than in doing a good job. I
don't know how to change that. The really ironic part of it is the move
toward VHDL on the hardware side. It makes use of a good number of Ada

I hope that Ada will prevail in the long term, but I think the short term
will be stressful for all of us who understand its great strengths and

John T Apa

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Timberlake [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 1999 2:31 PM
> To:   [log in to unmask]
> Subject:      Ada in the Press
> Ada gets a bit of good press in the 11/8/99 issue of Gov't Computer News,
> in an article on Software Development Tools pg 45.
> "Ada, the required language for most DOD projects from 1991 through 1993,
> is still strongly recommended for embedded systems and other defense work.
> The Information Technology Standards Guidance V3.1, which is still in
> effect, deprecates the use of C."
> ...
> "The same document recommends against C++, stating: 'because the mechanics
> of the C language are embedded in C++, it is susceptible to many of the
> above noted difficultiew with C ...  Use of C++ for the development of
> critical systems applications is not recommended.' "
> The article also lists 9 Ada compiler vendors.
> ===============
> Tom Timberlake
> The Boeing Company
> Phantom Works Software
> mailto:[log in to unmask]
> P.O. Box 3707
> Mail Stop 4A-25
> Seattle, WA.  98124-2207